Saturday, 2 June 2012

Sanderlings and songsters

Had an enjoyable time at the London Birders' drinks last night. Probably not quite as good a time as John A and Hawky, both of whom for once I beat to the patch this morning. Nice easterlies overnight and a bit of murk unsurprisingly meant that it wasn't a write off at Crossness, despite the lateness in the migration season.
5 of the 6 Sanderlings near the incinerator outfall, Crossness
Two distant, non-breeding (presumably 1st-summer) Barwits were in Barking Bay just shy of 8am and then a quick walk down to the incinerator outfall produced a handsome half dozen Sanderling and for once, in spring at least, these waders were on the south side of the river. I always love Sanderlings on spring passage, as they're usually the last migrant waders that I see heading north before the summer doldrums set in. John A located a further 8 Sanderlings in Barking Bay, that had dropped in since I'd arrived, while there was a 1st-summer Med Gull off the incinerator outfall. Not much else doing so we headed north a bit.
The singing Marsh Warbler was heard on arrival at Rainham, but with the wind getting up and the vegetation seeming pretty dense it was decided we wouldn't hang around to see it. A fantastic recording of this bird, and all its associated mimickry can be found clicking here. After all, the views would have been a bit poor, the song is the best bit about the bird and I'd seen one on the reserve almost to the day 5 years ago. There was also a reeling Grasshopper Warbler and a Corn Bunting trying to compete with the wind too.

Back at the incinerator outfall at Crossness this afternoon, I managed to get my highest total of Med Gulls here - four (all 1st-winter/1st-summers) and additional to the bird this morning. Always quality birds, and close to the top of my favourite species. No sign of any Bonaparte's Gulls today though, and seems like there has been a fair bit of change in the composition of the Black-headed Gull flock since last weekend.
One of five seen today - all 2nd calendar year birds

Heavy wing moult! Lack secondaries and its innermost primaries

More advanced hood than the individual above, although its wing moult is very similar

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