Sunday, 29 September 2013

Action patch

This weekend has been nice. Relaxing in London yesterday, with two 1st-winter Yellow-legged Gulls the highlight of my Rotherhithe patrol and then with east winds blowing (and a visit from Karen's parents curtailing me to just local stuff), I headed to Crossness mid-morning today where I met up with John A.

It started off pretty nicely, with only the second Garganey of the year found feeding in amongst Teal on the Thames foreshore just off the golf centre. A nice, relatively showy bird that seems to be a juvenile (though they're often quite tricky to age in autumn). Moving east, a check of the paddocks produced a juvenile Hobby, 3 Skylarks and a nice mixed finch flock but nothing to write home about. Walking back along the river, there was a NTGG ringed Herring Gull but all was rather quiet.
Garganey, Crossness 29th September 2013
So after both heading home, it was a bit of a surprise to hear that a Razorbill had flown through the Thames at Gallion's Reach, Beckton. As I was by the river at Rotherhithe - chucking bread out to just the local Black-headed Gulls - I prolonged my stay here, just on the off chance that this auk would have kept on coming west upriver. It didn't. Needless to say, just as I'd got back in I received a call that there was now a probable Fulmar at Beckton...

A pretty mega bird, the thought of one of these oil-spitting bastards on the Thames was more than enough to have me heading back out. It's often a strategy game when it comes to looking for seabirds on the Thames - knowing which urban shithole you can park in and where you can't, in order to access the Thames path. But as it happened, this boy was heading gradually east and, with John A on the case, it wasn't long before it could be viewed mega distantly from the west end of Crossness looking towards the Barking outflow.
Fulmar, Crossness 29th September 2013
Unfortunately it seemed quite weak, making just short flights before ditching back down again. It gradually made its way to the river bend by Crossness lighthouse, by which time it had got the attention of the local gulls. To be honest, I wouldn't rate its chances for lasting out the night but we'll see.
gull fodder?
Back at the golf centre, and it was now well gone 6pm, John A pulls out a nice Greenshank in amongst the Redshanks. And then, just having a quick scan before packing in for the day, I locate a juvenile Curlew Sandpiper too - a big bird for Crossness, and the first I've actually seen on the south side of the river (the previous ones I'd seen were in Barking Bay). So all in all a nice day's birding close to home, which is always nice.

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