Sunday, 18 May 2014

Sunshine birding

I much prefer it to be overcast with rain. Apart from the fact you avoid getting burnt in this nice weather, there are generally more birds. That said, walking around is far more pleasant. And after a hectic week, I decided to pay an evening visit to Crossness on Friday and it paid off - a couple of Black-tailed Godwits distantly in Barking Bay were located an hour or so later off the outfall, and with better views, confirmed my earlier suspicions that they were nominate, 'Continental Black-tailed Godwits'. A pair, extremely leggy with a peach/beige hue to their breasts and then pale underparts with extensively long, orange-based bills. I had one in spring a couple of years ago, but these are under-recorded as overshoot potential from the Low Countries is pretty high.

And so to yesterday, and it was a dawn session at Crossness where all was quiet and then I checked a few places out in southeast London. The Common Terns were back on Surrey Water, and during my rounds a really forlorn looking 1st-summer Black Redstart was singing away. Not too sure how this species is doing this spring, as I've not received too many records (in my role as Inner London recorder) from the sites in The City.
Black Redstart 17th May 2014
Today, I headed out east with news of the reappearance of Black-winged Stilts at Cliffe RSPB. People who know me will realise I don't really have a soft spot for this species - raucous and common everywhere you go outside of the UK, as well as being so territorial that they'd drive a Pterodactyl away if it landed near them. But I succumbed and saw four of the heinous beasts distantly in the sunshine at Cliffe RSPB this morning; three together (including a male) on the flood near the coastguards and then another roosting on Flamingo Pool. An adult Mediterranean Gull and a couple of Cuckoos provided more pleasant diversions while back at Crossness, a juvenile Stonechat (not sure where that's come from?) and a Sand Martin were the highlights as what feels like the summer doldrums are about to set in.

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