Saturday, 10 April 2021

A few days local birding

 After Thursdays mega trip to the West country I've been local again trying to catch a few additional expected year ticks.

Friday saw me have a day off to recover and take care of Suzanne having neglected my domestic responsibilities yesterday.

Saturday and I was up early walking the sea wall at Rainham bumping into Howard on his pre opening walk. I picked up an early tick with a Whitethroat singing not far from the top car park and then walked the wall. Sedge Warblers singing in the reedbeds gave another year tick as they climbed to the top of the reed to announce territory. The walk revealed lots of Cetti's warblers and a single Blackcap, it's hard to think of times when we would have to make specific trip to hear a Cetti as now they are everywhere. It was high tide and on the rocks and small remaining mud I found a single Curlew, two Oystercatchers, three Avocet and a few ducks. A single Ringed Plover flew in as I watched the Curlew to add another tick. Scanning the reserve from the bank I failed to find Garganey but I did find Snipe, Dunlin, Redshanks and more Avocet. With the reserve not opening until 9.30am I left for home frozen from the bighting northerlies on the exposed marsh.

On Sunday I walked Sewardstone marsh hoping for an Ouzel but had to make do with a flock of 30 plus Sand Martins for my only year tick of the day. As I crossed the bridge I flushed a drake Pintail which flew up and over the King George V reservoir. Greenfinch are doing well on the marsh and there's a few Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Cetti's around too. Back at Fishers Green and the highlights were a pair of Kingfishers and a couple of singing Sedge Warblers. 

Monday was just a short local walk with nothing new to report but on Tuesday my local walk was highlighted by the first Swallow of the year over Friday lake.

On Wednesday Jim called to see if I fancied a walk around King George V reservoir. This would be Jim's first walk after coming out of hospital so I had to be there to enjoy it with him and we met at the gate around 9am and he managed the walk so well we got the whole way around both basins. South basin was almost empty of birds as the sailing club were doing their thing but the north basin was a bit better. We picked up lot's of Sand Martins and Swallows and eventually found some House Martins  amongst them. In the distance I saw a couple of  Common Terns but they moved through to the north before we got to their end of the basin. Goosander, Goldeneye and Scaup remain and the drake Pintail I saw on Sunday was now on the reservoir. As we walked around we saw Buzzards, Kites, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel but the best bird was a single Kittiwake. A couple of Oystercatchers gave the Jims a year tick before we left.

It was great to be out with Dad and Jim again and pleasing to see them both get around the long walk ok. After our goodbyes I stopped off at Cornmill meadow where I found a couple of Little-ringed Plover and a pair of Lapwings look to be nesting. I counted no fewer than sixteen Snipe around the edge of the main pool which is noteable.

Kittiwake on the King George V reservoir

Kittiwake

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

The year list now a very modest 134

Life list 420

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