I leave for Hong Kong tomorrow morning and luckily, after many wet and dark mornings and no shows, the Little Bunting behaved beautifully in good light. It was also dry enough for me to lie on my belly. This could be my last bit of time to spend with it.
I also had a Redshank on the Lockwood, and here’s another Dunlin from Tuesday.
Another weirdly brilliant Sunday for London birds. Richard B , Dante S and I had decided to tackle Creekmouth first thing, I should mention that the previous day i’d had a Hawfinch fly NE and Calling, over the main path near the entrance/exit. (I’m starting to really like the place). I picked Dante up from a deserted ASDA carpark at 07.30, there were a few large gulls milling about and maybe one or two blackheaded, on our way out Dante says “isnt that a 1w Med Gull?!” Bizarre place for one but very welcome.
Med Gulls are seriously scarce round here and everyone loves a first winter. We then meet rich at Creekmouth and before long are watching a juv Iceland Gull on the river Roding where it meets the Thames, I firstly took this to be the bird i’d had a couple of weekends before. It showed well and even came to bread.
this presumption was however wrong and the bird i’d seen previously was picked up by Rich on the shingle bar near the outfall.
Turn over was pretty good and we had a great mix of Gulls with 2 2nd winter and a 3rd winter Caspian Gulls, at least 4 Yellow-Legged Gulls of differing ages (1w below)…
An adult Med as well as an intresting lookig Hybrid bird, Probably Glaucous x Great Black–Backed monster.
Poor shot of one of the 2nd winter Caspians above, nice bird though with large p10 mirrors. The distance of some of the gulls had been abit more than we lucky lot are used to so we crossed the thames and spent some time at Crayford. We strangley arrived at the same time as Andy Lawson and then Mick Southcott and half an hour later Rich pulls out this amazing adult Kumliens Gull!!!
It took a change of light and some fresh eyes (MS had gone and come back) to spot the faint grey in the primaries, which was really not apparent at first to any of us. What a bird and the only adult White winged gull ive seen this side of Cornwall or west Ireland!
Some grey tones in the primaries seen in the closed wing just about visible and below is the open wing shot, (stolen from Dante) unbelievable really!
My pre work visits to Walthamstow have kicked off properly now and motivation (for getting up early) has come in the form of the promise of migrants. The first of which was a lone Sand Martin on the Monday that flew south over David B and I. I had 2 the following day over the southern complex and another 2 the day after that one of which perched up nicely on the lockwood for me.
David B, Paul W and myself also had a Little Ringed Plover on the thursday in the rain (thus no shots) and there have been 2 Dunlin on the Lockwood over the week too. One on the Monday…
…and one on the Friday.
Friday also held my favourite my favourite mid march event, the first returning Wheatear.
The Little Bunting continues its stay and appears to be going through some moult about the head. Some of the chesnut tones are becoming apparent in the median Crown stripe and the pale cheek spot is begging to disappear.
The Peregrines are being pretty active at the moment.
I go to Hong Kong with work end of next week, I had a great time last year (see post) and will be targeting a few different habitats this time i think… Lets see how it pans out.
p.s Ive missed out on Bar Tailed Godwit and Wood Lark on Walthamstow today.
LP and I spent the morning by the fishing boats and scrabbled together a small group of gulls from none at all – The wonders of brown bread. First bird of interest was this 3rd winter Yellow-Legged Gull, they look fantastic when the bare parts get their adult summer brightness.
There has been 2 regular juv Glaucous Gulls about. We had distantly seen one sat amoung Great-Black Backed Gulls by the puddles but it had flushed before we got close. 25 mins later and it (or another) was in front of us on the beach.
I caught a whiff of Caspian gull in a distasnt 2nd winter bird so left LP and got closer to investigate, my suspisions were correct and the below bird stood on the beach for a moment before it flew onto the sea but was gone before too long and couldn’t be temtped back to the bread bath. Sorry you missed it Laurence …
We had a quick look on the reserve for a Sand martin of Little Ringed Plover during a rain shower – no luck but we did see one of the Glaucous Gulls in the roost by the track. Back to the fishing boats and we were joined by Mick S, Richard S, Richard B and Andy L. Almost instantly there was an adult Caspian Gull in front of us! It flew around a few times showing very bright almost yellowish legs, that white leading edge to the wing where it spills over onto the upper wing is delightful. I really enjoyed it.
I knicked the below pic from LP’s twitter, lovely intricate pattern in the outer primaries and those tounges were mainly hidden in active flight.
I’d seen a very small dark Lesser Black backed gull, long winged with an interesting head shape and expression, this was the closest i got to it but it looks like or similar to a bird Martin C had a week or so before. Its reminiscent of Baltic Gull…more likely Intermedius but not much one can do without a ring.
A different, darker Glaucous Gull was hanging around offshore and a near adult Med Gull was flying around too. The lighter Glauc is pictured below, it was so nice to see flying around at close range and also at distance, very short winged and barrell chested.
I’ll be out before work for the rest of the week so my next post will hopefully mention a Wheatear….
Now that there is just about ample light in the mornings and since the 1st of March the gates have been opening from 7am (to strictly permit holders ONLY i should add) I endeavoured my first pre-work walk around the patch of the year. I met David Bradshaw and we walked round the lockwood. The Knot was still there, as was a Redshank, 6 Lapwings, 3 Jackdaws and 2 Meadow Pipits all flew north and a Stonechat was in an unusual spot, surely some movement.
I had just enough time to have a look for the Little Bunting and check the low levels of the East Warwick and in doing so passed the large Linnet flock, a quick scan and I briefly had the partially obscured flanks, primaries and rump of what was surely the Serin! (found more than 3 weeks earlier and not seen since, forgive me i don’t know the name of the finder). 2 minutes later and it was perched out showing the face pattern, bill and overall vibes for David and I to see in one of the bare willows. It stayed distant but David saw it again after i left followed but no sign all day after that. Perhaps its an early morning thing but I will have another look tomorrow. Another new bird for the site, madness…
The London Wiki page says that the Little Bunting was seen again, as was the Scaup. Whats going on, all these birds on my patch, a patch which i’ve cursed (lots) and Loved (a few times) over the years. Bloody place