Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Essex Gulls are great. Rainham strikes again

Sunday 13th Jan was a day of two halves. A visit to Cliffe pools and South Quarry in the morning was generally quiet with only an adult Med Gull and 2 adult Yellow legged Gulls on the South Quarry to enliven the proceedings, whilst the RSPB pools were busy with ducks but nothing unusual.
I had planned an afternoon visit to Rainham RSPB in Essex, a cracking 'new' RSPB reserve that has had an amazing track record of turning up good birds. The purpose of my 'late' afternoon visit was to specifically look for the first winter Iceland Gull that had been regularly seen on the reserve over the previous week. I arrived on site at 1400 and walked to the furthest point, the Target Pools where I set up position sheltered from the wind in order to check through the Gulls. The Barnies (Barnacle Geese) were still present ands showing well, all 36 of them!! Amongst the Gulls a 3rd year Yellow-legged Gull and a large group of Black-tailed Godwit, 213. Whirring around overhead, not wanting to land were 500+ Golden Plovers then without being detected, the Iceland Gull must have flown onto the pools and started to preen. A superb individual, only my second individual ever in the LNHS 'London Natural History Society' area, ie 20 miles radius out from St Pauls. The bird was still in view at 1620 when I walked back to the car park in near darkness.
An excellent few hours in the field.