Saturday 17th May, often a good day in the birding calendar and a day not working. I decided to venture over to Essex to actually be on site at Rainham RSPB in the morning and hopefully enjoy the waders. http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/r/rainhammarshes/index.asp
It's very local, it's just a shame that Dartford marshes on the South side of the Thames is rapidly becoming a concrete jungle, bike yard and shooting gallery. In the 20 or so years that I studied Dartford marshes on an almost daily basis the birding was often excellent and even last week I managed to add a long overdue species to my Dartford list with a cracking drake Garganey, though the Egyptian Geese had 'walked liked an Egyptian' elsewhere. Still, the Garganey brought my Dartford list to 204, if only the habitat was like Rainham, what else would I have seen.The Temminck's Stints as expected weren't at Rainham though 2 Little Stint, a Golden Plover, 2 Turnstone, 3+ LRP, 2 Cuckoo, a Cetti's and some close Little Egrets kept me busy even though it was pretty cold and overcast. With news of a Red-footed Falcon 'still' at Seventy acres Lake, Lea Valley near Waltham Abbey at the Bitten watch point a mere 20 or so miles further round the M25 I felt was too good to miss as they're cracking birds and I was hoping to get some piccies. On arrival the bird was nowhere to be seen though was evidently hidden in a tree next to the No Bittern watch point. The bird well at times over the lakes together with 2 or 3 Hobby, and a supporting cast of Common Tern, Garden Warbler, Nightingale and Cetti's.
Not the best piccies in the World but it stubbornly refused to come any closer and that's the best I could get with my 400mm !!
By midday I was back in the hallowed county the 'Concrete Garden of England' and a kids birthday party. Fortunately Mr Nurofen was at hand, what a fantastic invention, ..... Nurofen not kids!!