Black-tailet Godwits at the Stone Barges
There is just something about January 1st. It turns me into a little kid. More of a little kid. I get more excited by it than by Christmas. Oooooooh!! I was all tucked up at five past midnight, with the alarm set for five thirty. Robin in the street was the first bird for 2010, and Hawky and I were on the Silt Lagoons at Rainham by about 7am, freezing the proverbials. Didn't take long to get a couple of Short-eared Owls, one of the main targets for the day, but sadly no Barn Owl.
Next stop the Serin Mound, where we quickly got onto one of the two birds that has been present for perhaps a couple of months now. Tick. Then a brisk trot to the river where the Great Skua was patrolling once again (shameless bid to get more hits here). Then I went home and didn't look at another bird all day. Oh no, my mistake, I continued to run round Rainham like a lunatic getting over- excited by common birds, stringing Magpies into Tufted Ducks and so on, all the way through until dusk, where I ended up back on the silts looking for owls again. The total haul was a mighty 75 species, so I am halfway towards my stated annual target. Might go again tomorrow and finish the job.
Highlights today were undoubtedly the Skua and the Serin, both great birds for the site, but honourable mentions go to the Jack Snipe that Paul trod on near the river, the Ruff (an ID I actually got right), Common Buzzard and Marsh Harrier. We inexplicably missed Water Pipit, Little Egret and Yellow-legged Gull, but 75 is a fine haul, easily the best I have done in a day there. Hmmm, day-listing, now there's a thought......
Starlings going to roost towards Dagenham
I am ashamed to say that I had so much fun at Rainham that my Wanstead list currently stands at 6. This is the Robin first thing, and then a few ducks on the Basin in semi-darkness on the way home. I plan to make amends tomorrow morning at first light. I'm getting all excited again even typing this!
In another development, the Brown Shrike was refound on Staines Moor this morning, having been missing for a couple of weeks. Coincidentally and grossly inconveniently, two of the kids are in Hounslow tonight with grandparentals, and I have to pick them up tomorrow. Hounslow is quite near Staines. I didn't engineer this, it just happened, OK? So it doesn't count as year-listing.