Along the sea-wall, looking for Wrynecks that weren't there, I pondered what had gone wrong. with my awesome plan to mop up migrants after the storm. I had another quick look at the river. Two Black Terns were feeding in Aveley Bay. Fine, very nice, but I wanted something else. The Black Terns disappeared and were replaced by nothing.
The Woodland was alive with small birds. Blackcaps, Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethoats, and finally, after months of looking, a Garden Warbler, my 146th species on the reserve this year. I was very pleased about this, far more pleased than a Garden Warbler should make a person, but I couldn't help feeling that Barred Warblers, Icterine Warblers and Common Rosefinches were all notable by their absence.
The country is carpeted with scarce passage migrants. In the north-east, you can't move without treading on an Icterine Warbler. Ringers trap Barred Warblers whilst they're still unfurling their nets, and Spurn has a Wryneck on every other post. Cornwall has flocks of Ortolan Buntings, and as of this morning, Devon now has a self-sustaining colony of Glossy Ibis. Rainham has a Garden Warbler.
Still, Rainham has not done at all badly this year, with over 190 species, and I'm sure that eventually we'll get a trickle from the large recent arrival. I recorded sixty-six species this morning, and for all the lack of scarce stuff, it was a glorious morning in which to practice identifying birds on my own private stretch of the Thames, for I was utterly alone. I think I forgot to mention it in the last post, but there is only one way to get better at birding, and that's to be out there giving it a try. Get to know the common birds and (if they're there...big IF.....) the uncommon ones should hopefully stand out.
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