Tuesday 19 April 2016


Predictably I did not add a single species to my Rainham list last Saturday. Up with the proverbial lark, everything I needed was predictably absent having been seen almost daily up until that point. Three Egyptian Geese were about as good as it got in the "notable" stakes. Utter dross in Wanstead, I casually pointed them out flying up the river, with Hawky shouting "Where where where!" - quadrupling his count of this species at this site. My total went from 4 to 7, that in nearly ten years of on and off birding there. In Wanstead I could turn out of my front door and be seeing a veritable flock of pestilential proportions within about ten minutes. Even within the small circle that counts as the London recording area, it can still be about context. I scoped up a Greenshank on Aveley pools and whilst doing so a pair of Pintails swan past behind it. I've seen neither in Wanstead in a decade, and my chances of changing this I would assess as poor.

Raven, Firecrest, Siskin and Tree Pipit were my targets, the final three of which I see annually in Wanstead, and the latter two of which are basically "on demand" in the average winter. For whatever reason I've never bumped into any of them at Rainham - this is a function of not birding there enough but also that they're just scarce there. Anyway, 67 species racked up, with a few bits of quality including a nice pinkish Little Gull on the river and a pair of Avocets. A relatively close SEO was good value, and let's not forget the seven Wheatears behind the Stone Barges in the area we definitely didn't go to...

I was away for the rest of the weekend (more on this later) so I didn't bird Wanstead at all. A lot has arrived however, so the next time I go out it will feel like the first of January all over again. That's just cause for only wandering over there sporadically if you ask me!