Sunday, 21 February 2010

Snow, Sleet and Rainham

Today was our first Bedford R.S.P.B. outing of the year, to the Rainham Marshes reserve in Essex.
We left Sandy in thick snow, which turned to sleet and then rain by the time we arrived.
A check on the feeders by the visitor centre didn't produce anything out the ordinary, with lots of Greenfinches, Goldfinches, House Sparrows and Collared Doves.
Our first plan was to walk down alongside the river to 'the mound', where over the previous couple of months a couple of Serins have been seen.
Looking out over Purfleet scrape, lots of Duck were found: Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard and Shelduck were seen. Also waders in the form of 2 Curlew, 5 Ruff a few Redshank and lots of Lapwing. A Little Egret and a Fox showed in the distance.
At the mound there was no sign of the Serins and in fact hardly any small birds at all. Lots of Crows, several Canada Geese, 3 Herons and a small flock of Stock Doves.
I walked back along the old sea wall where there seemed to be more small birds around: a flock of Linnets, at least 3 Corn Buntings, a single Stonechat, lots of Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Reed Buntings, and at one particular spot at least 5 Rock Pipits and 2 Water Pipits.

male Reed Bunting

Back at the visitor centre, someone had a scope trained on a very distant Peregrine that was sitting on one of the Electricity Pylons.

We then opted to walk right around the reseve. At the hide a few more birds were added to the day list in the form of Tufted Duck, Pochard, Greylag and Snipe, and further round more views of the Peregrine.

Not quite as productive a day as I had hoped, probably a lot of this down to the weather, but an enjoyable time all the same.

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