Thursday, 24 June 2010

London hat trick

On Wednesday I travelled by public transport to Crayford Marshes, with Kevin McManus, in the hope of getting Corn Bunting and Red-breasted Merganser for my diminutive London list. Be warned, this post is full of VERY bad record shots.

As soon as we arrived we fell in love with the site; it was just like a mini under-watched Rainham. We bumped into the very welcoming Kev Jarvis who showed us where to find the first of our targets and it wasn't long before I was watching my first London Corn Bunting, a singing male. Soon we realised there were two singing males. The heat haze was bad though; even at fairly close range viewing was distorted. There are now only a very small number of sites in the LNHS area for this species unfortunately.
Moving to the Thames we scanned towards Rainham, eventually picking up the long staying and very unseasonal female Red-breasted Merganser hugging the shore of the reserve, my second London tick of the day. We enjoyed close views of several Common Terns fishing but saw nothing else at all unusual. We walked slowly back and found a pub in which to watch the England game in the 'great company' of the, interesting, locals at 3.00pm before making our way back to the Marshes at 5.00pm when the game finally ended.

We staked out the Thames, and as the tide pushed back in an Oystercatcher announced its presence, piping away providing me with my tartiest London tick and one that I've been trying to get for a long time while giving me a hat trick of county ticks for the day. The Red-breasted Merganser pulled herself onto the beach at Rainham. The walk back at around 7.30pm added Little Egret and Lesser Whitethroat to the list for the very enjoyable day. My London list now stands on 184.