Sunday 27 November 2011

In the wilds of Thurrock

Been out to the east of the London area this afternoon with Paul H, primarily to count waders as part of Dave Morrison’s co-ordinated high tide roost survey. The saltmarsh and industrial structures generally hold fairly large roosts, and with a particularly high tide predicted, we were hopeful for a decent selection of birds.

Thurrock should definitely be classified as an urban site. It certainly lacking in classic wilderness scenery, though compensation is provided in the form of an extensive selection of graffiti on the river wall. Amongst the repetitive primary colour ‘tags’, a proportion of the panels are quite impressive.



And the entrance to the site features the most bizarrely contrasting pair of buildings you could imagine – St Clements church, and the enormous Proctor & Gamble factory looming behind it:


Once we’d made our way along the river wall, out of range of the sweet smell of Persil, and past Stone Point, we picked out a wader roost site on the south shore. Numbers weren’t anything spectacular (c350 Redshank, c100 Dunlin, 25 Curlew, 8 Oystercatcher, c30 Lapwing, few Snipe, Water and Rock Pipit), but in ridiculously warm sunshine for late November, life wasn’t feeling too bad at all.

And then Paul found these three little beauties!


Snow Bunting is not an easy bird to catch up with in the London recording area, and these were a tick for both of us (when I’d eventually managed to clap eyes on them!). Apparently my 226th in London, though I maintain I’m not really trying on that score – schlepping an hour each way round the M25 to the west London reservoirs, or crawling through to Beddington or the Wetland Centre, for species that I see regularly elsewhere doesn’t exactly float my boat!


Happy days… particularly for Paul, since he had had the foresight to put wellies on, and was able to splosh out for closer, on-the-deck views. My best photos shown here are pretty terrible, but I think you can expect something much better on his blog later!

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