I had the day off today, but ignored the temptation to travel north to Shetland for the Tengmalm's and instead did the usual tour of the regular East London sites.
It was pretty foggy early on and I couldn't even see the river when I arrived at the stone barges car park at Rainham, so headed back west to Creekmouth. Although the fog lingered for much of my visit here, it was fairly mild and around 10 Chiffchaffs were seen, though there wasn't anything among the gulls at the sewage works and outfall.
With the fog starting to clear by mid-morning I headed back to Rainham, where I soon picked up the juvenile Glaucous Gull floating around over the tip. Most of the gulls were going down to bathe on the river by the barges, so I headed up there. Viewing conditions were actually pretty good and it didn't take long for the 3cy Glaucous to put in an appearance, as well as a 2cy Yellow-legged Gull.
By late morning the haze was worsening and the temperature rocketing, so I headed back to the car and round to Erith Pier. Erith seems to be more of a weekend site, although gull numbers do vary with each visit. It was pretty quiet again today on the rising tide, with the six loaves dispatched into the Thames luring in very little. I'm still living in hope that the Bonaparte's might reappear, but it seems pretty unlikely now ... anyway, with nothing on show, it seemed churlish to ignore the fantastic light opportunities and I rattled off a few images of the Herring and Common Gulls drawn to the melee. I also saw the leucistic Herring Gull very distantly on the river towards the stone barges.
After establishing that Erith wasn't on song I made the short journey east to Crossness. A Eurasian Penduline Tit has been seen regularly this week, after initially being found back in November. It was showing on arrival, but was a bit distant for images ... although did eventually come closer, if only for a minute or so, before flying off out of view. It was nice to hear it both calling and (briefly) singing!
With the sun beginning to dip, I turned my attention back to gulls and headed for Princess Alice Way, Thamesmead. The tide was right up, and the customary wholemeal offerings soon brought in the usual handful of gulls. Given how few Herring and Lesser Black-backs are usually here, this spot has had a fantastic strike-rate with Yellow-legged Gull this winter and today's visit produced a new first-winter that I hadn't seen previously.
The musings of a wildlife enthusiast, usually armed with his camera.