Tuesday, 29 October 2013

In Search of a Rock Pipit

12th October 2013

It is getting to that time of year when Rock Pipits and the occasional Water Pipit start appearing on the foreshore at Rainham Marshes. So that was the mission for today coupled with a circuit of the reserve. The best chance of getting close to the pipits is at high tide when they are forced on to the top level next to the path. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to check the tide tables and in accordance with that law written by Sod, the tide was out. The only glimpse I had of a pipit was this one which sat on the edge some distance away. The broad streaking and the smudgy appearance show that this is indeed a Rock Pipit, but better closer photos will have to wait for another day.

I therefore abandoned the river foreshore and went on a circuit of the reserve in a clockwise direction. The prolonged warm Autumn that we have experienced so far has resulted in the arrival of many of the winter visitors being delayed, but has prolonged the dragonfly flight season with many Migrant Hawkers and Common Darters still on the wing. This male Migrant Hawker was quite happy sunning itself.

The target pool hide was very quiet and so on to the return leg alongside the railway and Aveley Pools. A movement caught my eye and a quick scan with the bins revealed a female Stonechat perched on top of a Reedmace stem some distance away. A wider scan found the male perched up much closer in time for a quick photo before it flew off into the reed bed, never to be seen again. Stonechats used to be fairly regular in the winter along this stretch but this is the first I have seen for some time. Still one of my favourite birds.

Having completed the circuit I popped into the hide overlooking the Pyefleet Scrape in case any birds had ventured close to the hide. Just as well that I did as, at the start of my circuit all the birds were distant, but now there were a number of Teal and Wigeon dabbling in the mud and grazing relatively close allowing a few shots to be taken.

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