Sunday, 20 December 2015

My Annual Pilgrimage on the Southend Pier Railway

9th December 2015

It's that time of year again and off for a rickety ride once more on the Southend Pier Railway, just as I did with my mum 60 years ago. The only worrying thing is that today they give me a Concessionary Ticket without me even asking for it!!

So after a rather bone-shaking ride we arrive at the end of the pier where we are going to spend the next couple of hours photographing everything that moves. The Turnstones were once again trying to break the record for the highest density of Turnstones on a slipway, not that you could see much of the slipway. And irrespective of how many shots you have of a Turnstone it is impossible to resist just one more.

Rather unexpectedly a Cormorant flew in and perched on one of the slipway posts. I suspect that this is the closest I have ever been to a Cormorant and it provided some excellent opportunities for some detailed shots.

I was just about to start taking some shots of the Mediterranean Gulls when I noticed a lone gull at the end of the line which, due to its yellowy-green bill, I had initially assumed was a Common Gull. However, closer inspection revealed that it was in fact a Kittiwake, the first I have seen here. Other people had reported seeing Kittiwakes here but I had always assumed that these were fly-bys.

Anyway, now down to the business in hand. There were 24 Med Gulls present covering 1st Winter, 2nd Winter and Adult plumages. Although the birds keep to the slipway area, they are obviously used to people and even when a boat pulled up at the slipway they were rather reluctant to fly. This of course provides great opportunities for some close-up shots.

And now for some flight shots.


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