As I predicted in the last persecution of prose, I went back to Rainham today. A little matter of a black Redstart and a male Hen Harrier that avoided my top notch fieldcraft yesterday.
Met Mr Messenger on the train and he was easily persuaded to take a little detour behind the warehouses (ooh er!) and have a gander at the old ferry quay. Five minutes later and I've picked up the stonking male Black Redstart those nice people told me about yesterday.
Then Mike found another along the rocks to the east, a female, and as we wandered towards the new bird a third became apparent. Blimey! I think that doubles my London Black Redstart count. They were obviously doing rather well down here on the foreshore, finding huge bugs in amongst the tumble of rocks. A Grey Wagtail too was enjoying the shelter from the bitter wind, and yesterday's Common Sandpiper, though that buggered off west pretty sharpish.
So, for the next target. Mike suggested the tip side of the car park at the barges. Perching precariously on some concrete blocks we could see virtually all the silt lagoons, albeit distantly. While I was describing the movement of a Marsh Harrier, he had latched on to the Hen, needless to say the Marsh was dropped like a hot spud. Even from this distance and through bins you could see it was a smart bird. I suggested trying the bank by the security post. A tad disappointing and very much colder. We then tried the Serin mound, and while I managed to pick it up once more through the scope, Mike couldn't follow my instructions. Fearing frost bite, I graciously gave up and left Mike to persevere.
We returned, accompanied by Mr Bradders, Prof Whiteman and Mr Hobson, to get some pretty decent scoped views of the magnificent bird as it quartered the silts, never close, but absolutely stunning. The three Marsh Harriers weren't too shabby either. Ticks # 116 and #117, Staines will have to wait.