Saturday, 20 May 2017

Gropper Topper

I'm not sure why I stopped at the patch this morning as it's officially dead, but the briefest of circuits did result in a fly through Peregrine - thanks to an alert Jono for picking that one out (yet another year tick falls) so it wasn't a total waste of time. Next stop and my main focus for the morning was Rainham for another attempt at this 1st-summer Bonaparte's Gull which is commuting up and down the Thames, and after missing this bird last weekend I thought it wouldn't hurt to give it another go.

I gave it an an hour from Ferry Lane, scanning for small Gulls on the river, looking in the direction of Crossness on the southern side and Creekmouth to the north, but nothing. So I headed to the reserve from the western-end and checked Aveley Bay and the foreshore, still nothing just a few Black-headed Gulls milling around - on's not as if I haven't seen a couple of Bonaparte's Gulls in London on the same stretch of the river before.

Walking along the river path towards the visitors centre and the last of this Springs passage Wheatear's was still hanging around the rocky foreshore, and a couple of Cuckoo's called and chased each other over the marsh. I could also hear two reeling Grasshopper Warblers singing away, one of which was quite close to the path, and after a few minutes moved out into the open and gave excellent views in the early morning light. I then received news the Bonaparte's Gull had been seen again from the Stone Barges before flying up river - probably right passed Ferry Lane! It did cross my mind to go back and have another look for it, but this Gropper was giving such good views, I decided to give the elusive yank Gull a miss and instead lapped up the sight and sound of a Grasshopper Warbler in full voice.

Gropper, Singing, Rainham, RSPB
A Grasshopper Warbler in full fishing reel mode

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