05 September 2009

London Calling…(Canvey Point, Essex, UK): August 2009

A quick break from the tropics took me back to the big smoke, London (to visit friends and family), where there was just enough time between the British Birdfair and other things to fit in a visit to Canvey Point in the Thames Estuary to look at shorebirds (waders) coming to the high tide roost there. I visited with a local avid patch watcher there and long time friend, Simon Buckell, along with Peter Alfrey, and we watched on as the tide moved in and stranded us on a tiny island of mud, which we shared with the local shorebirds. The pack of waders that dropped in and out nervously at various intervals in the tide cycle mostly involved a large mob of Ringed Plovers, mixed in with Dunlin, although we were treated to a Black-tailed Godwit that formed an odd couple with a single Red Knot that both sailed in together and landed amongst the Ringed Plover horde, from which they stood out considerably. Aside from that there were many terns floating over the River Thames, the lifeblood of England’s capital city. These mostly involved Common and Sandwich Terns, although one small group of 9 Black Terns emerged out of the heat haze hanging over this mighty river, and afforded us great looks as they “danced” in the wind just offshore beside us for some time, before they lifted up high over the river and were soon lost from view. Unfortunately though a White-winged Black Tern reported from further along the river on the day, did not drift our way!

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