Friday, 23 March 2012

Rainham Marshes - Expectations

I left work fairly early today and was at Rainham after being at home for a bit by 12. It was a lovely sunny warm day and i was eager to get over there for two reasons; No1 = Chiffchaff, No2 = Little Ringed Plover. I know its a bit repetitive but i really enjoy the song of a Chiffie and as for LRP's i cant quite put my finger on it but i like them and Ringed Plovers.

I took a quick walk along the Thames to Aveley Bay; Rock Pipit, Curlew & Dunlin being the highlights, no Wheatear.

Back at the RSPB reserve i had just left the center and was heading down the ramp when somebody walked past in the other direction, the face was familiar but from where i didnt know; then i realised it was Jonathan Lethbridge who i had never met, i introduced myself and we had a very brief chat; he'd been over at the Stone Barges for an Iceland. It was then he said something that got me thinking; he said that Rainham was a either "a bit of a blank" or "was blank".

The "thinking" being about your expectations as you progress within birding; the same as my expectations used to be in golf; par to 4 over = great round; 5 over to 8 over = normal; anything over that = bad day at the office. So an Iceland Gull and a Little Ringed Plover must be his normal round which makes my excitment over a Chiffie song and the LRP's a bad day at the office for him.

"Blank" maybe to a single figure handicapper but to my equivelant eighteen this was going to be a round to remember.

So did i play out of my skin or was it a normall round?

I managed three 2012 year ticks in the form of Little Ringed Plover, Chiffchaff and Spotted Redshank. The Spotted Redshank being the 3rd time i have seen this bird. Even with the LRP's it was only my 7th viewing of these. The Spotted Redshank was also a patch tick for me at Rainham.

Water Pipit & Rock Pipit in different locations; Rock Pipit from the Marshland Discovery Zone and the Water Pipit from the ramp towards the Purfleet Scrape hide.

I managed 53 species this afternoon which i consider to be playing off my handicap.

I realed in the song of Chiffchaffs from the Woodland Zone and found a very well hidden Snipe from Barretts Hide, only to find another sitting out in the open a foot to the left.

I was about a minute from viewing an Iceland Gull and a group of Med Gulls from Butts Hide onto the Target Pools but a Peregrine decided to show just as i did and scare them all up with most gulls heading off towards the tip.

Redshank, Curlew & Black Tailed Godwit surrounded the Spotted Redshank, viewed from the Northern Trail onto Aveley Flash.

Some Others: Mute Swan, Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Skylark, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Herrig Gull, Common Gull, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Lapwing.

So the round would of consisted of mainly pars, a couple of birdies and few boggies, i dont think there would have been any eagles but most certainly no double boggie - would have put the clubs away feeling happy as i did when i put the scope and bins way.

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