Saturday, 5 August 2017

Horrid autumn- 5/8/17

A Horrid factoid- The Cement works laid a rail track along the length of the causeway. Their trucks were not drawn by engine, but by horses.

05:55-07:10 low tide, rising

Point- Cetti's Warbler still present, still learning its song.
Shoreline bushes- Garden Warbler
Viz mig- Little Ringed Plover west.

Watching from the eastern side of the point, concentrated on trying to understand the Redshank distribution on the eastern side of Horrid. Although a fair number were hidden in creeks still, 178 were in view on Rainham saltings with another 125 in Rainham Docks East. Approximately 90% of the birds were still actively feeding. the concentrations were around the main channel of Rainham Creek, especially at the mouth. Feeding was taking place both in water and on mud, suggesting main prey as a mud shrimp.

This distribution (red) was mirrored by Redshank on Rainham Docks East (orange). This is of interest as it is a different distribution from winter months, when birds remain closer to saltings/shore, and are more widespread over the flats.

More than 95% of the birds on Rainham saltings were adults in moult (dropped primaries allow the white flash of the secondaries to be seen on the closed wing).

Also different from winter, fair numbers were crossing from Bartlett Spit and, to a lesser extent, from Nor and Friars- 114 in total, with some 92 crossing Bartlett Creek south on the rising tide. All in all, an interesting way to brighten up a dull migrant count.

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