Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stapleford, Herts - Wryneck

There's certain birds that you just have to see.  I had joked about not having WRYNECK on my life list and had hoped that this would be the year that I would eventually see one.

The last few days had seen an influx of drift migrants propelled by an easterly onshore breeze depositing a decent number of Wryneck onto coastal areas with a large proportion of these in eastern and southern counties.

Yesterday a report came in of a rare inland sighting at Stapleford in Herts, which was interesting as one was seen at the same location last year.  It was also close by, but not close enough for an excursion using public transport.

Well that's what I thought.

Last night was a bit boozy, a night out in Camden and with a few pale ales consumed, I felt a bit jaded this morning.  With the bird still present, and finding out that Stapleford was a few miles from Hertford East station, I jammed onto the train with my bike.

Eventually finding the location, there were grown men staring at bushes.  For thoroughly appropriate reasons of course where the bird was eventually located skulking deep within the scrub, the majority of its body and tail obscured but parts of the grey scaly mantle visible, as were it's head, ochre throat, and underside.  It remained there for around five minutes without ever breaking cover.

A decision was made to flush the bird from the bushes, which in hindsight was a poor idea as the bird flew low out of sight and was not seen again.

Also on site were a flyover Hobby, five Red Kite, six Common Buzzard, two Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, around 20 Swallow, a Migrant Hawker, two Speckled Wood, Small Heath, and a smart Brown Argus.

Not perfect for a lifer, but far from disappointing.

It's in there somewhere

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes / Reservoirs

Hi, my name is Jonathan and I'm a fair weather birder.  When the rain poured, I stayed in.  So this morning, I peered out of the window, checked the clouds, checked the pavements.  It was dry.  So I headed for the patch.

A thoroughly decent day that started off at the Marshes with plenty of hirundines overhead, mainly House Martin with around 50 darting around.  Two Swallow then shot through and around 20 Common Swift were still hanging about.  The Marshes were generally quiet with four Lesser Whitethroat seen with half a dozen Common Whitethroat, and a singing Willow Warbler.

The best sighting were of two Whinchat on the north marsh in exactly the same location as the single bird seen on Sunday.

Moving onto the reservoirs and two Shoveler were showing close to the shore on No.4 with large numbers of Tufted Duck.  Two juvenile Greater Black Backed Gull dropped into No.4 before circling round and heading away.

East Warwick was reasonably productive from where a Common Buzzard was seen flying low over No.5 shortly before a Hobby shot through that then circled round and headed back from whence it came.  The bird was then seen half hour later pretty much doing the same thing.  On the railway side, a Whinchat propped itself atop one of the reeds which may have been one of the birds seen earlier.

On the water, six Shoveler were roosting against the bank, and my first Gadwall of the autumn were present there with eight also on the bank before heading out to water.

The next surprise was a 1cy Lapwing that fed along the shore - only my third for the patch.  A Kingfisher flashed past me up-stream alongside No.1.  Four Common Tern were still present including two juveniles, and a total of 18 Little Grebe were counted around the complex including young birds.

Other noteworthy sightings were young broods of Moorhen and Great Crested Grebe.


A return visit to the paddocks and just as well as a male Northern Wheatear had arrived as did two Yellow Wagtail.  A nice flock of 35 Linnet were there too.

Splendid.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

Another lovely morning with sun and high cloud but generally quiet where Wanstead down the road was having a great time.  My first Whinchat of the autumn was present on the north marsh.  Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were active in the usual spots and a Reed Warbler was alarm calling by the boardwalk.  Around 30+ Common Swift and 100+ House Martin were present over the waterworks.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

A lovely cool sunny morning started with a bit of interest on the paddocks with three juvenile Yellow Wagtail and a 1cy male Northern Wheatear.

Two juvenile Kestrel were hunting over the cow field.  There were still plenty of juvenile Willow Warbler with at least a couple attempting song.  Track 13 was relatively productive with a Spotted Flycatcher in amongst three Lesser Whitethroat, and other common warblers.  A Hobby flew over where there were 50+ Swift and 100+ House Martin.  A Peregrine flew high west.


Friday, August 22, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

It started cool, overcast with a little bit of rain in the air.  It felt good for a fall of common migrants.

Well, it turned out to be a bit of struggle to find any quality and while a lot of other London sites are picking up Redstart, Whinchat, etc, Walthamstow seems to be lagging behind.

The Marshes were relatively quiet today but there did appear to be an increase in Willow Warbler numbers with at least ten lovely bright juveniles seen.  A Lesser Whitethroat was present down Track 13.  A return visit uncovered the male Northern Wheatear seen yesterday.  A Kingfisher called as it flew up the relief channel and a Little Egret waded in the shallows.


Onto the reservoirs, Common Swift numbers were still high with 100+ present, but House Martin seem to have increased with 150+ there with a decent number of Sand Martin.

A juvenile Willow Warbler was flitting within the greenery opposite No.5, six Shoveler swam close to shore on East Warwick, and a single Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler were nearby.  A juvenile male Sparrowhawk was particularly raptorial.

On the old river Lea viewed from the pitch and putt, a Common Sandpiper, two Kingfisher, and a Grey Wagtail were all seen within ten seconds of arriving.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

Just over a week now before I start my new job so trying to cram in as much as possible.  Another stunning morning, cool and still, with wisps of high cloud.

The day started with a smart male Northern Wheatear on the paddocks that remained for a while before being relocated later on at the cow field.  There was a decent mix of Warblers down Track 13 with a Garden Warbler being my first record on the patch.  A total of five Lesser Whitethroat, six Willow Warbler (including two singers) with several Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and Common Whitethroat.  Overhead, the large numbers of Common Swift were still present with 150+ and 100+ House Martin.

A real surprise was a Firecrest that called a couple of times within scrub as viewed from the bench mound.  Attempts to catch a glimpse of the bird were in vain.

Other birds seen were two Kestrel, a Sparrowhawk, and two young Green Woodpecker.

Northern Wheatear

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

A much more pleasant day with clear skies and lighter winds.  After a text from Jamie Partridge, I caught up with the Spotted Flycatcher that after a brief search was seen feeding in bushes off Track 13.  In this area there were at least four Lesser Whitethroat with at least another four seen around the reserve.  There were around 15 Common Whitethroat most of which appeared to be juvenile birds and at least six Willow Warbler including one singing!

A group of c100 Common Swift were over the waterworks, and two Yellow Wagtail called as they flew north.

A Sedge Warbler skulked in bushes by the bridge opposite the paddocks, and both Kestrel and Sparrowhawk were on the hunt and the flock of fifteen Linnet around the paddocks remained.

A Kingfisher flew up the old river Lea, where a Grey Wagtail was feeding along the margins.

Reports of Common Buzzard, Hobby, and Northern Wheatear on site.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

So today, myself and Jamie Partridge concentrated on the Marshes with a brief excursion up to Springfield Park and it produced a decent mix of stuff without anything really outstanding.  My first autumn Hobby was seen spooking the 200+ Common Swift that are still in situ around the waterworks.  By the paddocks, there were at least two Lesser Whitethroat associating with four Common Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler.

A minimum of three Willow Warbler were seen in the scrub with a few Blackcap and Chiffchaff.

Wandering up and onto Springfield failed to produce anything significant, but on the way back into the Marshes, a young Common Buzzard flew low over the paddocks predictably being mobbed by Gulls.  A Yellow Wagtail called as it flew over the river.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Cool and breezy with the occasional light shower.  A quick peek into Walthamstow Marshes held very little apart from two juvenile Kestrel and a couple of Common Whitethroat.

A bit more on offer at the reservoirs with 250+ Common Swift swirling around No.4/5 and Coppermill Waterworks as well as 100+ House Martin and 50+ Sand Martin.  A flighty juvenile Yellow Wagtail appeared on the causeway between No.4 and 5.

On East Warwick, a juvenile Green Woodpecker flew from the bank, a Goldcrest called from the bushes alongside Coppermill Lane, and Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, and a singing Cetti's Warbler were all present.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Birdfair 2014 - Rutland Water





The Birdfair for me was always about the serious birdwatcher, the twitcher, and the seasoned traveller whimsical about trips to far off lands and the purchase of expensive optics.  It was where a community with a passion for avifauna congregated to extend the boundaries of knowledge, travel, and spend.  It was full of birdwatchers.

This year I decided to make my first pilgrimage to the fair.  With opportunities to assist David Lindo with his Vote National Bird campaign, and contacts at Birdlife Malta, this was the perfect time to go and associate with my ornithological peers.

Entering the site on the first morning turned me a little giddy with the sight of all the exhibits, the throng of eco-tourism stands lined-up against the edge of large canvas marquees, eight in all, ogled by wide-eyed visitors.  From Panama to Packham, Belize to Binoculars, or Costa Rica to Conservation, the Birdfair is a microcosm of the birding great and good.

Eco-tourism is massive, I had no idea how much it had grown but numerous stands occupied by visiting nations and UK localities were in attendance to proudly present a selection of native wildlife to entice the visiting public into booking tailor-made holidays and local tours.  There is something for everyone with a healthy bank balance.

Then there are the lectures, promoted by local guides and advocates of eco-tourism companies limited to twenty minutes in which to enthuse the audience with presentations of the wildlife highlights of their respective geographical regions.  Interesting and enlightening, the lectures are an effective way of spreading the word on new enchanting destinations, planting the seed for future trips.

There is also the serious non-commercial side to the Birdfair.  The champions for conservation.  My highlight was a lecture by Chris Packham on the Malta Massacre.  Rousing and passionate, the prelude to the talk pointed a stern finger toward the campaigning inaction of our most esteemed NGO's such as the RSPB and the Wildlife Trust.  A vociferous opening gambit stating vehemently that a lack of hard-line campaigning for crimes against wildlife specifically in this case against Maltese hunters was a 'pile of pants' and ultimately toothless.  Then there was the decision by the BBC not to commission the lawless slaughter of spring and autumn migrants by these nefarious hunters.  These activities shamelessly contravene EU directives, but as it didn't fit in the format of the programming schedule, the proposal was cast aside.

Circumventing traditional media outlets, a number of YouTube podcasts were recorded in Malta by Chris Packham and a small self-funded determined team keen to demonstrate the reality of the slaughter.

The poignancy of the opening statements set the context for the hard and passionate work of Birdlife Malta.  Operating on the front-line where infrequent confrontations with the hunters and police is threatened with the risk of arrest.  Incredible.  The volunteers involved in the project were given a standing ovation as they were presented on stage.  But the applause should also resonate out to all the active volunteers around the world that selflessly risk their very beings for the protection of our biodiversity.

As someone with a passion for birds and wildlife, the BirdFair should really be marked in my diary.  I was however a little concerned by the demography of the attendees.  Wildlife and birding is for everyone and not just for the middle classes, the middle aged affluent bourgeois with Swarovski optics and khaki trousers.  I would like to see more children there, more teenagers, more of those in their twenties and thirties, a greater breadth of ethnicities being represented.  I do appreciate that this is mainly representative of the birding fraternity, and that I'm actually highlighting the wider problem of attracting and involving the next generation in conservation.  The bird-ringing demonstrations at the BTO stand was great and was one of the few areas on site where I witnessed a generational mix of people.  It should be about education as well as business.  It should be about fun as well as furnishing bookshelves with more literature and booking overseas tours.  I'm not denigrating, just suggesting it perhaps requires a slight shift of approach to attracting a more diverse audience with the opportunity of experiencing wildlife for the first time.  It is a fair after all.

And why not some live music? A small acoustic tent where people can gather while consuming lunches or a sipping a coffee to listen to some ambient sounds as an escape from the intensity of tour group selling would be a nice thing too.

It does lack a bit of atmosphere and charisma, maybe once again symptomatic of the birding fraternity. These are merely my observations as a first-time attendee.  It does however abound in forthright campaigning, in creativity, and in lavishing us with opportunities to enhance our knowledge and skills in pursuing a passion that we all enjoy.

I was really thrilled that I went, I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with fellow enthusiasts, the informative lectures, mind-blowing artwork and creativity, and seeing people passionate about the natural world.  The good work and unequivocal campaigning  such as the Hen Harrier appeal, League Against Cruel Sports, and Birdlife's Marine Programme.

But let's use the Birdfair as a platform to encourage greater inclusivity and diversity in amongst the selling.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Titchwell RSPB - Spotted Crake (again) and Waders

Apparantly it was quiet out on the reserve today.  So with a total of 21 species of wader seen today (19 at Titchwell and 2 more at Cley), 14 Spoonbills, Marsh Harrier, and Bearded Tit, I was happy with these quiter moments.

The star performer was the Spotted Crake that dispelled its' skulking characteristic by wandering out in the open at midday, and feeding for around five minutes before heading back into cover.



Waders noted were, Avocet, Black-Tailed Godwit, Lapwing, 200+ Knot, 50+ Ruff, 25+ Golden Plover, one Wood Sandpiper, 45 Dunlin, seven Spotted Redshank, 50+ Bar-Tailed Godwit, Redshank, seven Sanderling, 12 Turnstone, one superb adult summer Grey Plover, one Common Sandpiper, one juv Little Ringed Plover, two Ringed Plover, one Greenshank, and a single Whimbrel.  Other notable species included a juvenile Water Rail, and an adult winter Mediterranean Gull.

At Cley, the additions were two Green Sandpiper, and four Common Snipe.  It was here that the patient wait for the Franklin's Gull was ultimately fruitless as the bird failed to appear among the roosting Black-Headed Gull amidst the fading light.  A lone Hobby dashed through Pat's Pool while two Marsh Harrier hunted over the reeds.

This C-130 made several low passes over Cley Marshes - not very helpful when scanning through the Gulls

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Walthamstow - Redstarts

Why I decided to take a detour on my way to the reservoirs I'm not really sure but it had been a while since I had visited Walthamstow Marshes, so thought I would drop by to see what was about.  Twice shy about a return visit having been disillusioned by constant harassment from dogs and prurient activities of wanton men, I was put off.

But the habitat here is great for passerines, and at the right moment it can produce migrants of local interest.

It was a lovely sunny morning, welcome respite from the unsettled weather of recent days.  Stopping off at the pedestrian bridge opposite the paddocks, three Little Egret were wading in the shallows of the relief channel.  Viewing the other way, my attention was immediately drawn to a bird that darted out of the trees onto the bank of the channel.  It turned out to be an female/imm type Black Redstart that after feeding for a short while was chased off by a Robin.

The paddocks held a couple of juvenile Pied Wagtail, 15 Linnet, five Common Whitethroat along the hedge-line, Kestrel, and a Sparrowhawk.

Heading towards the central area of the Marsh, a strong 'hueet' uttered from one of the hawthorn bushes.  This caught my attention.  Scanning high on one of the bushes a Common Redstart was seen feeding briefly before flying into another bush providing me with good views of what appeared to be a juvenile bird.

Two species of Redstart in half an hour.  Don't know why I don't come here more often.

Moving onto the reservoirs, a Common Sandpiper flew across No.4 with another along the edge of No.5 feeding with three Grey Wagtail.  An adult Common Gull over No.5 was my first of the autumn.  A Reed Warbler fed along the edge of Coppermill stream.  Around 30+ Common Swift were still around as were 50+ House Martin and a handful of Sand Martin.

A Clouded Yellow flew past in haste alongside No.5.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs

It was windy, cool, blustery, the standard meteorological mixer of sunshine and heavy showers.

There were also plenty of Common Swift over the reservoirs perhaps 150+ flirting against the breeze.  At one point after a heavy shower, a cloud of them appeared over No.5 picking off insects before their long southerly migration.

There were also 80+ House Martin and 20+ Sand Martin.  Three Common Sandpiper were around the edges of No.5.

A count of 955 Tufted Duck was an increase on the last count a couple of weeks ago that included 340 on No.4 and 475 on the Warwicks.  There were three Grey Wagtail on East Warwick.  A flock of 30+ Chaffinch flew out from trees along the track from No.5 to East Warwick.  In the scrub on East Warwick, the first two Willow Warbler of the autumn were bright juvenile birds associating with four Chiffchaff.

Heading back along the path towards the pumphouse, two Lesser Whitethroat were flitting within a bush on the banks of the stream, and a Cetti's Warbler sang somewhat muted within cover nearby.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Club verses Countryside - Rainham Marshes


                                                                                                      



This was the battle between club and countryside.  Today the football league season started.  The bully boys of organised sport had returned a month too early in my opinion, elbowing out our summer sports such as cricket and tennis, major sporting events that are still in progress.  Definitely at least a yellow card offence. I'm always so bitter about the new campaign of a football season.  It's because I don't quite feel ready for it.  Football should commence on the climatic change of our seasons and a defined deterioration of our weather.  It should be played when all the other major sports are forced back into hibernation, and all that's left is the radio commentary on a dank tuesday night of a league game from mythical lands such as the Keepmoat, or Brunton Park.

I have been a lifelong Watford fan, the heady days of 'Elton John's Taylor made army' watching the frightening pace and skill of John Barnes down the left, Luther Blissett's magic in the box, and the curious goal-keeping enigma that was Steve Sherwood.  I have seen Lineker, Gascoigne, Cantona all at The Vic - memories that will never fade.

The first day of the footballing season, and I am the victim of my own ambivalence.  A month too early, bloody football back again with their overpriced, societally overrated, intellectually deficient players, fans myopic in expectation, restless in anticipation.  I wanted to go.

At this impasse, weighing up the options (as tickets were still available), I decided to head south-west to Rainham Marshes instead of North-West to Watford.  Never in doubt.

Sat among the friendly assembled birding fans on the second platform overlooking Aveley Pools, the Spotted Crake appeared from the edge of the island, sitting motionless for all of around thirty seconds before darting back into the reeds.  It then reappeared not long afterwards before disappearing once again.  Pretty decent views despite the distance and the brilliant sunlight of what appeared to be a young bird, much different to the adult seen at Titchwell the week before.

Also on the pools were a good selection of waders that included a single Wood Sandpiper, at least five Green Sandpiper, four Black-Tailed Godwit, two Common Snipe, four Dunlin, and an eclipse drake Wigeon.  A juvenile Hobby flew low over the pools and four juvenile Little Ringed Plover were present on Purfleet Scrape.

Watford incidentally won 3-0.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs

A few bits and pieces today in humid and gloomy conditions.  Two Common Sandpiper were very flighty and vocal on No.5.  There were plenty of Common Swift with around 25 counted in amongst Sand Martin and 80+ House Martin.  A Kingfisher flew across No.3.

On East Warwick, the scrubby area on the south side provided cover for a mixed flock of titmice along with three Chiffchaff, two Blackcap, and an early record of a juvenile Goldcrest which was a little unusual.

Another first for the autumn were four Shoveler that had parked on the bank of West Warwick where two juvenile Common Tern were being attentively chaperoned by the adults.  Two very young Lesser Black Backed Gull were taking cover on the island on East Warwick.  A flock of seven Chaffinch flew over No.1.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Very warm, but dire on the birding front.  Just a handful of House Martin and a couple of Common Sandpiper.  A Common Whitethroat was present by the railway line.

Monday, August 4, 2014

RSPB Ouse Washes - Black-winged Pratincole and RSPB Titchwell

Back onto the hunt for new birds (conventionally known as twitching) it was The Prof that once again prompted a trip up to the Ouse Washes.  This was exactly the same location that I had visited for the American Wigeon earlier on in the year.

Black-winged Pratincole site - Ouse Washes RSPB near Pymoor

The reason for this particular visit was to connect with a reasonably long staying BLACK-WINGED PRATINCOLE currently on a scrupulous UK tour, that was first seen in Northumberland in mid-June.  Almost seven weeks later, we were enjoying the bird hawking insects with itself being pursued by hirundines presumably mistaking this adept aerobatic as a threat from a small falcon. The wader was quite distant but since the initial sighting, the pratincole flew round and across our standing position into a pond obscured by ragwort.  With the sun still behind us, and still early enough not to have been affected by heat haze, these were reasonable views.  Around fifteen minutes later, the bird was back up and feeding, this time providing prolonged and satisfying views with it's uniform dark upperwing, black wing-tips, and darker underwing clearly visible in the morning light.  The flight behaviour was less erratic than previous encounters of Pratincole, with short glides before picking of an unfortunate invertebrate.

Having seen the Collared Pratincole only three weeks ago at Minswere, the BWP was a much darker bird, at times resembling a Green Sandpiper and lacking the pronounced chestnut underwing and white leading edge.  The Pratincole family group is just a stunning species, and having seen two of these in the last month has been a real privilage.

Also on site were around 20 Ruff, four Black-Tailed Godwit, and several Marsh Harrier.

Having had our fill, we made haste up to Titchwell RSPB.  A Hobby flew across the A149 en route.

The highlight was an adult Spotted Crake seen skulking within the reeds just to the right of Island Hide.  It had been particularly elusive but made the odd brief appearance out onto the muddy fringes before darting back into cover.  The bird was well marked, dumpy, and a swift mover as it skipped around the reeds Messi style.  Only my second ever and far better views than the first was great to see.  Also within this reedbed was a typically shy Water Rail.

Titchwell just blows me away.  There were waders everywhere, and so close too.  The views from the hides with favourable light are just magical.

A juvenile Wood Sandpiper that fed in the corner of Freshmarsh was the pick of the waders of which there were hundreds of Avocet, Redshank, and Black-Tailed Godwit.  Amongst these were 30+ Dunlin, 25+ Ruff, a single Little Stint, four Turnstone, five Spotted Redshank, five juvenile Little Ringed Plover, a juvenile Ringed Plover, and a flock of 15 Sanderling flew along the beach.

juvenile Little Ringed Plover 

Spotted Redshank

An impressive number of 17 Spoonbill was my highest ever flock in the UK but numbers have been even higher with the congregation of adults and the fledged young.  An adult winter Mediterranean Gull, and two Common Gull sat among the flocks of their larger counterparts, and a couple of juvenile Yellow Wagtail flew in.

From here, a brief stop at a field just to the south of Choseley Drying Barns yielded butterflies.  The main target were of the 4-5 Clouded Yellow seen amongst the wild flowers,  Uncompromising and determined flyers, they seldom settled but their rich yellow upperwings and black wing-tips were clearly visible as they whizzed past.

The area was alive with butterflies.  There was a single Painted Lady looking very fresh as were the Red Admiral, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell.

Site near Choseley for Butterflies

Clouded Yellow


Below is a montage of waders seen today that include footage of Wood Sandpiper and Spotted Redshank.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

Christchurch and Hengistbury Head

Taking advantage of the South West trains summer saver (£15 rtn for a day trip), we headed down to Christchurch joining the throngs of weekenders and holiday makers for a walk along our fabulous coastline.

Boarding a boat from the Quay, the vessel spluttered over to Mudeford where we then alighted for a walk onto Hengistbury Head.

Mini-Golf and ice-cream, and a couple of pints in the sun.  Happy Summer!

There were a couple of Whimbrel on the pond at the end of Mudeford beach, and a fem/imm Northern Wheatear settled on the Head.








Saturday, August 2, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs

A warm evening but a little breezy.  Still plenty of Common Swift around with 80+ mostly seen above No.4 and No.5.  A similar number of House Martin were above the Waterworks with a few Sand Martin mixed in.  Good numbers of Common Sandpiper with two on No.5 and six on East Warwick.  Two Kingfisher flashed through across No.1, there were 17 Great Crested Grebe on East Warwick, and a family party of Reed Warbler between No3. and No.4.

Egyptian Goose 

Coppermill Stream

Malaysian Airlines A380-841 9M-MNA from KUL

Friday, August 1, 2014

Walthamstow Reservoirs - Birds and Boeings

It's August already.  I like August.  August is a good month for migrants.  So this evening I hit the patch hoping to see clouds of waders passing through and the bushes filled with passerines.

What I got instead was typically routine.  A Common Sandpiper flirted around the periphery of No.5, with three on East Warwick.  Around 70+ Common Swift wheeled above No.4 and No.5, perhaps the last few days before they leave our shores for another year.  A dozen Sand Martin were also present.  Six juvenile Shelduck appeared to have earned their wings feeling the freedom of flight with the adults.  Two Grey Wagtails were active around No.5.

juvenile Herring Gull

Boeing 747-867F of Cathay Pacific Cargo B-LJC from DEL - LHR