I cracked. Finally, I went down to Staines Moor, adjacent to Heathrow airport, to twitch the Brown Shrike. Well, why not? Things are rather quiet around home, and if I was that bothered about it I would've gone weeks ago.
But anyway, the path to the site got increasingly muddy. Got job I got my wellies.
It eventually leads to a riverside meadow with scrub.
Straight away the Shrike was showing to about ten people. Over time the bird became more active, hunting around the reedmace in the river. Eventually the bird got closer, allowing for excellent views.
Also around were a Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, Fieldfares, Redwings and bringing back more memories of India in addition to the Shrike, two Rose-ringed (not Ring-necked!) Parakeets.
Well that was easy, what can I do now? If I went home I wouldn't get much birding time before it got dark. There had been a couple of Serins at Rainham Marshes, which would also be a British tick. Albeit on the other side of London, but may as well while I'm down here. The traffic on the M25 wasn't too bad, although most of it had a 50mph limit.
This is the edge of the mound where they get to, which by the way, blocks off the view of the rubbish tip next door. The female Serin showed briefly, too quick for a photo, along with a pair of Stonechat. So that's Serins seen at the edge of a rubbish tip and on manicured lawns at Quinta Do Lago. Do you ever get them in true wild places?
I'm sure the RSPB reserve would have been worth exploring, but it was time to get back home. But if you're into architecture, Rainham Marshes is the place to be. Well, not really considering all the other landmarks in London. The Dartford Crossing:
The truly underwhelming Eurostar bridge:
And the downright weird looking visitor centre. Might get one of these at Middleton Lakes one day.
Sunday 6th December.
A bit whacked after yesterday's twitch and driving. While I was at Rainham Marshes, Andy found an immature drake Scaup at Brookleys Lake. Glad to say it was still around this morning.
There have also been county record-breaking counts of Mandarin duck. 104 at least this morning, but nearly one less when a passing Peregrine just missed catching one.
This afternoon we went to Copmere, hoping for some close views of roosting gulls. But apart from about 20 Black-headed Gulls, that was it. It sounds like Swynnerton landfill site has closed. If that's the case then that's a bit of a blow, as it was really good for gulls round there last winter.