My thanks to Havering local RSPB group for organising this trip and all the help I got with ID on many of the birds I saw for the very 1st time.
Bloody cold but sunny to start with and a visit to the shingle beach.As predicted wind speed was about force seven whatever that means.Not much shelter but the birders got their scopes out and started to Id birds in the distance.With my binoculars it is much more difficult.Started to take a few shots but could not get close enough.A few below and not my best C-. Gulls and Cormorants heading towards a feeding frenzy .
After the beach the coach took us to the RSPB reserve dropping many of us at the Hanson ARC trail.As we were dropped off the members pointed out the successful programme of encouraging tree sparrows to nest ,I saw many but failed to capture any with my camera.I headed to the Arc Hide .This is a very busy hide and there were already a number of birders there and they pointed out a Red throated Diver to us although I didn’t manage to see it and a Kingfisher.
I was however lucky enough to see a Great White Egret ,a Sparrow Hawk and a Firecrest a 1st for me .Once again rubbish photography .
Its about a mile to the Visitor centre from the Arc and encountered Stonecat ,Dunnock ,Little egret,as well as Molly the sheep.
As in all RSPB centres there is a feeding station at the centre entrance with usual garden birds of Blue tits and Great tits.Coffee in the centre in which there are viewing areas with scopes you can use on the Burrowe’s Pit ,then onto the other hides which give great viewing of hundreds of Cormorant,gulls and Ducks of all kinds.When you get to the Scott hide the Cormorants roost in the trees which is not good for the trees.Then finally my last stop the Christmas hide.
The Light was beginning to fade badly so the photography got worse but managed to spot my 1st Smew the female, but there was a pair .The watching was interrupted by a Marsh Harrier which swooped down on the many ducks .
Headed back to the visitor centre to see a Golden eye and 4 goosander at the Makepeace hide,the cormorants were really coming in to roost now travelling in flocks of between 10-15 with odd straggler .
Nearly time to go home but still time to see a Glaucos Gull, and a really good spot by a sharp eyed birder.My thanks to Paul R for his company and knowledge.Counted up the number of birds on the visit,Total 30 including 5 1sts Great day.