Nocturnal creatures in daylight!
by A warbler a day
I spent another few days in my Essex homeland and as usual managed some birdwatching on the marshes fringing the river Thames. I mostly saw the usual selection of winter wildfowl and waders – Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pochard, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits. At Bowers Marsh there was a sizable flock of Avocets. From the hide at Wat Tyler Country Park I was shown a pair of Snipe, however the Jack Snipe that had been there earlier in the week was not to be seen. Neither were the Cetti’s Warblers or Bearded Tits, though they were heard. I had better luck with raptors. At Rainham Marsh I saw Peregrine flying out across the river and a distant Marsh Harrier. I got a better view of one the next day as flew slowly along the river at Coalhouse Fort. The most surprising bird seen during my time in Essex was a couple of very early House Martins, recognisable due to their white rump, flying over the saline lagoon at Bowers Marsh. However this sighting was trumped by seeing 3 foxes in 2 days, one in my parents back garden at 9 in the morning, the others both seen in the middle of the day at Wat Tyler CP and Tilbury Fort.
I broke up my journey back to Andover with a walk round Frensham Little Pond. More good birds were seen, this time of a woodland and heathland variety – Brambling, Siskin, Crossbill, Woodlark. I also saw a species of day-flying moth which I had never seen before. 3 Orange Underwings flying around birch trees, their foodplant. The most astonishing sight though was actually at the car park where at 2pm there was a bat, probably a Pipistrelle, flying through the trees. Amazing!