Starting the day at Rainham Marshes this morning, on what would ultimately end as another failed attempt to add Ring Ouzel to the year list.
I did manage to add a Common Scoter to my London list, when Barry a local birder pointed me in the right direction. Apparently it's been hanging about on the Thames for a few days now.
Apart from the Scoter, it was pretty quiet. With Linnets and Whitethroats seemingly everywhere you looked. The highlight being a male Wheatear that flew to the top of a nearby tree giving superb views before heading across the road and onto the roadside slopes.
Leaving Brian at Rainham, We headed off down the M2 towards Elmley Marshes.
The target being a recently reported Bonaparte's Gull. It would be a life tick if I managed to connect with it, but with yesterday's triple dip day still fresh in the mind I'm not as optimistic as usual.
Heading out along the dirt track towards the farm car park, there's plenty of Yellow wagtails present on both sides of the track. As usual Lapwings and Redshanks are very much in evidence, along with 3-4 Marsh Harriers and a single Buzzard.
At the car park there are good numbers of Swallows flying overhead, with 2-3 frequently landing on the telegraph wires nearby.
On the 1 mile walk down towards the reserve, Sedge Warblers are very vocal and Whimbrel are present in large numbers.
Shortly after entering Wellmarsh Hide and taking a seat, The first Hobbies of 2013 are seen when four are spotted hawking in the skies above the hide.
A scan of the skies and the call goes up that the Bonaparte's is heading straight towards us. I pick it up in the bins almost immediately and follow it as it heads in and then turns away and goes behind the hide and out of view.
Happy to add a life tick to my list, but hoping it's not the only view I was to get of the bird I started to scan the skies again.
Ten minutes of being entertained by the groups of Avocets on the pool in front of us goes by and then the Bonparte's comes back into view, this time it heads away from us and gives longer views, Looking small and almost tern-like in it's flight it turns and gives good views of the slender looking black bill and more clean cut black trailing edge to the wings, it also looks much cleaner/paler on the underside of the wings than Black-headed.
The walk back to the car park is much more pleasant than yesterday's. Stopping along the track to grab a few shots of the noisy Sedge Warblers.
A new addition to the life list and two year ticks added today.
A good morning's birding in glorious weather conditions.