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Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Another stab at the CRAKE and a day-roosting NIGHTJAR


Returned to RAINHAM MARSH RESPB RESERVE (GREATER LONDON/ESSEX) this morning to obtain further views of the first-winter BAILLON'S CRAKE present on site since Friday...

It had initially been seen briefly at 0630 hours but had then disappeared. It had then disappeared. I arrived at 0940 and as I walked around to the hide from the RSPB car park, Matt Deans, Gerald Jobson and around 50 others relocated it feeding at the back of the pool. It showed quite well at around 0950 - even preening in the open for a minute or so - and was kept on by observers for about 5 minutes. Just as I got in the hide it disappeared again.

Anyhow, I sat down and watched intently. Once again, it was favouring the reedy island slightly right of the middle of the Rifle Butts Hide, where on occasions, it wandered into the two areas of open mud visible through the vegetation. I 'scoped it on these two areas on several occasions but it was extremely difficult getting/directing others on to the bird. Fortunately, at one stage, it wandered to the edge of the island and showed out in the open for about 20 seconds, enabling quite a few observers a chance to connect. This modus of operandii continued throughout, with the bird only tantalising observers with frustrating glimpses up until 1500 hours when I departed. This bird really is extremely elusive and demands a lot of your time.

Howard Vaughan and the remainder of the Rainham Marsh RSPB staff have been outstanding in all of their kind help and assistance, from opening up early and late to providing temporary toilet facilities close to the hide. It is extremely appreciated by all of us - a very big THANKYOU.

Other than the Baillon's, the only other birds I saw of note were 3 HOBBIES......

Later in the afternoon, JT and I headed down to PAGHAM HARBOUR (WEST SUSSEX) where a NIGHTJAR was present for a second day. Arriving shortly after 1730 hours, I quickly located the bird (a first-year) roosting on the stone wall bordering the Severalls at Church Norton. It was giving very good views and was woken up a couple of times by a passing Grey Squirrel. Rather than fly off, the young Nightjar stood its ground and performed a defending display, holding its wings high and arching its body. It was brilliant to watch.

DIRECTIONS: Park by the church at Church Norton and follow the footpath 85 yards down to the shore. Turn right and then follow the footpath past the wooden gate for a further 75 yards. You will see a concrete wall looking inland towards the Priory and the Nightjar is sat roosting on this within feet of the tall spike.

With low tide, the harbour itself was very quiet, with just a few Grey Plover, Turnstone and Ringed Plovers on view. A single FIRECREST was in the bushes by the hide, as well as Blackcap, Common Whitethroat and numerous Common Chiffchaffs.

SIDLESHAM FERRY POOL held 5 Green Sandpipers