Monday 30 November 2009

Serins at Rainham Marshes.

Yesterday we went on a family outing to London.This had been planned months ago because Martha, George and a friend were going to the Collectormania event at Olympia. We were going to have to drive as there were no trains from this part of the world which would have got them to London in time for the opening. Typical! Rob and I hadn't decided what we'd do while in London, but  on Saturday I came up with a splendid idea, which could, possibly involve a teensy weensy little twitch! "Rainham Marshes" I said, with my best pathetic 'spaniel eyes' look, "That's not too far from central London is it?  There are a couple of Serins there, which would be a lifer for me".  Rob failed to come up with a better suggestion and so Rainham Marshes it was. Nestled between the crystal clear waters of the River Thames and the scenic A13, it was indeed an exquisite spot to spend a relaxed day. Seriously, I was amazed at the numbers of birds they have managed to attract to what is, to be honest a ....erm.....How can I put it?  A severely aesthetically challenged landscape! Don't suppose the birds mind though....

The RSPB have a state of the art visitor centre with shop, cafe and superb picture windows with extensive views over the reserve, so we'd easily be able to spend a day here in some comfort. The weather was atrocious - cold and windy with some extremely heavy downpours, there was very little shelter away from the visitor centre and the 'Serin Mound', the place from where the Serins are usually seen (obviously !!) was a good kilometres walk away, so we spent much of the time in abject discomfort instead. This discomfort was compounded by the  gripping news ( in my case at least) that Leach's Petrels were passing by Seaton at last! That was until 1.05pm exactly when one of the several birders present spotted a Serin in flight with a flock of Goldfinches, luckily it landed quite close to us on some teasels, enabling superb views and even a few digiscoped photos. Several minutes later the second Serin flew in, it was noticeably drabber than the first without any obvious yellow in the plumage. I also managed a photo of this one along with a bit of video. I was so pleased to see them I soon forgot how horrible the weather was!
 :-) Serin photos coming up after these  few scenic shots.

The funky modern, or if you prefer (I do) hideous RSPB Visitor Centre.
It's like a little fortress with metal gantries cut off by drawbridges when the centre's closed.

Looking from the visitor centre over the reserve towards the A13.
Best birds on show out here were Pintail and Golden Plover.

'Serin Mound' can be seen right in the centre of this photo complete with a few 'hopefuls' standing on it.

The view from 'Serin Mound'.
Looking east towards the River Thames and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge.

Looking west from the mound an observer is treated to the beautiful site which is The Enchanted Dagenham Ford Plant, complete with its lovely little wind turbines, strategically placed so that in the event of  fog they can mince the incoming winter geese flocks. The rainbow was a nice distraction though.
A view over the Thames towards the town of Erith.
The sky was getting very threatening, but  fortunately we'd already seen the Serins and made it back to the car before this downpour hit the reserve.

The first Serin which had yellow in the plumage on the breast and around the eyes.

The second bird was a bit duller but only in colour! What a little sweetie!

Here's a video of this bird too, it was very windy so turn the sound down!!

If I hadn't gone to see the Serins, I suppose I could have gone into Collectormania with Martha et al, which would have been great actually because she got to meet, amongst others, John Barrowman off....well....erm... everything on the telly really!!

Lucky Martha! I'm quite envious actually, John Barrowman's gorgeous!
Would I rather see a Serin though?
You bet I would!!

Martha didn't want me to be left out and got me a surprise gift. A personalized signed photo of David Soul! I loved Starsky and Hutch (especially Hutch!!!) when I was about 30 years younger! They were my 'pin ups' I think David's something like 65 now, I feel OLD!!

WOW! What I'd have given to have this when I was 13!!


Jonathan Lethbridge said...

"It's like a little fortress with metal gantries cut off by drawbridges when the centre's closed."

Have you spent any time in Thurrock?

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks for commenting Jonathan.

The clues are there aren't they? The answer is no happily!

Anonymous said...

Another great post, Karen. That life list of yours is getting longer day by day. Nice one.

Here`s to the next addition.