Saturday, 13 December 2008

13 December 2008

Against my better judgement, I decided to go and check my patch this morning. It was wet and windy, a southerly wind which meant that I would have the wind in my face along the river. It was going to be a test of my new jacket and my old hat.
The female peregrine was eating some prey at the start of my journey, she was still eating at the end, but she had moved somewhere protected from the wind. I don't blame her! She spent most of the afternoon in the same spot, leaving just before the night fell. No sign of the male today.
No sign of the sparrows at Frank Banfield Park, nor of the starlings. 2 goldfinches were in the window feeder and a chaffinch in the nearby tree. A fair few gulls seemed to be enjoying themselves over the park.
When I got to the Thames, the tide was really low, and the wind was making waves. There were a lot of black headed gulls, and they were very helpfully orientated against the wind, I counted 113 by Hammersmith Bridge. Further along, I counted another 60 and then another 67, making it at least 240 of them along that stretch (there were a few more isolated ones). I did not see any common gull, at least one adult lesser black backed and one adult and a young great black backed gulls. There was also a grey gull with what appeared to be little markings on its head; unfortunately, the Environment Agency have closed the corresponding part of the path (for ground investigations) so I could not get any closer (and by then I had enough of the rain in my face and my bins...)
Duck wise, there were a few mallards (13), 53 teal (3+24+26), 6 tufted ducks and 3 gadwalls. Few cormorants. A dunnock was singing softly in a bush, and a flock of about 20 chaffinches flew by, near the 'wasteland'. And a few flocks of starlings were going on and off the shore.
My jacket passed the test, I stayed dry and warm. Unfortunately, my hat didn't, it now leaks at the rim, my forehead got wet and cold :(

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