A rare dry and mainly sunny day for my regular visit to the RSPB reserve. When I visited the previous Wednesday I hadn't been able to do a complete circuit as part of the path was flooded to a depth of 7 to 8 inches and I din't have wellies with me. Today was much better with only puddles left where the floods had been.
There is plenty of water on site at the moment and ducks and geese are spread all over the reserve. Despite the tide being high in the afternoon there were few waders present apart from Lapwing which currently number in excess of 2,000. Wigeon were everywhere with good numbers of Teal, Gadwall and Shoveler.
As I walked through the woodland area there were very few birds present apart from a few Blue and Great Tits, Robins and Blackbirds. As I approached the Woodland Discovery Zone a soft call alerted me to the possible presence of a bird which had been getting some of the regulars quite excited and I soon got a good view of it. With a flash of a white rump it flew ahead of me and perched in a bush showing off the deep pink breast, black crown and grey back of a male Bullfinch. This is an unusual birds for the Reserve and I was soon joined by one of the other volunteers who was trying to get a photo of it. Unfortunately by the time she joined me the birds had moved out of sight in the thick vegetation.
I continued my circuit as far as the first viewing platform overlooking the main Aveley Pool from where I soon picked out the Ross's Goose which has been visiting the Reserve recently. As usual it was in company with some of the local Greylag Geese. From the Ken Barrett hide I managed to pick out a male Marsh Harrier hunting over Wennington marshes and a pair of European Stonechats were flitting around just in front of the hide.
As I went further round the circuit a Cetti's Warbler sang from the reedbed and there was a single European Golden Plover in front of the Shooting Butts Hide from where I also managed to count six Pintail. I counted nine Common Snipe at various locations around the Reserve and when nearly back to the Centre a flock of about 25 Ring-necked Parakeets flew over the car park.