When will these westerly airflows ease up? It dawned clear and bright with not a cloud to be seen and a stunning moon hanging overhead. There was no frost but it was chilly and the Wigeon were eagerly having a wash and brush up on the Purfleet Scrape with their breath steaming in the air.
The first part of the day was calm but the low murk began to edge its way in from late morning and the day soon took on a more dour feel under this blanket of grey. The Ravens were on good form and 'kronked' and even victory rolled several times as they headed off back home and the male Marsh Harrier perfromed fantastically well just in front for quite some time while a juvenile male Peregrine gave the Lapwings a thump over Aveley Pools.
There was no sign of the Dartford warbler which was unsurprising as the wind increased but the Stonechats were superb today and several people got some wondrous shots of one of our most charismatic winter birds.
Stonechat (Mick Swails)
Stonechat (Shaun Harvey)
A couple of Reed Buntings were around the centre feeders for the first time today and they seem in short supply at the moment and the Water Pipits were seen again from the various hides.
Reed Bunting (Mick Swails)
The pair of Bearded Tits were seen again at the Dragonfly Pool and the Kingfishers were seen several times from the Ken Barrett and MDZ.
Beardy (Basil Thornton)
Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrests were seen in the woodland along with the female Bullfinch again and the Barn Owl was perched by its box but unfortunately there have been o further signs of the Tawny Owl of Thursday. Three Grey Plover and 30 Curlew came in on the high tide and down at the Stone Barges there was a good high tide count of 280 Black-tailed Godwits along with a few Redshank but there are almost no gulls at the moment despite Dominic Mitchell finding two first-winter Caspians on Friday.
Blackwits, Redshank and two Moorhens (Mike Miles)
Caspin Gull (Dominic Mitchell)
Only one Short-eared Owl was again seen this evening in poor weather. Tomorrow is looking even worse and hopefuly these beautiful Owls will be able to find enough food to get them through this difficult period.
And last but not least Sid the Stoat was seen moving a food stash down on the foreshore. I reckon he saw how big the tide was going to be!