Spent the first few hours in the Shooting Butts Hide this morning while some maintenance was carried out. A few bits to report including cracking views of a the juvenile Marsh Harrier as it quartered Aveley Marsh and in the process spooked three Green Sandpipers and a wisp of 18 Snipe which must have been new in as we have only seen singles up until now.
Do not laugh! They are Snipe!
Golden cap plunging after prey
Over high tide later on there were at least seven Whimbrel whistling out on Purfleet Scrape and nine Green Sandpipers all told. Two Ringed Plovers were seen in Aveley Bay earlier on and a juvenile Hobby once again had a go at some Starlings. A female Sparrowhawk caught a Starling out there too but lost its focus when the crows came in. The Starling flew off but the Crows gave chase and easily brought the bird down and secured its fate as an early supper.
The first real sign that autumn is coming was with the arrival of two Wheatears along the river wall this morning. One was a nice fresh juvenile so had probably not travelled far, possibly from the Brecks in Suffolk.
Wheatear (both by Dave McGough)
Whimbrel (Dave McGough)
Lots more good small critters today including our second Lesser Stag Beetle this week, an Emperor Moth cat and my first Common Blue butterfly for ages! Several Wasp Spiders now around the trail.
Lesser Stag Beetle with orange beard! (Mark Hart)