Friday the 7th saw Keith and I boarding the SS Waverley for a trip along the Thames from Gravesend to Tower Bridge. Whilst nature watching was not the prime reason for taking the trip we were hopeful that we might see some good wildlife along the river banks.
The Thames marshes although annually decreasing in size and ever under threat from development are one of the prime natural habitats of the region and this was an opportunity to see them from a different viewpoint.
From Gravesend we travelled upstream past Swanscombe Marshes, currently the site of a proposal to build a theme park, towards Dartford. Passing under the bridge we passed Rainham Marshes (an RSPB nature reserve) on the north bank and Crayford and Erith Marshes on the south. Beyond these we came to Thamesmead, once marshes but now a housing development.
Although we did not see a huge number of species and sadly no migrating birds of prey, skuas or terns as we had hoped, there were plenty of duck including a party of Eurasian Wigeon and a single Pintail plus good numbers of Northern Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwit on the mudflats. We also found some common seals lounging on the mud-flats at Crayford Ness.
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)