Mike Robinson who frequently covers the Thames path in the Crossness area, spotted three dark coloured birds midstream on October 13th. Alerting Bexley birdwatchers, he went on to say ‘The pictures are awful but I’m inclined to think the birds were Skuas (all dark Gull type birds). In my in-flight picture, we can see what seems to be white at the end of the wings (unless it’s something in the water). I looked Great Skuas up and they do have the white at the end of the wings. That being said, I’m not familiar with Skuas of any kind.’
Bexley Bird Report author Ralph Todd responded on the 14th with the news that 11 Great Skuas had indeed been seen heading up the Thames, also 20 Little Gulls, from the Rainham side. Ian Stewart went out and saw at least one Skua and some Little Gulls in the vicinity of Erith Pier.
Ralph went on to say that “this is quite an unusual occurrence but happens every year or so if the weather conditions in the Channel/North sea are poor as they were yesterday.”
There was a big influx of Redwings on the 14th, a bird that comes south to Britain from Scandinavia as the winter closes in. Steve Carter had 40 over his garden. Within 15 minutes Ralph had had around 100 over his in Bexleyheath and Ian Stewart saw some 500+ over his home in Sidcup.