Just got back from a jaunt round Rainham with erstwhile companion Parus, where much good birdage was had.
I'll admit it didn't look good when we got there. Looking out from the visitor's centre showed very little indeed, except a weegret and some Canada Geese. 15 fruitless minutes Chiffchaff chasing in the Cordite store didn't help.
But good things were just around the corner. We got out of the Cordite store and crossed the bridge, and just as we were being told by one of the volunteers that there were 6 Common Lizards a bit further down the path, a brownish thing flitted onto a branch above our heads. Strike one young looking Spotted Flycatcher - I believe the expression is 'w00t!. We chased it down the boardwalk and found another at the top of a tree. The camera was out, but I only got silhouettes and none of them any good for ID purposes.
After that, good birds were plentiful. Green Sandpiper in front of the Ken Barret hide again, along with my first Teal of winter. 7 Greenshank and about 10 Blackwits were good wader records for Rainham, surrounded by the obligatory Lapwing. Nothing whatsoever on the target pools, but walking round the South end of the reserve got us 4 Yellow Wagtail which were scared up with a flock of Starlings poking round the cows. Awesome.
To top the day off, a Falco spotted as we were approaching the visitor's centre turned out to be a Hobby and as we were packing up inside the centre, a fox trotted out into the open and started worrying a flock of Starlings, some Canada Geese and a Grey Heron in that order.
Stopped by Wennington on the way back and again saw nothing whatsoever on the marsh, but I picked up a Whitethroat eating berries on the walk over there, and there were two or three Yellow Legs in the flock of Black Headeds/Lessers on the riverbanks.
Water levels were very low all over Rainham - slightly worrying - so I'm hoping this promised rain arrives sometime soon.
Birdforum confirm that this is in fact bog standard Teal, and that it's the angle that's causing the colour to look different. First time I've seen it, and it's very strange.