Sunday, 4 February 2018

Ingrebourne Valley update

The first weekend in February saw most of the Valley Birders bashing the patch for a few hours; some early morning pre the dog walkers and others like myself early after noon. There was a light drizzle of rain in the air all times.

I met up with Monkey just after 12 and we both headed to the viewing area to tick off the Shelduck that had been there all morning.

Straight back to the cafe for a brief lunch and we headed out properly for a few hours birding. It became a bit of a tick fest for us both with Monkey ticking 6 and myself 5.

I added Bullfinch, Shelduck, Lesser Redpoll, Peregrin,  and the most fantastic pair of Collard Dove.

After the conversation down the pub Friday we both wanted to ensure it was a fair tick. We were in the car technically outside the recording area. We pulled over got out, walked across the road and stood in the required zone - high 5 (yes a proper one Jono) and a lot of childish giggling saw us back in the car with another under our belts.

The scores so far are all impressive;

Mo: 78
Hawky: 77
Me: 77
Shaunboy: 75
Dave Mcg: 74
Monkey: 66

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Little Bunting

Little Bunting kick starts the 2018 lifer list. Today saw me heading out in the gloom, rain, cold over to Walthamstow Wetlands. A place i have only been to once before to see a dying Gannet not to very far from where i stood today.

Its changed a lot, its accessible and has a nice cafe. I'm beginning to like visiting places where you get charged over the top prices for coffee. £2.80 for a Latte, smaller than Costa's small and more than the cost of a medium., mmmmm. It was OK but didn't warrant the price tag. And in my effort to ruin the planet like everyone else, i got it to take out. However this was on the way home so i've jumped ahead.

Luckily i got stuck in traffic on the A406 or my wait in the rain would have been longer, i don't enjoy travelling to London birds, it took me forever last year to get to Wanstead for a Slav Grebe and i didnt even get to see it. Today took just over and hour which considering it took me 20-25 minutes to get home is a pain.

At the site and numerous people were now all chatting, no body looking for the bird. Chat chat chat. One bloke even on the phone facing the wrong way and after 10 minutes of chat advised to the recipient of his call that nobody was looking for the bird, everyone was chatting.

In my company were two of the Wanstead boys, Jono and James. James had ticked it earlier so he quietly took his leave and headed for the drake Scaup on No. 5 Reservoir.

Me & Jono persevered. A fair few Reed Bunting and Dunnock. Kingfisher behind us. Fieldfare chacked off to our right. Other bits knocking about but no Little Bunting.

After about an hour another Reed Bunting flew into the main bush in front, both of us then witnessed another bird fly in lower down but it went further in. We couldn't see it too well so reverted to scopes. It still couldn't be see that well when it turned slightly and Jono called it.

💥💥 Tick Tick Boom 💥💥

It showed probably for about 5 minutes, not that i saw it for that long with all and sundry wanting to use our scopes. 2018 Tick for Life and London.

We headed off for the Scaup.

One gloomy Scaup on 5.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Ingrebourne Valley 2018 - going well......

......for now.

With yet another little jaunt over to the Ingrebourne i have managed another couple of additions keeping me behind the others as expected, but at a healthy distance. Adding House Sparrow and Red-Legged Partridge this morning takes me to 68.

So as far as i can tell, Hawky is on 73, Mo 71, Shaunboy 71. Mr McG has so far kept his cards close to his chest but is probably already on 80 :) The new addition, Monkey, has smashed his way to 34 in about 10 minutes yesterday. He was going out jogging over there today and has probably added a few more.

Its hotting up 🔥🔥 and looking to be quite an expensive year at this rate.

The coffee is amazing and the sausage sandwich wasn't bad either

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Ingrebourne Valley - Bewicks Tick

So, another morning over the Valley, and out and about also were Paul & Shaun.

Some decent patch birds were found between us. I left along with Shaun, and shortly after Paul gets two Bewicks coming into land on the reservoir.

Luckily  hadn't changed and was in the garden, so i jumped in the car and headed back. Sitting nicely on the reservoir two Bewicks for us all to view - Me, Paul, Shaun & Dave Mo.

So another patch tick for me and these two bids being the 2nd site record.

List now to 64.



Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Ingrebourne Valley 2018 - 02.01

Trip two: a few additions but a rather wet end to a pleasant couple of hours. List to 55 with 7 additions.

I spent most of the time viewing the reservoir, then ventured on to the farm trail to the woods and back followed by the Glades and finally onto the lower paddock.

My target bird was Lesser Redpoll - i struggle with these little things for some reason, not just over the Valley but anywhere. Unless i stumble across a flock feeding and see the movement, i just cant find them. Today was the same.

Rather wet
Coot, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Gadwall, with the last two added to the list. A Red Crested Pochard type was also to be seen. I thought it was an adult female but it didn't look right. Hybrid? So i'm presently referring to the Duck bible by Sebastien Reeber.

The bird was among the Gadwall; however took flight on its own heading towards Berwick ponds.

I haven't been over the farm trail much over the last few years but the farmer has left a few patches of the summer crop to go to seed along the trail. He may have been doing this for the last few years obviously but i hadn't seen it before. The patches we're really busy with birds - it was great to watch both yesterday and today. Yellowhammers, Reed Buntings, Chaffinch - loads of them. Linnet was added here.

On to the Berwick Glades and the farmer had started work in the fields - 60c Snipe rose from the furthest field closest to the center, finally settling again. A couple of Pied Wgatail followed by  a Common Gull  and small groups Fieldfare over; the first two coming from the reservoir direction and the last from the trees around the marshes.

So, back to work tomorrow - how long before the next visit - next weekend? next month or maybe June?

Monday, 1 January 2018

Ingrebourne Valley 2018

A little diary for myself; i'm going to try to beat my Valley Year list. It presently stands at 95 and this was achieved back in 2013. 

95 i hear you say - that's low, you should easily achieve this - aha that's where you assume incorrectly.

As the name suggests, i don't get out much and when i do i have been know to partake in a few twitches. So in 2017 i managed a mere 7 visits to the Valley along with a twitch for the Spotted Crake. 

As much as i want to, after a while am i going to be able to muster the same enthusiasm i have right now, today 1st January 2018. I mean seeing the same old same old that the Valley has to offer has been known to turn my attentions else where, Gardening, DIY, Golf plus numerous other bits. Well anything really.

So today got off to a fairly decent start, 48 on day one. Some obvious easy birds missed but a stonker of a patch tick thanks to Dave Mo in the form of Red Kite.

I wasn't expecting the same numbers as others but i was hoping for 50+. I missed out on Collard Dove, House Sparrow and Starling.

But in a weird turn of events, i'm not working tomorrow and will be going back! Twice in one month - whats the world coming too.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (sounds better)


To go on news? no, he who dares paid off on Saturday morning.  We had a good trip, we were in the services just the other side of the seven bridge in a couple of hours but were still waiting on the first news of the day from Pwll-Du.

Luckily, my insistence to the other two paid off re cracking on regardless, and the pager beeped away.

So rather than a slow breakfast, food was taken to go and we headed to the valleys.

After a fair old walk we found the 150 odd birders already on the scene who had located the bird for us.

I must admit to getting a little agitated at this point, Martin had ticked, Dan had ticked, all be it briefly but i was still faffing about trying to get a vantage point. Everyone was moaning about others coming along and standing in front of them, i could see naff all apart from a rock.

I backed up and scanned, there was a hole in the crowd, nobody else seemed to have noticed or more than likely i was the only one there who could see bugger all. After a commando style maneuver followed by by a triple back flip i made a perfect landing. Strangely nobody commented, if i had just witnessed such a sight; over weight birder, laden with binoculars, scope and camera; i would have at least clapped.

I now was not budging and i too would comment if somebody stood in front of me - i had made my home.

💥💥Tick Tick Boom - One Rock Thrush 💥💥

My new home was short lived, the bird took flight and moved around the hill side - here we go again, birders on the move, all wanting a better spot than the last.

Settle, brief look - up it goes again, further round said hill - birders on the move yet again.

Settle, back the other way, birders on the move again.

So this time, i decided against herd mentality. I sat down on the edge of the hillside and didn't move. camera was out - i was ready. The bird was going to land so close to me i could of patted it on the head. It didn't; but it did come relatively close. I was by no means the closest but this time i was happy.