Thursday, 31 March 2011

Wild Fowl & Wetlands Trusts - Barnes SW13 London

I took a trip to Barnes today, i have heard really good things about the work that the WWT under takes and seeing as i was in town anyway, a quick diversion thanks to public transport and i was on a bus crossing Hammersmith Bridge.

Saying quick.....City to SW13....quick ish

What i saw when i got there i wasnt really expecting, numerous buildings, shops, restaurants & cafe's. There were a few coaches in the car park for the school childen on visits along with a smallish group of adults who had travelled in for the day.

Red Breasted Geese, Eider along with others all easily viewable doing exactly what the WWT say Barnes is all about..Conservation & bringing the birds to the urban areas. The kids were loving it.

Didnt have long so couldnt have good look about but worth my half hour before jumping back on that tube to the City.

WWT Barnes London

New Scope

Managed to pick up my new scope today; was initially toying with the idea of a mid priced 80 and was looking at the Nikon ED82A. It was getting great reviews.

However i tend to use my binoculars quite a bit and feel that putting money towards a decent set would pay me more dividends than a mid range scope; so ended up buying the Optricron ES 80 GA ED v3 with stay on carry case and Tripod.

Thats leaves me with some pennies to go towards a pair of Swaro's.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Target Birding

After talking with a very experienced birder at the weekend he mentioned Target Birding

I have had a look at what i am after next for the Tick List and have created a target list of 10 birds on this page.

Never had a go at Target Birding, i normally decide to go to Rainham and see what turns up. I have learnt the spots within the reserve i can expect to see a certain species over the last few months and now as such its becoming easier to spot different birds in each.

Target Birding though is going out to see that bird and doing your homework before you go.

Will start with the Wheatear which i know has shown over at Rainham in the last couple of weeks, so will do some research and take a trip.

Gull Day Photo

Rainham Gull Day 5th March 2011 - Photo Provided By Martin Garner

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Little Gulls

Early start at Rainham Marshes this morning and after the briefest of strolls along the Sea Wall, myself and another birder noted some unusal black heaeded gulls over the reserve, between us we decided on Little Gulls, probably about 5-7 of them.

They had a darker under wing to the Black Headed Gull with a white trailing edge and in addition even from the distance we could see the size difference.

So after the reseved openned and a quick walk to the far side viewing from the Northern Boardwalk, 3 of us including a Trail Wlker from the RSPB had great views of 8 Little Gulls for over and hour bfore they dispersed with the other gulls that came in.

Note: Dark Underwing With White Trailing Edge

Thats another to add to my lists which i should be able to update this weekend; however life now at 107.

Other birds of note; Reed Warbler, Cettis Warbler, Peregrine, Wren, Shelduck, Shoveller, Teal, Wigeon, Heard numerous Chifcahffs.

The Garganey that have been there for the last week aloughh joined by a fourth yesterday were not to be seen this morning.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Birthday Tomorrow

Yeah - My Birthday tomorrow and fingers crossed im getting a load of new kit:

Scope & Bins

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


I know im new to this birding and new phrases and terminology are being thrown at me from all angles. Most i got the idea from the term but......

"Hi mate, how you getting on?"

"All good, lists increasing and i am looking foward to the new arrivals over Spring"

"You wanna try Vismigging mate, get to really know what goes on if you do"

OK; come on. What the hells he on about?

Not trying to look foolish i happily agree and we part ways.

Turns out Vismigging is Visual Migration. Regular monitoring of the skies and area of one patch through migration times, counting bird species, numbers & direction.

Over time after a lot of effort you will build a picture of whats migrating through your area when and how. Now this does actually appeal to me but i am putting it on the shelf for a while. I still have way too much to learn from just regular birding.

Garganey & Chiffies

A nice little double whammy today! I popped over to Rainham to see the 3 Garganey that have been showing since Sunday and although distant and probbaly at the top end of distance for my scope to get good views without increase magnification and decreasing colouring i saw 2 of them for probably 45 minutes before having to leave.

However on route to them through the Woodland Zone i heard a Chif Chaf making its call and failed in trying to locate it. Sure enough within a minute i heard another and found this sitting at the top of a smallish tree and had good views before it flew out of sight.

Both birds are Lifers & Year Lists with the Chiffchaf being a Findind First as well

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Red Breasted Goose

A Red Breasted Goose was reported at Rainham yesterday on the pagers for 8am; so with a visit to the sight that afternoon i was hopeful it would hang about.

Luckily in the Barrets Hide, along with 6 others we caught sight of it on Aveley Flash with some Canada Geese. We all had good views via optics for about 5 minutes before the bird alone took flight and headed towards the Target Pools, to coin a golf phrase i saw it down on Wennington Marshes.

I was also really please with myself; i initially heard a Cettis Warbler and managed to track it down and again obtain good views for up to a minute before it dived into the reed beds. A Finding First!

Other birds of note on the trip; Peregrine Falcon, 80+ Redshanks

So a new Lifer, a new Finder & a new Yearer

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Martins Gull Day's

I have just been looking at Martin Garners blog site and it looks as if i wasnt the only one who got a great deal from the days he organised, check out the great comments he received:

Great Work Martin

Rainham Gull Day

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Raptors Day

Essex Bird Watching:

A great mornings birding today over at Rainham, more added to all lists; Life, Year & Finding.

New finds were the amazing Peregrine Falcon, Little Ringed Plover and finaly after many a week dipping....Water Rail.

The raptors were showing really well today, the Hen Harrier put in a good appearance along with Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Marsh Harrier but the star of the show was the Peregrine. It was after prey in a big way diving on a mallard, woodpigeon and missing then spent some time looking over the Target Pools from the heights of a pylon.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Find Listings

Essex Bird Watching:

Something to learn all the time even if its not actual bird related; at the gull day on Saturday i heard the phrase "Lifetime Finding List".

Now this was a new one on me, apparently not only as a birder can i keep my Life List for Sightings, I can also keep a Life List for my own finds as well.

So i will be creating this list over the next couple of days and will update Life Lists, Year Lists & a New Finding List Accordingly

How many of you keep this record?

Monday, 7 March 2011

Gull ID Day

Birds to add to my Life List:

  • Med Gull
  • Yellow Legged Gull
  • Water Pipit
  • Ruff
  • Knott
  • Cetis Warbler
All can be added to my year list as well

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Gull ID Day

Essex Bird Watching:

Great day yesterday with Martin, Dominic & the guys, huge increases in year & life lists along with a mass of new knowledge - more to follow when i've woken up!