Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hoodless BHG

Question Answered

After reference to Martin Garner, his comments:

"Really Good Question Lee, BHGull moult is notoriously variable, I see a newly moulted P6 (white spot primary) and maybe P7 is very early.

so i think its an early moulter and may have had its brown head early mid winter (which some do). Excellent & Tricky Question!"

The Gull in question:

Monday, 27 June 2011

Ingrebourne Valley

A quick trip to the viewing area this evenning;

Shoveller x4; Green Sandpiper x2; Teal; Lapwing; Mallard; House Martin; Swift; Whitethroat; Grey Heron; Moorhen; Reed Warbler; Woodpigeon; Starling; Blue & Great Tits

Heard: Cettis Warbler; Green Woodpecker

Sunday, 26 June 2011

West Wittering Area

Managed to get down to West Wittering for a few days with the family this week hoping for some time on the beech. Not so with the beech so we spent a lot of time wondering around the area.

I managed to get my first photo of a bird; Black backed Gull.

There were Linets everywhere to the volume of what i am seeing Whitethroats over at Rainham Marshes.

My best find of the week where two Bullfinches (male & female but not sure if a pair) and then with a stroll along the Easthead right at the end a new one to add to my life list easily identifiable amongst the Common Terns; a Little Turn unmistakably showing their size, yellow bill along with white forehead.

I counted atleast 8 adult birds with one pair feeding younger birds on the shingle opposite
Now puts me onto 133.

The Black Headed Gull shots that i took to me look like an adult in summer gear but the second looks like an adult winter? in summer? Could it be its just late developping its hood? or would it be a non breeding bird who never developed one?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

London Bird Wiki

I have just put a hyperlink from the London Bird Wiki to here, so if any London Birders arrive:

I am new to birding starting in October 2010, i mostly visit Rainham Marshes and have just started to visit Ingrebourne Valley.

Loads of un identifiable birds at the minute but im improving and my life list is very slowly getting larger.

If any East London guys can offer any help / advice...all gratefully received.

Cheers Lee

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Birding Slang

So, i know "Gropper" means Grass Hopper Warbler. I know what "Twitching" & "Dipping" are but "Gropper" got me thinking about other slang terms that i am not aware of yet..........

I think "Sprawk" means Sparrowhawk but i may be wrong.

I even have picked up (as per a previous post) what "Vismigging" is.

So how many more, can anybody let me know?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Rainham Marshes - Kingfisher & Wheatear

 I arrived at Rainham Marshes this morning around 8.10am just as the rain started on and off. I managed to get along the sea wall to Aveley Bay and back to thye center without getting to wet.

A nice female Wheatear on the footpath by Aveley Bay was showing well for a few minutes flitting off and on showing its white rump.

Upon entering the reserve center i was shown the huge Hawk Moth that had been caught that morning with a view to being moved for safety reasons as it was in the middle of a pathway. For more on that see the blog on the right side bar for Dave Mo.

By the time i got into the Woodland area the rain started, although light, to come down continuously. A mid paced walk revealed a resonable number of species although a disapointing stop in both the Barretts & Butts Hides.

I stopped at the Marshland Discovery Zone for a lookout for Kingfishers. I have until today only had a brief glimpse of one back in February this year, so with the now heavy rain and time on my hands due to the pace of my circuit i settled in.

After half hour or so; which with only a Coot for company; felt like an eternity; a flash of blue from left to right........gone. Another 10 minutes with my best mate the Coot and there it went again. If i was going to get a better view i was going to have to cut the Coot loose. Finally the Kingfisher came in from the left again and although it didnt stop, i managed to stay on it until it went out of view.

Todays birding; Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Linet, Wren, Willow Warbler, (heard) Chiffcaff, (heard) Cukoo, (heard) Cettis Warbler, Blue / Great Tits, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Coot, Moorhen, Sedge Warbler, Black Headed Gull, Shelduck, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Whitethroat, Herring Gull, Wheatear, Mallard, Gadwall, Kingfisher, Canada Goose, Reed Bunting, Jackdaw, Starling, House Martin, Sand Martin, Swift, Little Grebe,

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Vange Marsh - Red Backed Shrike, Spoonbills & Springwatch

Pager Run this afternoon about 4pm. After getting up this morning to find the pager going off about the Red Backed Shrike & Sponbills over at RSPB Vange Marsh i was off to Lakeside.

Well afer numerous hours of wandering about looking for stuff im sure we didnt really need we headed back to my parents to pick the 3 kids up.

As we approached our house the pager went again so as such after obatining permission from the other half we stopped for me to get my gear. As i dropped off the wife at my parents i asked my dad if he fancied a go at the Shrike to which he did so we set off.

After entering the reserve a small group of guys stood (now about 4pm) looking toward the pools, you could pick the Spoonies out quite easily.

As we joined them we, after a very friendly welcome, we we're advised the Shrike hadnt been seen for a couple of hours, so we decided to set about scanning the pool for a bit before turning our attentions to the Shrike hunt

The Spoonbill was showing really well and a rather knackered looking Male Garganey was in and out of view, other than that the list consisted of:

Black Headed Gulls; Herring Gulls; Lesser Black Backed Gulls; Common Gulls; Coot; Mute Swan; Great Crested Grebe; Mallard.

Oh yeah...the Springwatch vans were turning up at the Veolia Landfill site for the outside broadcast next week at the Pitsea site - never saw any of the main broadcasters though.

My dad had his camera a was snapping away like mad but i think the Spoonbill was a little out of reach for a decent shot with his 300 lens - we shall see.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Early Birder

Welcome back Frank; thanks for the follow.

Franks blog The Early Birder is well worth a read; the link is on the side bar here.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Welcome to Peter McSweeney as a follower of The Learner Birder.

I am hoping to get over to Ingrebourne Valley this weekend. Its a huge place with varying habitat so need to find my way about. I have been over 3 times now but each time i have had one of the kids with me (excluding the time to see the Temminks Stint) so not really acheived much, however have managed to spot a few bits:

Blackbird; Coot; Moorhen; Lapwing; Cettis Warbler; Buzzard; House Martin; Swift; Swallow; Whitethroat; Chifchaff; Green Sandpiper; Temminks Stint (spotted by Dick Jefferies a few weeks ago); Gadwall; Teal; Magpie; Mute Swan; Blue & Great Tits; Green Woodpecker; Great Crested Grebe; Pochard & Tufted Duck

Monday, 6 June 2011

Where They All Gone?

As my followers would have by now found out, the URL for THE LEARNER BIRDER has changed and although i managed to get the blog imported i lost the few, and i mean few, followers i had.

O well, if you find me again please refresh the follow - thank you

Or if your new to this site please link a follow so i know whos out there.

So for the new follower on the new URL; welcome :)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

And back.....

Well due to some heavy work load although i have managed to get out birding i havnt been posting.

However things should change from this weekend so here we go again;

This afternoon in the rain my youngest daughter was going stir crazy at home so after getting out the wet weather gear we headed over to the Ingrebourne Valley (Hornchurch side) and had a little walk as far as the black iron bridge and back stopping at the viewing areas along the way and at every puddle she could possibly find.

I had forgotton that Puddle Jumping was such an art form. As a 4 year girl she managed to show me the hop skip & jump; the two footed stomp; the quick run through along with many more.

So at the viewing area there wasnt that much about; coot, moorhen, lapwing, mallard & 4 teal along with a new one for me; A Green Sandpiper.

I know these have been there before based upon other blogs covering the Valley but this puts me on 131