Saturday, 27 August 2011

Rainham Marshes

After the squadrons over at the Valley i headed off to Rainham with the intention of Thames watching; looking for terns. I have only ever seen Common & Little so pretty much all of what people had seen over the last couple of days would be lifers for me.

Arriving at 8am i was on the wall for a couple of hours but the wind had changed direction from the previous two days and it was a lot clearer. Asking about, others up and down from the Reserve center to Aveley Bay hadn't seen anything other than gulls, waders & duck plus 2 Common tern.

So i went in to the reserve.

A few more raptors: Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Peregrine

A few Wheatears around the center along with a Whinchat from the new hide. 6 Yellow Wagtails following the cattle.

Others seen included: Blue Tit, Gadwall, Shoveller, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Linnet, Chiffchaff, House Martin, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow.

I also got my first 2 Rainham lizzards along the Northern Boardwalk.

Ingrebourne Valley

On the way to Rainham this morning i stopped at the Valley via the Berwick Woods car park and took a stroll down to the little bridge along passed the top paddock in the hope of seeing some Yellow Wagtails around the horses; wasnt to be.

In the stubble of the next field the Woodpigeons & Carrion Crows scatered everywhere and a low flying Common Buzzard came into view which then promptly settled on the fence posts between paddock & field.

It stayed there for 5-10 minutes diving on & off the post and down into the vegetation around the fence; i ddint see a succesfull catch.

However even the Buzzard took flight at what happened next; suddenly from the Sweetcorn field came the noise of Geese; and geese there where in their 100's and very low flying.

I counted 120 that went straight over my head a mix of Greylag & Canada. The lot that went over my head were about 3 skeins wide (if thats the right word) and 4 skeins deep but there could have easily been another 3 skeins to the side of what i could see.

The noise was unbelievable (serves me right saying that the same spot the other night was deadly quiet)

I'll avoid the puns on Squadrons and Airplanes bearing in mind where i was :)

Even though it was just Greylag & Canada's it easily tops the year highlights so far!

On the way back to the car i spotted a Wheatear and a few Lapwing flew over

Monday, 22 August 2011

Ingrebourne Valley

I havnt been to either Rainham or Ingrebourne for a while now so thought i would have a quick trip over to the Valley yesterday evenning.

I arrive about 8pm and headed stright for the viewing area and just before getting to the main one 2 Greenshank flew towards the houses. They were quite low so i could see the V up their backs, no wing bars and could hear the flight calls.

Other birds on the water: Coot, Mallard, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Grey Heron. There wasnt much around so decided to head up to the top paddock.

It was very quiet, no movement, no calls apart from about 30 odd low flying Swallows over by what i call Budgie Bridge.

The light was fading fast so headed home

Friday, 19 August 2011

Yellow Wagtail

A good day; after getting back to the office i was looking at two Wheatears on the playing fields when 5 Juvenile Pied Wagtails and 2 Juvenile Yellow Wagtails came into view from under the oak trees. They came further into view and became quite close.

So thats 2 added to the life list today. At this rate i will probably be 60 by the time i get to 200 :)

Subalpine Warbler - Take 2

Pagers going off again this morning for the Warbler so thought i would have another go; got off to a great start i completely forgot about V and by the time i hit Chelmsford they were queing.

Anyhow on site again the 5 or so people there had decided to take a different approach to viewing the bird. On Tuesday we all stood back up near the path / car park road looking down to the bushes over the picnic tables.

Today however they were sitting at the picnic tables (having sandwiches) and lined up by it. Thinking back to Tuesday and the family who decided to set up camp there i didnt have much hope.

Quietly i set up to the right of them all in line and for 10 minutes nothing, then a Reed Warbler, then another.

A Sparrowhawk above along with some noisy Swallows and a small group of Sand Martins.

Then smack bang in front of me was the Subalpine Warbler, a gentle heads up to the rest and we managed some brief views.

Another 10 minutes or so and then at the top it re appeared face on allowing all to see the Reddish underparts and a good view of its white moustache trailing down each side. In addition i managed to see the eye very clearly and appearing darker red than the underparts.

It then turned allowing good views of it from behind and then hopped in the bushes.

So not the actual bird but:

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Subalpine Warbler

For the last couple of days i have been debating on if to go to Clacton and see the Subalpine Warbler at Holland Haven Country Park and yesterday i finally made my mind up. I was going.

At 4pm yesterday (Monday) i was just about to walk out the door when i hear "what about your back?" Now for those who dont know part of it is presently it is being held together by some string after a minor op.

Apparently driving for two and a bit hours will no do it any favours; besides on Tuesday morning there coming out so much better to go then.

So this morning i packed my gear and headed off for Harold Wood Polly Clinic for them to be removed and then onto Clacton.

After being made wait at the clinic, held up in traffic on the A12 while they cut the grass and then stuck behind a wide load (static caravan on way to a site in Clacton) i finally ended up at Holland Haven standing next to LGRE to be told those words i really wanted to hear "you just missed it". So there we stood about 15 to 20 of us on and off for quite some time. Most walked off to the hide leaving about 8 looking for the Warbler.

Finally after a very long wait just as we were all about to give up'll never guess........just try...............a family deiced to set up at the picnic table in front of the bushes that it had been seen in. They looked sat down and then got on with their lunch!

Mumbles and groans from all around but they were not going anywhere and to be fair to them if you looked at the other picnic tables in the area the seats had had the seating bit removed leaving table and stumps; this was the only one with seats.

So i came home with no new life tick; a quarter tank of petrol down and you guessed it; a sore back.

So this is what i could have seen if i had gone Monday, i know this as two of the local blogs i follow managed it: Valley Birding & Hawkys Blog.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Garden List On The UP

A nice suprise this morning when i looked out the kitchen window into the garden: 5 Ring Necked Parakeets. Puts the garden list on 35. They shorlty flew into Haynes Park and out of sight

Garden List:

Blackbird: Black Headed Gull: Blue Tit: Carrion Crow: Chaffinch: Collard Dove: Common Gull: Dunnock: Gadwall: Goldcrest: Goldfinch: Great Spotted Woodpecker: Great Tit: Green Woodpecker: Greenfinch: Grey Heron: Greylag Goose: House Sparrow: Jay: Long Tailed Tit: Magpie: Mute Swan: Redwing: Ring Necked Parakeet: Robin: Feral Pigeon: Song Thrush: Sparrowhawk: Starling: Stock Dove: Swallow: Swift: Waxwing: Woodpigeon: Wren

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Vange Marsh

A late visit to Vange Marsh today provided two new ones for my ever growing life list: A reported 15 Spotted Redshank, however only found two and also four Common Sandpiper.

Other birds seen in the hour and half visit: Common Tern, Green Sandpiper, Curlew, Greenshank, Kingfisher,

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Folkes Wood - Raptors

I went to Folkes Wood the other day to see if i could get a better view of the three Common Buzzrds that are are sticking around and viewable from Tylers Common.

Sure enough the views are a great improvement of what seems to be a young bird and two adults. They hang around the dead trees to the left of the wood and can be seen easily via bins or even better with the scope. You can hear the birds calling as well but a little to far for me to record.

Again my raptor thoughts on this area seemed to be confirmed with views of Sparrowhawk, a very knackered looking Kestrel along with a fly over passing Hobby.