Friday, 30 September 2011

Rainham Marshes

After Tylers Common i headed over to Rainham, upon entering the center Brenda advised that a Spotted Flycatcher had been seen in the Woodland Zone, so i headed over to the cordite. A couple of minutes later the pager goes off for a Spoonbill over at the Butts Hide.

This would be a patch tick so i head over; showing well straight out from the Butts with two Little Egrets i get there just before 1pm and it stays on show until about 1.20pm before it flys back towards the Barretts hide no londer visable from Butts.

courtesy of - not actual bird seen

Tylers Common

Some good increases in my patch list for Tylers Common of late: Blue Tit, Buzzard, Jackdaw, Starling & Meadow Pipit - taking it to 28

courtesy of

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Hanningfield Resevoir

Working in Brentwood, Hanningfield is not to far away so i popped over there this morning as Black terns were reported last night.

No Black Terns for me but i did manage a Ruff at the far end hide over looking the fishing lodge along with getting in some more Gull ID this time on Juvenile Great Black Backed & Lesser Black Backed.

Within the woodland area though i also managed a new life tick - a Treecreeper; a lovely little bird with white underneath and mottled brown top and black down turned bill

courtesy of

Also a year tick in the form of a Coal Tit, thought i had one of them already but apparently not.

courtesy of Ian F

This also now increases my Patch List over at Hanningfield to the dizzy heights of 42:

Blackbird, Blackcap, Black Headed Gull, Blue Tit, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Common Gull, Common Tern, Coot, Cormorant, Dunnock, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Goldeneye, Great Black Backed Gull, Great Crested Grebe, Great Tit, Green Woodpecker, Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Herring Gull, Jay, Lapwing, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Magpie, Mallard, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Pheasant, Pintail, Pochard, Robin, Ruff, Shoveler, Teal, Treecreeper, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Willow Warbler, Wren

plus a Black Swan.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Barking Bay

So, i headed off to Barking Bay this afternoon; a page had come in for a Wryneck, found by Paul Hawkins that morning i was a few hours later at about 1.30pm.

I havnt been to the Bay before so had no idea what to expect, i hadnt even stuck it google for a look so when i arrived at Choats Road, the access point according to the pager all i could find was heavy-duty-keep-me-out-you-will-surely-impale-your-self-if-you-try-to-climb-it fencing. With no access point (that i could see).

So after a quick look at Google maps courtesy of the iPhone i headed down Choats Road to Renwick Road and turned left toawrds the Thames. I found myslef getting further and further away from what i thought was Barking Bay. Nothing left but to turn round and attack it from the other end.

Back down Choats, right into Hindmans Way all the way to the end right infront of the sea wall, turn right along the sea wall down Thunderer Road to its end.

And the end it was;i had arrived in the middle of some aggregate type looking firm; just about to give up and go, i spotted something, something that looked very out of place. A birder clambering up and over the sea wall, rather clumsily at that. I parked and got out and when he finally managed to sort himself out i asked the way to the Bay.

At that he pointed and said "up and over the wall mate" then "along the beach for a bit, up the bank by the 3 outlet pipes, along the concrete path, around the white building and then your there"

"No easier way i asked?" as i know that Dave Mo and Paul Hawkins are regulars here and i feel pretty confident that is not the way in they use every time, besides that would make it only accessible at low tide.

"No fella, up and over or go home" he sounded a little affended that i would question his whole approach of getting into the bay area so i went with it.

So here are the pictures of my route in.

Lee's Local Birding

Lee's Local Birding

Lee's Local Birding

Lee's Local Birding

Now there is a point to all the directions given, i am hoping that somebody could tell me the correct way of getting there please?

As for the Wryneck, i didnt see it but did manage to get some more Juvenile Gull ID practice. Also found a single Greenshank, that i saw fly, caught the white V along with hearing flight call.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Gull ID Practice

Back in March i went on a Gull ID workshop with Martin GarnerDominic Mitchell & David Darrell-Lambert.

In addition i was introduced to the Birding Artist - Ian Lewington; he assured me anybody can draw birds. I must disagree, i have tried and cant.

It proved very useful but i havnt really used any of the knowledge i picked up from that day.

As such i headed off to Aveley Bay this afternoon with my notes (no ID guide) from the day looking for a Juvenile, 1st or 2nd Winter bird (anything other than BHG). I found one mixed in with the Black Headed Gulls and set about trying to ID with the info i had obtained.

Now to more experienced birders what i was looking at was an easy ID but according to Martin the more i look at the regulars taking into account feather patterns etc the easier it will become and easier to find Yellow Legged, Caspian and who knows what else.

Drawing it up & note taking the ID i came up with was a Juvenile Herring Gull based upon the oak tree looking tertial pattern and knotches in the sadle feathers. In addition it was quite a dark bird, to dark for a 1W. It had a full black bill, pinkish legs and a black eye.

The good news - i got it correct ( i hope) so i can carry on with the methods knowing they are working.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ingrebourne Valley - My Patch List Increases

More DIY on the house means little biridng again this weekend however i managed a trip over to Ingrebourne Valley early this moring arriving at the Berwick Woods car park at 6.30. I have never been over this early before and i was suprised how much more activity there was compared to when i have been visiting.

Heading towards the top paddock i immediately came accross a Green Woodpecker and then more Woodpigeons than i cared to count.

Chiffcaffs calling everywhere it seemed with some even singing. A new one for my pacth list, a young male pheasant in the field edge after the paddock.

Lee's Local Birding

As a first i went over the bridge and continued down the public footpath. This is where being still new to birding i realised i still have a long long way to go. There were LBJ's flying every where and i had no idea what they were.

I caught the calls of Goldfinches & Greenfinches passing over but these others were beyond me. A bit further down and the second increase in the pacth list, a wren followed very quickly by 2 Dunnocks, giving another increase.

As i headed back, Yellowhammers (although now not so yellow) by the bridge along with a Chiffchaff which i managed to view for some time.

Back home by 8am

courtesy of

courtesy of

Other birds seen: Carrion Crow, Robin, Collard Dove, Starling, Grey Heron, Greylag & Canada Goose, Mallard.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ingrebourne Valley - 3 New Ones

After the visit to Rainham i headed for the top paddock with the thought of increasing my patch list with sight of the Winchat seen recently.

Upon arrival i was greated with a long tailed tit and strangly after a quick check it was one for my list.

I soon caught sight of something down by the fence seperating field and paddock. It was a Whinchat; (thats two added to the list), then another dropped in, followed by 3 more.  So 5 in total before another 2 arrived.

7 Whinchat all in view, hold it, those last two look nothing like Whinchat, Result 2 Meadow Pipit and thats 3 for the patch list today.

Its still not a high list but its improving, its now on 55

Rainham Marshes - Thames Wall to Aveley Bay

The plan was to visit The Stone Barges, Aveley Bay & head off to Ingrebourne Valley, however the car park was locked to The Stone Barges. I ended up passing the barrier at Coldharbour Lane and heading to the small car park by Aveley Bay.

At the bay a i went towards the barges, time was about 7.45am. Lots of mixed Gulls: Lesser Black Backed, Great Black Backed, Herring, a few Common and lots of Black Headed.

About 8 Swallows passed over heading South along with about 15 House Martins in the same direction.

4 Cormorant in Aveley Bay and 3 Ring Necked Parakeets came from accross the Thames and headed over into the reserve, banked right and moved down to the Woodland Area. A few Mallard lazed around on the shore.

I walked down the Thames back now towards the reserve center about half way. A hobby lazily swooped on something and then moved towards the center along with 3 Whinchats by the MDZ.

Looking for Terns for about an hour or so found more gulls all heading towards the tip. Deciding not to go in the Reserve moved onto The Valley looking to increase my patch list after the Whinchats in the top paddock. 

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Tylers Common - Hobby

As i am not able to get out this weekend i managed an hour over at Tylers Common on Friday afternoon. In the lower wooded area between the common and Tylers Wood i seem to find more. Chiffchaff were abundant along with Green Woodpecker & Linnet.

I could see a large group of Swallows over by the farm in the far corner so headed to count them, usually about 70 and Friday was no execption with 67 being counted. In the field beyong i scanned for Yellow Wagtails, Wheatear & Whinchat but could only come up with Carrion Crow & Woodpigeon and a single Pied Wagtail.

Back on the Swallows as they had started making a noise and a Hobby took a very half hearted swoop on a couple then flew directly over head and off towards the M25.

I viewed up to Folkes Wood on the other side of the valley for the 3 Common Buzzard that are seen there but couldnt see them today.

Dave Mo (see Dave's own blog for more info) visited Tylers Common on Saturday and took the following shots of the Hobby which he has kindly sent me:

Picture (c) Dave Mo

Picture (c) Dave Mo

Picture (c) Dave Mo

Picture (c) Dave Mo

A Garden Tick?

I was reading Jonathan Lethbridges blog earlier and its got me thinking about my Garden List, the rules are pretty simple; i have to be within the boundaries of my house as laid out by Land Registry.

So if im in the loft room and look out the window at the far end of Haynes Park with a scope do i count it; no....i like to be able to say i could see it with the naked eye but used optics for better views.

Now that brings me on to this damm Chiffchaff that frequents the fir tree at the end of the garden. i have hearding it calling on numerous occaisions and its even now started to sing again only a few versus here and there but its singing. I know its there and i know its in my garden and im in my garden; so do i count, i havnt seen it and its getting really annoying. I have sat there time after time hearing it calling 4 or 5 times, i am no more than 5ft away......then a call, its moved out the back of the fir and gone about 4 gardens up.

One day, one day i may catch a sight of it.