Sunday, 30 October 2011

Rainham Marshes

Arrived at the visitor center car park this morning by 7.30am and decided to go all the way to the Stone Barges.

A mixed Goldfinch & Greenfinch flock got me started shortly followed by 4 Rock Pipits and mixed gulls steadily headed towards the tip.

As i arrived at Aveley Bay i could yet again make out more than just Gulls at the far end; this end were two Curlew.

Getting to the far end where about 85 Black Tailed Godwit, 4 Cormorant and mixed gulls. I bumped into John Richardson who was also watching the Godwit. 85 is my largest group of these birds so i was pleased; John then mentioned that if i had been there about half hour before the number easily totalled 350 plus and they had, in groups been making there way up river toward London.

I counted about 36 Redshank dotted between Aveley Bay and the Stone Barges; Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Goldfinches, Greenfinches all to be seen on the landfill side.

Upon reaching the barges i started a search for a Water Pipit. Although one was seen yesterday i had been intending on coming up here for a bit and had been in conatct with David Darrell-Lambert for some assistance in the differences between Rock & Water Pipits. He kindly added some photographs and guidence notes on his blog for me and sent me some decent texts. No joy for me though, a couple of Rock Pipits in the same area.

Lee's Local Birding

On the way back much of the same however i did manage to get a patch tick with a solitary Brent Goose.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Warley Place

Half Term and with the littlest one not well, the older two were going stir crazy at home and needed some fresh air, so leaving work a little early (well half day) i went home and asked if they wanted to go find some birds. Now the normal repsonse to this is of late has been "noooooo daddy!!!" but today was a massive "yes".

Given the option of Hallowen Face Painting at Rainham, crawling over the aeroplane at Ingreboune or a wander in the Woods (this last one was what i hoped for today as a Firecrest was reported earlier in the week,) i was supprised when they actually opted for it.

Shortly after arriving at Warley Place, i told them what we were looking for; a really small bird with a yellow to orange stipe down the middle of his head and white eyebrows. They looked at me like i was nuts, however i was after a lifer.

So off we went, through the first gate and squeelch, "this muds really squidgy daddy" -  "thats not mud thats cow poo darling" - "oh".

We continued with both kids firmly fixated with the search in question; yes, who can find the most cow pats and the noise coming from them was enough to scsare of every bird at Warley Place and my chances of anything today slowly faded.

Strangely with the noise, the running, jumping and everything else they doing we came across a singing Robin and the girls stopped for a listen, then more birds came into a view, it was a tit group; blue tits & great tits everywhere, then a flash of orange, could it it amongst the group were 3 Goldcrests - not to be sniffed at, a patch tick for me at Warley along with another patch tick a Coal Tit.

The noisy walk continued and finished after viewing both ponds from hides and doing a full circuit.

With the girls in the car eating a packet of Pombears and with me loading the car............out of nowhere came the call i had be listening to on the iphone before we came out, scanning the Holly bushes i could see something but couldnt get a view, a few minutes later and there it was on the top outside edge - my first Firecrest - well pleased!

Goldcrest - Unknown Photographer

Firecrest - courtesy of

Other birds seen: Green Woodpecker x2, Great SPotted Woodpecker x2, Nuthatch x2, Great Tit x7, Blue Tit x9, Coal Tit, Goldcrest x3, Jackdaw x5, Carrion Crow 3, Woodpigeon, Robin x7, Blacbird

Thursday, 27 October 2011

A Rainham Marshes Forum Funny

I was looking over the Rainham Marshes Forum earlier and a post caught my eye by somebody calling themselves "Bill Oddies Beard", within the post was a forum signature as follows.....

quote "Growing up, my Mum always claimed to feel bad when a bird would slam head-first into our living room window. If she "really" felt bad, though, she'd have moved the bird feeder outside."

Made me smile

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Rainham Marshes

An early start at Rainham this morning found me in the car park at 7.30am with nobody around. I headed up the Thames towards Avely Bay finding a good mixture of birds.

More Rock Pipits than i have seen in one go before, totalling 9 and a steady stream of mixed gulls heading for the landfill site for breakfast.

A large group of Woodpigen headed from over the reserve and accross the Thames towards Kent, i counted 70 odd but there could have been more.

As i approached the bay i could make out more than just gulls, the tide was out and the sun was low coming up from over my shoulder so i new that if i walked on further and viewed it i wouldnt be able to see much becuase of the sun.

There were a few Curlew, a single Great Blacked Backed Gull, 3 Redshank along with 23 Black Tailed Godwit. Most of the Godwit flew up the Thames towards London after a few minutes.

Carrying on past the Bay i kept river side and down the side of the landfill. Meadow Pipits and Skylark were a plenty along the landfill side along with a small Linnet flock of about 12 birds. On the shore side a count of 13 Herring Gull, 12 Black Headed Gull, 8 Great Black Backed Gull and a few Lapwing.

Other Birds seen: Teal 3, Cormorant 3, Shelduck 3, Robin, Blackbird, Kestrel, Magpie, Blue Tit 3, Great Tit, Goldfinch, House Sparrow 6, Reed Bunting (F).

Friday, 21 October 2011

Two Tree Island

After a visit to a clients in Westcliffe i decided to pop over to Two Tree Island seeing as i was there, i had intended on doing Tylers Common on the way back so had the gear in the car.

First onto the East Island with the usual woodland & scrub birds. As i moved towards the far end i suddenly remembered a page from a few days back re large numbers of Dark Bellied Brent Geese being in the Leigh On Sea area. These would be a life tick so i hoped i would see a few from the far end.

I wasnt disapointed, there were loads, most were to far out to count but a bout 100 odd were close enough to ID easily. Numbers well over 1000 i would guess.

courtesy of

The other birds on the mud were 10 Curlew, few Redshank & Oystercatcher.

I moved on to the West Island sticking to the edge as i went. Once i reached the small boat yard & car park i managed to get all the way down the concrete ramp. Looking about i could see 2 Turnstone, 2 Grey Plover, 250-300 Golden Plover, 13 Ringed Plover.

courtesy of

The View from the concrete ramp:

Lee's Local Birding

Lee's Local Birding

Other birds seen on the Island: Skylark x3, Goldfinch x5, Greenfinch, Magpie, Black Headed Gull, Little Egret x4, Starling, Coot, Cettis Warbler, Lapwing, Teal x43, Wigeon x2, Mallard x34, Carrion Crow, Dunlin x6, Great Blacked Gull x15, Common Gull x4, Herring Gull.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Rainham Marshes

A trip to see if  could catch the Bearded Tits that were seen yesterday and heard this morning failed but i did manage to get my first Stonechast of the season; two male & one female.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Rainham Marshes - Cettis Warbler (Audio)

Managed to record two different Cettis Warblers today at Rainham Marshes, one in the Woodland Area the other in the reeds after Barretts Hide. This one was from the Woodland.

Rainham Marshes

Had a great few hours over at Rainham this afternoon; walking from the center to Aveley Bay and back then a circuit around the reserve.

I also had my first go a digiscoping with a few disastrous results but it was good fun trying.

In the walk to Aveley Bay it was good to see the Rock Pipets back with two seen along the shore line; reaching the bay there were a group of about c50 Black Headed Gull and a group of Redshank c65. A solitary Avocet, Ringed Plover and Curlew with two Great Black Backed Gulls.

Lee's Local Birding - Ringed Plover & Redshank - Aveley Bay
I also had a Female Wheatear land a few feet away and then move swiftly on, a really bad digi scope shot:

Lee's Local Birding

Back in the reserve i headed via the Woodland Zone round managing to catch a Cettis Warbler for the first time in a few months and a single Dunlin over by the far end of the Northern Trail before it bends off to Butts Hide.
Lee's Local Birding

Lee's Local Birding - Dunlin (it is)

As well as a good selection of birds i managed to take this Dragon, dont know its name yet and i saw lots of them so i presume its very common.

Lee's Local Birding
Other birds seen: Common Gull, Reed Bunting (Male Juv), Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Stock Dove, Skylark x2, Greylag & Canada Geese, Little Egret x6, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow x17 on the Target Pools, Lapwing, Pochard, Teal, Litte Grebe x4, Redshank x8 in reserve, Starling, Woodpigen, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Kestrel x2, Magpie, Starlings, House Sparrows

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Confirmation - Blackcap Audio

So i was looking at my i phone videos and was listenning to a Garden Warbler, which to me sounded very much like the Blackcap that i recorderd earlier this year, so much so that when i re listened to the clip i then had doubts.

Although on the day i had seen lots of Blackcaps this particular bird wasnt seen just recorded. The clip is here.

As such i placed it on twitter last night and Jonathan Lethbridge repsonded saying he thought it was a Blackcap so thanks to him for confirming.

Does anyone disagree?



Saturday, 8 October 2011

Rainham Marshes

A quick circuit this afternoon proved to be very quiet although i got some great views of a Sparrowhawk on the Northern Trail. It also allowed more Juvenile Gull ID as well.

Sparrowhawk, Mallard, Shoveller, Wigeon, Teal, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Herring Gull, Black Headed Gull, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Pied Wagtail, Greylag, Canada Goose, Robin, Lapwing. Heard a Cettis Warbler.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tilbury - Coalhouse Fort

The pager has been going off for a few days about the Sempalmated Sandpiper found by Paul Wood at the weekend and being busy with family commitments i was unable to go. However a quiet period at work today meant i potentially could be there from Brentwood fairly quickly subject to the relevant permissions from the other half.

Permissions granted and shortly after i was on the way; parking in the free fort car park, the directions i received were to head to the right of the fort and follow the pathway to the shore; you'll know you heading in the right direction if your heading to the water tower.

 For me, the bird was on the right of the tower viewable from the path. We were about 50-75 yards past it but it has been seen either side of the tower since being found at the weekend.

The first 10 minutes or so were spent trying to find the bird with a guy who was already on it shouting directions; the wind was strong and buffering the scopes making things even more difficult.

The best direction given for finding a Semipalmated Sandpiper on the Thames mudflats was...."its in a sort of puddle" along with "there its gone out of sight by that rock". Even his wife who was patiently waiting laughed at the puddle direction.

Once on it though you could get some decent views as it dashed this way and that in the mud. One of the guys there kindly advised he would email me some photos that i could use so all being well will put them up here soon.

A lifer for me but also present were two more lifers in the form of Little Stint & Curlew Sandpiper, so as you cam imagine i was really pleased with my short birding trip.

courtesy of wikipedia - Curlew Sandpiper

courtesy of wikipedia - Little Stint