Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rainham Marshes

I arrived in the RSPB car park at 7.40am. Immediatley greated with the flight calls of two Ring Necked Parakeet I  set off down the river side of the Thames wall heading on my usual route. The wind was Westish and very strong. The clouds dark with rain and heading quickly in my direction.

A male Reed Bunting flew into the wind along side me heading in the same direction; it didnt look to be making much progress and dropped into the grass to my left. A steady stream of mixed gulls, Common, Herring, Lesser Black Backed & Great Black Backed all headed low up river towards the landfill. Black Headed Gulls sat about on the shoreline.

A group of 6 Rock Pipit messing in the seaweed and possibly a Water Pipit in the grass / mud edging, it looked clean but i couldnt get enough on it, a lot lighter than the Rock Pipits seen just before but too much wind noise to hear anything.

Numerous Teal, Mallard, Wigeon swam in the waters edge and Cormorant were busy diving in mid water.

By the time i got to Aveley Bay i was windswept, too much water in my eyes and now was getting rather wet from a steady drizzle. Aveley Bay didnt hold much, more of the same along with some Lapwing & Shelduck. No Black Tailed Godwit or Redshank to be seen. About 6 Pied Wagtail flew over into the reserve along with a Kestrel up by the small car park.

I headed back to the reserve and got there just as the draw bridge was being lowered, nothing different on the way back apart from Goldfinch, House Sparrow & Greenfinch on the feeders both in car park and reserve. Chaffinch and Collard Dove were also present.

Heading to the Purfleet Scrape hide to see the works being done it all looked good and seemed to be filling slowly. A large group of Greylag & Canada Geese were already making use of the recently scraped land.

No sign of the Bearded Tits and not much else until the Northern Boardwalk area where i ticked 2x Dunlin, Ruff, 3x Black Tailed Godwit & a single Golden Plover

A group of about 25 Stock Dove in the middle after the Barrets Hide along with 6 Skylark with a weak flight call being heard. The woodland area was busy but everything was low and i was running out of time so made a quick exit.

Other Birds Seen: Shoveller, Pintail, Coot, Little Grebe, Carrion Crow & not much else.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Titchwell - Norfolk

On Tuesday i was on the reserve just as light was breaking, the bird noise in the distance could be heard from the car park. Eagerly anticipating hitting the beach before meeting with my parents at 9.30, i took a quick walk down the main path, not really paying too much attention to what was going on around me.

Marsh Harriers, Skylarks, Teal, Wigeon, Little Egret about 2500 Golden Plover to name a few on the way down.

Upon reaching the beach i stood and took a look at the shore line; lots of Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Curlew & Redshank.

The previous day on the way up the pager had gone off for a Desert Wheatear for which i called my parents and they connected with it just off the end of the path way with many others. I had forgotten about this so far this morning until a guy appeared asking if i had seen it.

We had a chat and both decided to head left down the beach for a bit as the bird had so far been seen bewteen Holme & Titchwell. After about three quarters of a mile with numerous stops looking ahead for the bird i made may marker and advised him i wasnt going any further than the green peice of rubbish in the sea weed due to having to meet back in the car park with my parents at 9.30am. We stopped and after a couple of minutes scanning ahead i found the Wheatear. A great looking bird with its black eye mask  and throat clearly on show.

Titchwell Beach - Lee's Local Birding

Titchwell beach - Lee's Local Birding

I managed to get 3 digiscoped shots and as per usual, they were awfull. In fact so bad the Wheatear wasnt actually in any of them - o well, i'll improve i hope in time.

3 awful shots of a Desert Wheatear - actually worse than that its not in any shot

Heading back to me the parents we all had a good day with 56 different species; another three life ticks for me: the Desert Wheatear, two Goosanders and three Eiders.

Brent Geese heading over Thornham Marsh

Lee's Local Birding - view over reserve from main path

Lee's Local Birding

We tried to find the Yellow Browed Warbler that had been there for about 3 weeks now and had been seen that day around the picnic area; along with lots of others unfortunatley i didnt get it however all in all i got 5 Life ticks for the day and half in Norfolk along with one i hadnt seen since being a child so a great time was had.

Birds Seen: Desert Wheatear, Eider, Goosander, Brent Goose, Curlew, Sanderling, Mallard, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Pheasant, Shoveller, Snipe, Wren, Little Egret, Skylark, Wigeon, Marsh Harrier, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, Ruff, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Great Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Grey Plover, Robin, Cormorant, Turnstone, Goldeneye, Slavonian Grebe, Greyalg Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Avocet, Barnacle Goose, Spoonbill, Harring Gull, Common Gull, Water Rail, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Teal, Coot, Magpie, Moorhen, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove, Starling, Pintail, Little Grebe

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Holme Dunes - Norfolk

My parents and friends have been in Titchwell for a few days and i managed to get up to Norfolk late Monday afternoon to join them on Tuesday for the day. I arrived mid afternoon so took a trip to Holme Dunes, run by Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

Its a great place and compared to the foot fall that i saw at Titchwell the following day it was deserted. A couple of guys sea watching from the dunes and the warden who was more than willing to share his knowledge of the area.

There are 3 main walkways (if you exclude just getting onto the beach), the first leads accross the top of the dunes with views of sea, dunes and marsh areas. The second is a round trip walk from the visitor center into the dunes. The last is a there and back path leading to the three hides and one screen over looking lakes, marshland and fields.

Lees Local Birding - looking back at visitors center (just in view right of pines)

Lees Local Birding - Sea watching point for when the tides in - otherwise get on the beach
I wasnt there long but managed to get two life ticks - Common & Vevet Scoters and a Grey Wagtail which i havnt seen since a child in Devon.

courtesy of

courtesy of

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Ingrebourne Valley

Arriving at the car park just before 7am it was getting light; first thing i saw was an amusing sight of a lady no more than 5ft 2 with a Great Dane. it was plane to see the reason why she was over there so early; she had absolutly no control over the dog in any way!

I was atempting the impossible (for me) to try and find the Bitterns. After reading varying blogs i headed off in what i thought was the right direction. It wasnt i couldnt even get close the reeds; back the other way; nope wrong again. In the area i though they were i walked this way and that not being able to get close enough to see the base of the reeds or the water they stood in.

Deciding this was definately a mission impossible without further info i heaeded off to the Berwick Pond area.

It was about about 7.30am when it started; Woodpigeons flying over. For 5 minutes wave after wave of them all headed in the same direction; westish. I counted what i could, after fifteen hundred i thought it was slowing down; the suddenly more and it continued for another few minutes. easily 2000-3000 birds.

Lucikly for me watching these meant i caught sight of a small brown bird fly across the path which turned out to be a patch tick for me; a Goldcrest.

At the Berwick Pond side i still didnt manage to get the Bittern so i heaed over to the area between top & bottom paddocks; plenty of Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch & Goldfinch.

Other birds seen: Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Collard Dove, Teal, Moorhen, Green Woodpecker, Skylark, Reed Bunting, Long Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Canada Goose, Grey Heron, Mallard, Black Headed Gull, Black Bird, Song Thrush - plus i also counted about 7 Cettis Warbler singing but didnt see any.

Nice, just had a look and Song Thrush is another patch tick!

courtesy of

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Hanningfield Resevoir - Peregrine

Driving back from a clients yesterday i managed to go past Hanningfield; not going in but just stopping on the causeway gave me a patch tick there; 2 Peregrine harassing the Teal flocks on the water in an attempt to get them to take flight.

It was interesting to watch as it almost seemed they were cooperation with each other in the hunt, One would do the harassing while the other stayed higher. Any that took flight would then be dived upon from the higher bird.

It was pretty unsuccessful though and in my time there, about 15 minutes, they had about 6 groups take flight but being on mass i think it was a little confusing.

Other birds: Shoveller, Black Headed Gulls, Great Crested Grebes, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Great Black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Mallard, Greylag & Canada Geese, Coot, Pochard

No sign of the Slav Grebes reported earlier that day

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Mistle Thrush - Lifer Added

On the way back from Billericay this morning, i caught a large Thrush on the top of a tree, stopping the car revealed 2 Mistle Thrushes.