Sunday, 26 February 2012

Rainham Marshes

For only the second time this year i went to Rainham RSPB; arriving at 08.30 i took a leisurely stroll along the water side path of the wall. The day got of to a good start with a Water Pipit, just as a double check though i checked out the RSPB forums posts and Collins making sure it wasnt a Scandinavian Rock Pipit, it wasnt and shortly after i was treated to up to 15 Rock Pipits all in flight and calling as they went.

Teal and Wigeon lazed on the shoreline, while Reed Buntings flew from the grass over the wall and into the reserve. A smallish raptor, brown in colour, not a Kestrel, went over the after them. I presume a Sparrowhawk.

Skylark song and call was coming from everywhere in the morning sun and i managed a recording which i shall put up here soon.

Aveley Bay was busy with Black Headed Gull, Shelduck, Redshank and Curlew. Pied Wagtail x2 on the rocks.

A report of Yellow Legged Gull earlier from Serin Mound however for me all i got was Linnet, Goldfinch and Greenfinch all in good numbers so it was nice to watch.

I headed back to the center; other birds along the wall: Cormorant, Pheasant, House Sparrow, Ring Necked Parakeet, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon & Starling.

In the reserve i took my usual route via the Woodland area catching the usual; Great, Blue & Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Wren. As well as hearing Cettis Warbler i finally caught sight allowing it to be added to my 2012 list.

courtesy of wikipedia
Numerous Snipe and i spent time checking for Jack's but alas this bird still eludes me. A single Peregrine sat on the pylon.

Onto Butts Hide where most of the Lapwing were along with Golden Plover and Dunlin over on  the Target Pools.

Two of the RSPB guys pulled a Little Stint from the ridiculous heat haze for February left of the Dunlin. For me this was a good view as its the first time i've seen a Little Stint next to Dunlin. I've only seen one before and it was in with the Curlew Sandpipers and Semipalmated Sandpiper over at Coalhouse Fort.

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So two year ticks and i equalled the most species of bird seen in one day but strangely there were a couple that i would have expected to been at Rainham but i didnt pick up today; namely Greylag and Stonechat

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Thames Chase

After dropping the wife and eldest daughter at her Ballet classes i headed over to Thames Chase with youngest daughter and number one son; not for birding just purley to go on the swings and climbing frame. They thoroughly enjoyed it and while standing in the play enclosure i had great views of initally a Kestrel perched at the top of one nearby tree.

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After this flew a Yellowhammer shortly took its place; Blue & Great Tits along with Robin, Dunnock & Chaffinch all flitted here and there. Pied Wagtail x2 around the visitors center.

Later that afternoon after picking up the eldest she too wanted the swings so while the others were at home the two of us headed over there.

Being slightly older i managed to get her over to the scrape where we saw a Grey Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail. The Grey Wagtail going on my 2012 year list and also going on the daughters life list; takes her up to 68.

courtesy of wikipedia
No Snipe or Green Sandpiper. She then supprised me after spending a lot of time on the swings saying she wanted to go for a walk again; so we headed off into the eldest part of the wood and took a circuit. Redwing, Green Woodpecker and Siskin being the highlights; Siskin another life tick for her.

Two great little trips out on a beautuful day.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Quick Thames Chase Recce

With a bit of spare time this afternoon i took a stop at Thames Chase off of Pike Lane, Upmister. It looks like a good place i can get over and do some birding while taking the kids, lots of open space for them to play along with a childrens play area by the tea rooms as well as a wooden play building to climb all over, in and out down on the way to the scrape.

The scrape held nothing other than a Pied Wagtail. No sign of the Green Sandpiper or Snipe. A couple of Black Headed Gulls over.

Goldfinch in the trees by the bridge leading over to the golf course. Seeing the guys there teeing off, made me want to dig the clubs out, first time since cancelling my membership over at Warley Park some 5 years ago.

I was only on a recce so i wasnt hanging around or paying to much attention but i could hear plenty of Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit. I cut over one of the styles on the way back to the car park and flushed Stock Dove x2 and a Green Woodpecker a little later.

Back at the car park and there was now a large mini bus / people carrier with "private higher" stickers in the window. Now personally i dont know anybody who has one of these and would be over Thames Chase but i know of somebody.

A quick PM via twitter and confirmation that Rob "The Upminster Birder" Burgess was here. I popped over and spent some time chatting with him. Skylark while we were talking and Rob had pictures of a Peregrine that he had seen high earlier.

Nice to finally meet you Rob if you read this.

Then back to the car and the office.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Scaup De Railed

I managed finally to get over to Stubbers OPC at lunchtime in search of the Scaup. I spent just under an hour viewing the lake opposite the reception kiosk but it wasnt to be.

However i did manage to get a Water Rail on the bank, all though not the best views due to distance it was by far the longest time i have managed on this species so far. This takes me to 97 for the 2012 list which is now 21 ahead of this time last year.

courtesy of

Other birds seen: Black Headed Gull, Common Gull, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Pheasant

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Lakeside to Vue Sisken

The other week when David Darrell-Lambert took me to West Thurrock Marshes he asked me what birds i thought i should have seen by now in my short time birding; the answer was easy - Siskin.

So whilst in Chafford seeing a client i was pleased when i received a text from him advising that he had heard them in the Ash trees by the Vue cinema. However i was still in my meeting when the text had originally arrived. Instead of cutting straight back through Ockendon to Brentwood i popped to the car park in question.

Good News! 14 birds were in the advised Ash Trees. Another bird off the 2012 Most Wanted list

Thanks Dave!

courtesy of wikipedia

Life List now 160

Friday, 10 February 2012

Tylers Wood & Jermains Wood

I extended the walk at Tylers Common & Wood today and took the bridal path along side the M25 running into Jermaines Wood.

Initally though i took the usual route heading down the side of the left wood towards the brook, numerous Great & Blue Tits, a few Dunnock, Blackbird & Robin. A small group of Fieldfare x8 flew towards the right wood. At the bottom a Kestrel hovered over the trees by the brook.

Heading onto the common Fieldfare and Redwing became more numerous with a group of c80 Fieldfare heading over to the lower paddock.

Not much else on the Common side apart from the usual so i decided to head up to Jermaines Wood for the first time.

A patch first came in the form of Teal x3 in the small pool at the exit to the brook from where it comes out from under the M25; i need to look at this little area more often in looks quite good for something else; probably a shopping trolly possibly a push bike.

Into the wood  and the dead / stroke dying Ash Trees showed Woodpecker activity, nest holes, general drumming etc but loads of it. Essex County Council have placed notices on the path entrances to the wood that as from 2012 they will be conducting a large amount of selected thinning, primarily focusing on the dead / dying Ash trees in section 8a & 8c (theres a little pictomap) which is most of them. The reason being; for the safety of the people using the wood. Strangely most of these, to be thinned, trees arn't even near the pathways. But no Woodpeckers but a couple of Kestrel calling to each other.

Will be going back to Jermaines and heading further down the Bridal Way

Snow Redwing or Fieldfare at Warley

I managed to get over to Warley Place this morning at 8.45am. Ideally i was hoping to get a year tick with Firecrests and a patch tick with a Fieldfare.

However after the last couple of days seeing them everywhere you looked in and around Hornchurch / Emmerson Park / Haynes Park (i sat in the car yesterday at 3pm next to a berry covered bush a pavements width away watching c35 Feildfare just before picking the kids up) i failed to see one Redwing or Fieldfare at Warley with only a handfull on the way through Harold Wood.

The biggest mixed group we had in the garden was about c200 birds yesterday and my dad had c60 Redwing in his garden in Harold Wood.

As for Warley today, none.

It turned out to be a mini raptor patch ticking day with Buzzard over the car park heading in a Folkes Wood direction mobbed all the way by Carrion Crow x3 and Magpie x2.

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Numerous mixed Tits and Nuthatch x2 in the car park as well.

The first pond didnt hold much, the water was frozen as expected but the feeders were not being used and the Moorhen's usually to be found here were not to be seen.

By the slope over looking the 2nd pond a Sparrow Hawk chased a male Blackbird but it gave up rather quickly.

Both Raptors being patch ticks for Warley taking the list to 33

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Office List Increases

Redwing from the office car park this morning heading from over the housing estate to the fields and woods - office list now on 30

Gardens List Increases Again

This take this list to 40 - Fieldfare x6 at the top of the big Oak at the end of the garden.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cely Woods

After West Thurrock Marshes i stopped of at Cely Woods on the way home for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers; noy joy there after an hour and twenty minutest:

Birds Seen: Great Spotted Woodpecker x9, Green Woodpecker x4, Redwing x3, Fieldfare x4, Mistle Thrush x1, Kestrel x1, Blackbird x3, Magpie x2, Carrion Crow x3, Woodpigeon x6, Blue Tit x3, Great Tit x2, Black Headed Gull x3, Mute Swan x1, Cormorant x1, Robin x2, Lapwing x6, Dunnock x2

West Thurrock Marshes

I spent a couple of hours over at West Thurrock Marsh this afternoon with David Darrell-Lambert; a first visit for me with David showing me how to get there.

Good numbers of Dunlin c3000; Black Tailed Godwit c170; Bar Tailed Godwit x3; Redshank c110; Grey Plover x6; Oystercatcher x6; Lapwing c100; Snipe x23; Golden Plover x1

No Jack Snipe today but other birds seen Black Headed Gull; Linet; Great Black Backed Gull, Cormorant, Curlew, Reed Bunting

The Reed Bunting and Bar Tailed Godwit being 2012 year ticks.

courtesy of

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