Saturday, 28 April 2012

Ingrebourne V to China T

There was a break in the clouds on Friday afternoon, rather a break in the rain, the clouds were still there; so i made a dash for the Valley. Weather wise i did really well, one short heavy down pour but other than that it remained dry.

With all the rain, as im sure most will already know, the water levels are high and still rising. The river has now flooded and from the little black bridge, its certainly the highest i've seen it in my short time of birding. Has the bridge ever become inpassable?

My route today was from Hornchurch car park to Heronry via the viewing area, back with a few detours into the woods and then over the bridge. Along the top edge of the lower paddock to the fields, up to the little bridge by the fields footpath and along the top paddock. Then back down to the car park along the main path.

A lot of activity with all the usual suspects including a first for the year, Reed Warbler. A couple of Red Legged Partridge in the fields.

Next stop China (town), a few beers in All Bar One Leicester Sqaure and onto a hidden in open view gem: Youuns. From the front a small red door, a little window with duck ect all hanging up, looks ropey as you can imagine. Inside it opens up to a few tables that are pretty much always full. Then if you get taken upstairs on down stairs the place is huge and the food is amazing. Hors D'oeuvres & one Crispy Aromatic Duck follwed by Sweet n Sour Fish, Chicken in Black Been n Chilli, Crispy Shredded Beef, Sliced Panga with garlic, glazed Pork slices, Pork with chilli n ginger (strange combo but it works), Eel with Black Bean and Pepper, Chicken in Yellow bean sauce along with god knows how many bowls of  rice and noodles all washed down with a rather large amount of Tiger and Tsingtao

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Ingrebourne Valley - Good Start, Red Start, Oh Well

I had made my decision; i was going to spend more time over at Ingrebourne Valley, the more i go the more i enjoy it as i find the little pathways here and there that you dont see if youve only been a few times.

This morning got off to a good start over there with the possibility of a patch tick, a Ring Ouzel. It would have been only the second of these i have seen after the female that hung about up by Aveley Bay last year.

Lots of Whitehtroat both seen and heard, Sedge Warbler but heard only along with Reed Bunting all maes around the viewing area. Singing male Cettis Warbler were blasting out their tune and i counted four between the Hornchurch car park and the viewing area. Song Thrush were in fine voice again with five in the same area.

I could hear Willow Warbler over to the woods but didnt see any, my first record of these this year.

Blackcap, more Song Thrush, Whitethroat as i headed now towards the heronry in search of the Redstart that had just been seen; this would be a life tick so it became my obsession for pretty much the remainder of my time there and you guessed it, i didnt find it or the Bullfinches that had just been seen around the heronry - oh well.

I walked on towards the pond and the hill, i new the Ouzel had flown but i have never been up that far; Skylarks evrywhere, the song was superb

It was a good morning over there, a good few birders, dog walkers all seemed chatty this morning and the ones i came accross were all in control of their pets, i even had two non dog walking individuals stop me to tell they had seen a Skyklark and a Chaffinch

Oh and Swallow x5 as well

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Rainham Marshes - Summer Migrants

Apparently "one Swallow does not make a summer".......So i presume then Swallows, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler & Wheatears is a step in the right direction.

By 8.30am i was over at RSPB Rainham Marshes car park and heading along the Thames towards Aveley Bay and Serin Mound; the tide was in and not much was about along the river, a few Teal and Mallard dotted about with the odd Reed Bunting darting here and there.

However a single Swallow came along the bank, low and on to the bay; my first of the year. Last year i saw my first on the 13th April, today being 15th.

As i got to Serin Mound i heard the unmistakable scratching of a Whitethroat, it was sitting high on the bushes just before the Gorse. Then another a little further in. To my left a Wheatear flew over the mound and down towards the field; a couple on the ground there rather than on the pathway area by the bay where i was hoping to catch them.

Last year; my first Wheatear at Rainham was 22nd April and the first Whitethroat of 2011 was 15th April.

courtesy of my dad

Into the reserve and i headed round via the Marshland Discovery Centre, with Redshank x4. I managed Sedge Warbler x2 (2011's first Sedge was 22nd April) but heard a couple more along with hearing Cettis Warbler x3 and another Whitethroat.

The drake Garganey was resting on the right hand edging of Aveley Flash but viewable from both jetties. Binoculars from the first jetty from Butts Hide. Two Avocet and a single Redshank.

Chiffchaff, Blackcap along with the more common in the woodland; 53 species in total.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Elveden - Centre Parcs

Just got back from Easter bank holiday at Centre Parcs, left Friday morning and am now exausted after a non stop four days. It was great fun and although i had been before i was 19 and now being 41 its changed and as such the activities we were involved in had changed too; pony trekking, easter egg decorating, roller skating; a kids based few days.

However the pony trekking was over by the Country Club and as such i took my binoculars as the hide is there to. After both the ponies had all been fed, patted, photographed and ridden the other half and kids went in the Forresters Inn for a drink and play in the activity centre; i took my leave and headed off.

What a great little hide; situated on the edge of a large pit which slopes away from you the deepest section is probably 30 foot lower providing great views from all angles. The ranger had placed numerous feeding stations up with mixed seed, niger etc and the whole place was busy, very busy.

Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch all over the place. Blackcaps viewable from both sides, males happily singing away. Male Pheasant, Great Spotted and Green Woodpecker.

A lot of Siskin coming regularly to the feeders close to the hide which gave me my best views of this bird.

One dodgy little iphone photo.

At the back if the pit i managed to find three Willow / Marsh Tits; no idea on what, i probably at the moment couldnt tell the difference if they were a foot away without hearing them. Luckily one did land to the right of the hide, fly to a frow to the near hide feeders and then call...Marsh Tit; a life tick.

At the back i caught a few male Chaffinches and then two male Brambling both in non breeeding plumage followed by a female, another life tick. A male Bullfinch as well. Loads of Jackdaw soon scattered by two Muntjac deer.

As well, i got my longest views of a Lesser Redpoll and could spend some time looking at it properly; hopefully the time on this bird will help if i ever come accross a Mealy.

All this in 20 minutes; other birds - Coal Tit, Mallard, Great Crested Grebe, Rook, Carrion Crow, Coot, Moorhen, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Canada Goose, Chiffchaff, Collard Dove, Dunnock, Wren, Greylag, Jay, Kestrel, Long Tailed Tit, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Woodpigeon and 19 unringed, not winged clipped and according to staff free to come and go as they please Barnacle Geese.