Sunday, 29 July 2012

Ingrebourne Valley - Sparrowhawk

I got over to the Valley later than normal yesterday, about 10.15 and was supprised to see that it was extremely quiet; one other car in the car park, only a couple of dog walkers around the play area.

Not only that, there was little or no sound all the way to the viewing areas where a small group of about 10 Black Headed Gulls broke the silence. Reed Warbler and Reed Bunting also to be seen along with two singing Cettis Warbler.

On to the Top paddock via the Berwick Glades; Willow Warbler, Linnet and a lot of Greenwoodpecker, it was about now when Shaun tweeted to advise on a patch MEGA at the Hacton Lane end, he had just heard a COAL TIT singing. With no.1 son in tow i decided i would make a casual walk back.

Going over the iron bridge an abliging Sparrowhawk flew over head and in the area for a good few minutes before heading off towards the viewing areas.

courtesy of wikipedia
I ended up though over at Tit Lake with not much else to show for it, Mixed Tits (not Coal), Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Canada & Greylag Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Blackbird, Song Thrush.

I did manage to add two to the Butterfly list; Ringlet and Gatekeeper.

courtesy of wikipedia

coutesy of

Friday, 27 July 2012

Rainham Marshes - Whimbrel

Finally and with thanks to a computor virus that has over the last couple of days been chewing its way through my hard drive i got out; recovery disks in and a good few hours install, i managed to get over to Rainham for a bit.

Bird wise not a lot within the reserve; although earlier, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Green Sandpiper and Snipe x3 all seen from Purfleet Scrape. About five or six had gathered and looking but nothing in sight when i arrived.

A brisk walk along to Butts Hide and my ever increasing interest in the butterflies and moths resulted in my first Marbled White

courtesy of

Followed quickly by a Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell
Heading out of the reserve and over to Aveley Bay i was on the look out for Yellow Legged Gulls and Whimbrel both of which i havnt had this year. Not overly confident with the Yellow Legged Gull due to ID but they have been in the bay quite a bit of late.

In the bay were plenty of gulls a lot of Black Headed. No Meds amongst them. Lots of younger gulls and i managed to ID Herring, Lesser Black Backed & Great Black Backed; I did go over them time and time again but couldnt see any Yellow Legged, although thats not to say i didnt miss them.

Then from the back of the bay a Whimbrel took flight and headed to the other side of the Thames; a 2012 tick.

The only other birds in the bay were Great Crested Grebe & Oystercatchers.

Another Whimbrel on the way back to the center.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Swallowtailed Moth??

Is this a Swallowtailed Moth?? - My guide looks as if they are white/green but the one in my porch area looks more white/yellow.

Any ideas please?
Swallowtailed Moth - ??

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Ingrebourne Valley - Social Pigeon

Over the Valley this morning for 6am; it got off to a good start with a great view of a singing Song Thrush just behind the play area but sadly nothing much else happenned, the usual suspects all the way to Ingrebourne Hill; no raptors to be seen on or around it.

The water levels were abviously high so no waders. Mallard, Mute Swan, Pochard, Grey Heron and Little Egret x2.

view from iron bridge
This is then where i decided that wellies were more appropraite than boots; cutting through on the bike trail, it was pretty flooded and then the new amount of growth was huge so not only a boot full but i was soaked from the rain on the greenery; gave up and came home - short and a disapointing little trip.

Although the car park regular made up for it, initially on the car roof when one of the dog walkers appeared from the path over by the play area. He held out his arms, whistled and it flew straight to him landing on his hat where they both proceeded to walk to his car. Apparently he can walk his dog with it on his head sometimes for about an hour!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Rainham Marshes - Wet Legs & Greenshanks

Purley to increase this years patch list over at Rainham i madly drove over to Aveley Bay for Greenshanks & Whimbrel this morning in what seemed like apocalyptical rain. Visability was dreadful so rather than being able to view from one end to the other of the bay walking to various vantage points was essential.

I couldnt find the Whimbrel but managed to pick up two Greenshank as they flew along the shoreline and only then because of their calls, finally managing to watch them land further up the bay and get on them for a short while.

One things for sure, the top quality waterproof trousers i have are only top quality in normal / heavy rain. Sunday they decided they would give up!

Rainham Marshes 2012 is now at 94

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Rainham Marshes - Wood Sandpipers & Spoonbill

I was kindly invited to the local birders monthly beer last night and finally got to put some faces to the names i have heard over the last 18 months since i started birding. A welcoming and friendly bunch of guys; i had a good evenning and a reasonable head ache this morning. Lets hope my drunken state warrants another invite........

Yesterday Wood Sandpipers x7 were counted over at Rainham Marshes RSPB late afternoon. Hoping they would hang about for today i managed to get over there this morning. After a long wait they didnt materialise, although one had been seen early this morning. Then nothing for the rest of today. A couple of Green Sandpipers on view the whole time proved too much for some and after a while comments started to be floated about how they were Wood Sand; they were not, they were Greens but they happily none the less convinced themselves, ticked and left.

There was an adult Spoonbill to view from the same vantage point off the Northern Boardwalk. This would be my 4th Spoonbill, the first over at Vange, the second up in Titchwell with the last two both being Rainham. Up until now all have been Juv's and in my opinion quiet ugly looking things. This one did slightly change that view, the bill was a lot cleaner looking and the plumes were on show but over all i still think there pretty ugly.

It was also a nice addition to the year list.

couresy of

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Ingrebourne Valley - Curlew

I was fortunate to be given a pass for the morning and headed over the valley arriving at 6.30am. It was relatively clear with a small breeze although a little chilly. I parked in the Hornchurch car park and headed firstly along to the viewing area checking the small area behind the play area as i went.

Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Cettis Warbler, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Blackbird along with a couple of flyover Common Gull before reaching the main viewing point.

Checking the smaller point first nothing of note other than a couple of Shoveller, it did seem very quiet down there. The main view confirmed it; not much at all.

Heading on towards Tit lake and as i approached the junction for the iron bridge a Lesser Whitethroat, the same spot as yesterdays bird; i couldnt see it so headed on. Cormorant x2 flew along side me and banking off towards the houses.

Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers seemed in abundance around the areas as you come down the path off the steep hill.

Wrens, Dunnock and a group of young mixed tits: Great, Blue & Long Tailed. No Coal Tit still but i now understand they are a local rarity along with Nuthatch.

Blackcap as you approach the bends before Tit lake along with a potential Garden Warbler (excluded from my count as i couldnt tell and didnt see it). However a Song Thrush popped up at this point right in front of me; always good to see close up.

Another Lesser Whitethroat, and after a while i gave up looking for Bullfinch at my usual Bullfinch spot.

Turning out of the bends approaching Tit lake i took a look left towards the heronry and got a great supprise, there coming over the trees were Curlew x2. They proceeded pretty much over tit lake banked left and headed towards Ingrebourne Hill no doubt heading Thames bound. A patch first for me and from what i have been told after a great record for the Valley.

courtesy of

Ingrebourne Hill didnt produce too much, a lot of Skylark and singing well.

After a couple of diversions around the hill i headed back down to the iron bridge and caught sight of a Green Sandpiper looking back to the viewing area before viewing the water and reeds from the Lower Paddock; Little Grebe and my now usual spot for seeing close up Reed Warblers failed on me today. However i got a cracking view of a Willow Warbler and for some time as it made its way round a very near tree, easily my best to date.

Nothing along the cut through to Abbey Wood; however a single Cuckoo on one of the dead trees over the far side.

Over at the top paddock, numerous Yellowhammer, Linnet, Skylark and more Willow Warbler in the Berwick Glades just there.

I then headed through the farmers fields to the river and back to the car, the only thing of note there was my one and only Swallow of the few hours out.

53 species in all, a patch first along with being another to add to my valley year list now standing at 81