Sunday, 25 November 2012

100 Rainham 2012

Spent about 5 minutes over the Valley this morning, the fog and then the rain......
In the afternoon after dropping the family off at varying locations, i rushed over, yet again in the rain, to Rainham to pick up the single Waxwing. The closet views i have had and a new one for the Rainham List taking 2012 to 100
Now to catch up in the valley!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Will they stop?

Saturday morning with No1 son, parking today at the Albyns Farm car park. Fieldfare, Redwing, Pheasant, Great Spotted Woodpecker all before we got to Tit lake.
I was on a Siskin hunt today and had full intentions on spending the morning over the Berwick Side.
Tit Lake was busy, Canada Geese, Cormormant x2, Greylag, Coot, Moorhen, Black Headed Gull x23 and Tufted Duck.
By the time we got to the Lower Paddock he wanted out, so off he went around the Glades, only to find when i took my eyes off a small group off Greenfinch him standing at my side, head skyward with his hands forming an imaginary set of bins.
The rain came in and after chasing him about for a couple of minutes (didnt put to much effort in he was having fun in the rain), i strapped him back in the buggy and we headed off towards Berwick.
Berwick was good although not for Siskin, first i heard one, then another. I edged towards the area it had come from and sure enough, pottering around the margins a Water Rail. Shortly spooked by No1 son shouting "duck, quack quack".
The Valley just keeps giving up the goods for me of late - when will it stop?
courtesy of
Also had a group of 9 waders fly in to the main flood field by the small pond, unfortunatley in my excitement i missed getting a good look and identifibale features and then lost to the vegetation.

Smallish sized, light underneath, light to mid brown on top, downturned bill. Suggestions of Dunlin came in after a quick text out and after a wade through the Colins, they do seem most likely to fit what i saw. Shame really as if it were Dunlin that would have been another for my patch list.

The Valley list creeps closer to the 100 for both life and 2012.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Saturday again...over the Valley however this time my dad tagged along with Me and No.1 son. Raining, not hard; but enough to make it unpleasant.
Dad's only been over the Ingrebourne once before and by the sounds of it went over the iron bridge to the top paddock and back.
We went first to the small stream behind the play for the last few months i've been looking for Kingfisher and Snipe, even at the birders beer the other Friday i was saying to Dick i was after Kingfisher - nothing, not even heard one.
So explaining to Dad, this areas good, its had Water Rail, Grey Wagtail, Kingfisher....whats that he asks as a bird darted towards us and landed on the first main tree over hanging the stream.....noooooo, Kingfisher and not only can you see it clearly, its still. The best views i've ever had before it vanished off back the way it came.
A Valley first and a 2012 first as well.
courtesy of
We headed on along to the main marsh not thinking we were going to get far as the rain seemed to be coming down harder: Cettis Warbler, Mixed Tits, Moorhens, Shoveller, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret.
The lower paddock seemed empty compared to last time, no Fieldfare only one Redwing, a few Chaffinch, Goldfinch & Greenfinch.  A Robin and Dunnock.
Heading back down now to the Iron Bridge and it turns out Dads not seen a Goldcrest, so we set about checking all the tit flocks as they flitted about. The first group were just mixed tit however the second group i hear the call, we tracked the bird in the bushes for a bit before it flew accross the path and into the other side - to far. A minute later and we could see it, not great but Dad got his tick.
We hung around and finally it flew to our side of the hedgerow and we were within 5 feet - great views!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Hardy's Green

I've only seen one Shrike - a Woodchat Shrike at the Retendon round about near Wickford, Runwell Road and this was back in April 2011, apparently eaten by a Sparrowhawk the follwoing day.
I've had a go at seeing more, dont get me wrong, ive not chased around the country at every report but i have been to Vange Marsh for a Red Backed Shrike, Fingringhoe Wick for a Great Grey Shrike and also Salcot Cum Virley for the same.
Today i finally managed to connect with the Great Grey Shrike showing at Hardy's Green, Colchester.
It was favouring the same spot it had been all week, just down the road past the Big Red Barn.
First hedgrow on the same side as the barn, then viewing to the bottom of it by the telegraph wires and poles.
right of the hedgerow

left of the hedgerow
I initially caught it in flight dropping down into the planted field above, staying down for a few minutes before returning back to the hedgerow, shortly after it flew to the wires to the right of the hedgerow and then further towards the road again on the wires before returning to the the hedgerow.
A good bird to see finally - Red Backed next

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Abbertick tick tick tick tick tick

It was not the intention to be going Abberton, although after realising how close it was to where i was dropping the wife and kids off this morning i thought it would be rude not to.
Firstly i went to the Layer Breton Causeway and arrived shortly after 11am, i had heard about the Bittern here and after a few initial scans nothing was on show apart from Shoveller, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Eyptian Goose, Coot along with Pintail x4 and Snipe x2.
Within a few minutes Mr Rob hornchurch fc Burgess arrived after photographing the Desert Wheatear over at the EWT center; apparently showing well.
Shorlty after arriving he shows me a Red Crested Pochard, life tick no1, and right under my nose then he calls a Bittern flying from the right hand reeds to the far bank, catching this in flight and entering the reeds it becomes life tick no2 for the day.
courtesy of
Deciding to head to the reserve to get a 2012 Desert Wheatear tick (managed to see one of these at Titchwell last year) i left him at the causeway.
The bird had been seen while Rob was here earlier in the car park, i wasnt so lucky, although viewable i was informed it had flown to the edging of the reservoir and was scope views. Slip sliding my way down, i found yet another local, Mr Russ Sherriff already here. He kindly directed me onto the bird and i got views for the 3rd tick of the day.
Then news of a Whooper Swan came in from one of the hides, how cool, this would be life tick no.3 for the day. After reaching the hide, three swans could be seen, all head down. After what seemed like an eternity slowly they started a little tidy up, Mute x2 & Whooper x1.
Also to be seen from the hide were Black Tailed Godwit x4, lots of Lapwing, Dunlin & Lesser Black Backed. 
Tick No5 came for a 2012 year bird; Goldeneye x2 male birds drifted infront of the swans.
courtesy of wikipedia
My luck didnt hold all day though, i missed out on the Stonechats from the visitors center, but i cant grumble at a great day at Abertick.
Heading back to pick the family up things got even better as i passed through the Easthorpe area; firstly i came accross Red Legged Partridge x4,  then a Kestrel tucking into a recent kill a Common Pheasant finally in a field just through Easthorpe what i intially thought were two Pheasants, then Red Legged Partridge, then enough to make me stop and get the gear out the boot along with the Collins - Grey Partridge x2. Life tick No4.
Great day - 45 species in total - 4 lifes and 2 years :)