Saturday, 29 December 2012

Garden Digiscoping

More digi scoping practice with some pretty horific results, i was pleased with this as it was about 50ft away and has just landed, it was a find target and shoot type of shot.

Although i did take about 180 and only got this one :) keep trying i spose

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Is it me......

or does the area around the Stone Barges smell of burnt Peanut Butter at the minute?
I spent about an hour and half this morning looking for the recently sighted Bittern over at the Members Only, No Public Access fishery at Ingrebourne but no joy.
(I have just been informed that i loose things, ie the last half hour has just been spent looking for a car key, she, being Mrs B, has looked everywhere, my coats, my jeans, my everything. After the "well what have you done with them" speach and just as she was about to launch into "this is ridiculous......" we located them; where? and you know whats coming...her coat)
Then this afternoon i decided to go to the Stone Barges for a brief spell of Digi Scoping. This is only the second time i have tried this, the first time i was in the back garden; no digiscope attachment yet so this is all just holding the camera up to the scope. As well it was getting a little dark but i think they are not to bad. 41 shots taken withthis little lot being the best.

Then finally popping over to Rainham for an hour and seeing the Snow Goose

updated - Rainham Blog now saying a Ross's Goose

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The best i could do - oh i need a camera!

I tried digiscoping it, too close. The old compact is not doing so well these days but im glad i went

The Queen Mum, Buffy and all via Hell

A London first apparently; it would also be a first on every list for me; subject to getting there in one piece.
Hell took its alternate name today, it called its self the M25. Tailbacks and crashes pretty much all the way round, the most favourable route seemed to be via the major crash at the Dartford Tunnel. The tunnell anti clockwise was shut and the queues were imense, i certainly wouldnt have wanted to be in that pile up, it was awful, i hope all are alive, it looked that bad.
It put things in a bit of perspective really, there i am on a jounrey to look at a bird when some of those families Christmas and maybe lives have just been ruined.
Should i have tunred back knowing what the rest of the journey was to be like, oh yes....did i? no, today i was a twicher, a low low lister but a twitcher.
Three tailbacks, crashes later and i had safely negotiated my through Hell and was in the safe surroundings of the Queen Mum.
I paid my £2 and was given my day ticket and directions
Within 10 minutes i was peering over the reservoir edge with about 10 others looking directly at a very obliging Buff  Bellied Pipit.
Note to Self: do not buy a house near a major airport - they were streaming in!
On the way round i found these Goldeneye x4, they are i promise - 2 male 2 female
And lastly a Great Northern Diver which also can go on every list posible
I tried taking some photo's with my dodgy compact and will load the best of a very very very bad bunch later.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Wax off? Ahh Wax on.....

I managed to fit a couple of hours in this after noon starting at the Stone Barges in hope of a Water Pipit, it didnt happen but some good numbers of varying gulls to wade through and an obliging Grey Wagtail.
Shortly after i decided to head for Mucking, just to see what it was like as ive heard good things, bad timing for me as although the Thames hide was empty the tide was way out and still going, i did manage Curlew x20 and a swirling mass of Avocet, after they settled i started a count c315.
Waxwings have been over at the Valley for three days now so i headed on over to Albyns Farm, nobody or no waxwings about so i spent the some time looking and listeneing for that trill.
Just about to give up when i bumped into Dmc who said those words.."you just missed one" but then on a tree to out left it was back and we spent easily half an hour on it, with Dave getting some cracking shots.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Hey, Get out of the car! Bastard!

I managed to get a couple of hours this afternoon and was heading over to the Stone Barges, however i decided that as i hadnt actually been in Rainham RSPB for a while (Bailons being the last time and even then the walk round to Butts was in the dark) it would be something different.
As i was heading up the old A13 news came in for Bewicks Swan x3, 2 adults and 1 juvenile, this was good news, not only a patch first but a life first and 2012, a London first and Essex first...oh the lists......
Upon leaving the center and heading down the ramp it was looking promising, two swans on purfleet scrape. One head later and my attention shifted form the Mutes and was draw to a guy digiscoping at the end of the ramp. Maybe he could help, no he hadnt seen them and at the moment a guy passing us heard the conversation and pointed them out over the far side near the Canada Goose flock.
courtey of

After some good scoped views i headed off to the bus stop in search of Jack Snipe; Snipe x2 but no Jack, a male Stonechat obliged at 5ft on the Reed tops, Black Tailed Godwit x3.
Heading into the Woodland area, the Redwing were in fair numbers with a single Fieldfare and a male singing Cettis Warbler.
Not that i needed a way to recall this however thanks to Bird Watching magazine (lates issue) who have now annoyingly planted "Hey, Get out of the car! Bastard! in my mind. I used to enjoy hearing this song lets hope i can forget the above pretty quickly.
Heading out of the Woodland and a Kingfisher sat neatly on the fence post by the stream on the left, promptly firing off back the way i had come.
I got as far as Barrets hide and decided to head back rather than complete a circuit. Back where the feeders are in the woodland i find my digiscoping gentleman who shows me a great shot of a Great Spotted Woodpecker that had just dropped in.
After a chat it turns out this is my second boozy birder i have come in contact with, Ron Colson aka The Brickfield Birder.
After a wonder back to the center with Ron i left for home with a final Ring Necked Parakeet x9 in the car park.
A really enjoyable couple of hours plus the added benefit of no dogs, i forgot what that was like. I've not been to Rainham as much this year, something to be rectified for 2013.
Ron - Great meeting you and see you again.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Pablo finds another

Information from Pablo Hawkins found me this morning jumping in the car and heading off to Grange Waters, South Ockendon for a supposedly easy first sighting for me of a Long Tailed Duck.

Arriving about 10.15ish i found the gates closed and parked up just outside; taking a wander down to the main center also found this closed. A quick call and directions received i found myself squelching trough a recently ploughed field, walking through a gap in fencing and then pushing my way passed some rather spiky Hawthorn.

Myself and two others @debbiejay and Russ Sherriff found ourselves with the bird on the far side of the waters:

Slowly after about and hour the bird started heading our way, rather aggressively having goes at both Tufted Duck and any Black Headed Gulls that came in its path.

After a little while i took a walk further along and found us all a better vanatage point with the bird now closer to us than the other bank, Russ at the front getting his shots, Debbie with her scope and me ready for home.