Sunday, 27 January 2013


Well, its finally happened; existing business, further exams and training in existing buisness, new start up venture, family commitments, a house refurbishment & birding.
Too much to do and cannot fit it all in, so no trip out for me again - @IndoorsTooMuch
The highlight of the weekend was the RSPB Garden Birdwatch where with the kids help we had our best go yet. This is year 4 for the BGBW.
The best bits being when the neighbour through out the left overs of her Sunday roast, which tempted the 50 odd mixed Black Headed & Common gulls off the park grasslands and over into their garden, luckily as they tore strips out of each other heading up, they dropped it on my lawn, shortly followed by all of them: we counted 42 BHG and 11 Common.
As well as this we had not one but two Great Spotted Woodpeckers both on the same tree and also checking out our Woodpecker nest box put up two winters ago which has now been used each spring since by Starlings, may be this year, fingers crossed; how cool would that be - breeding Great Spots in your garden.
Another couple of crackers were 2x Coal Tit - they pretty regular in the garden but they break up the tit flocks.
No sign of the Goldcrest this weekend, been around for a while now and when it counts it couldnt be bothered to show! However our Song Thrush has hung around and was digging about under the left nearside firs.
The Stock Doves made and appearance but were limited to 2 rather than the usual 3 and Woodpigeon numbers were down, We normally can count at least 10-15 on a regular basis but today was 7.
Collard Doves were seen along with the rest of the usuals but weirldy no Dunnock and i havnt seen them in the morning now for over a week, normally a daily norm under the feeders, Chaffinch also didnt show.
My favorite of the day not for the BGBW but for my garden list was a fly over Cormorant taking the list to 50 along with about 10 Canada Geese making there way Rapheals Park direction.

Monday, 14 January 2013


Thanks to the Ingrebourne drums i found myself standing in a new pair of boots, now covered in mud, no coat and freezing along with that now the snow was rain so i was getting wet with it, looking through the Berwick fishery fencing at a drake Smew.

As birds go this has to be one of my favourites  i was lucky when i arrived as it was in the corner i was viewing from and slowly drifted towards the hut but also more to the middle.

I got to see most of its markings including the darker tail feathers. With more imagination than you can muster its in the picture below.

 So that's 99 for the Valley, what's going to be bird 100 - Goosander, Black Tailed Godwit or Bittern? I'd settle with a Siskin

Saturday, 5 January 2013

and so it begins: Valley 2013

I finally managed a trip over the patch this morning to get things started for 2013. It was going to be hard for me to catch DMo who as most will know bagged 60 species earlier this week.
The most i have had in one day over there being 53 on two occaisions: June & July last year.
I arrived at 7.45am with it still being dark, i wanted as much time as i could get. I took a wonder down to the double gates and back, although i could hear Robin, Blackbird, Great & Blue Tit i couldnt see anything.
As the light started to improve i started my assult on the year list, slowly working my along the flood area; i so wanted a Snipe today, conditions were good, reports had been in and last year Snipe caused me all sorts of bother. The usual Moorhen wondered about along the river and flood, i could hear Cettis Warbler x2 and Canada Geese over by the viewing area.
A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew across the flood, the first of these, x6 for the day in all.
With no snipe on the flood that i could see i moved on to the first viewing area.....Snipe x1 and now very pleased. Teal "plipped" away from most areas.
I cut back along the paths through the grass area away from the marsh now heading for Tit Lake. I heard a rather frantic sounding Goldcrest and sure enough there were two having it out; the first time i have ever seen two Goldcrests at once. I watched for a while as they carried on before heading further into the woods, still arguing as they went. Obviously a Pair?
Long Tailed Tits x9 before heading through the path before the Tit Lake bend cutting off Garden Warbler corner. Song Thrush x3 singing which by the end of the morning totalled 7.
Tit Lake held the usual, Canada & Greylag Geese, Tufted Duck, Coot, Black Headed Gull & Mallard.
My new nemisis over the Valley is now Siskin, so i headed down to the small pond by the parks compound for these and Waxwing.
No luck on either count but the small pond had a pair of Reed Bunting and they didnt care that a dog dived right in.
I decided to head up the hill but on the way i cut through the field as its waterlogged and grassy; probably delusional but i thought a Jack Snipe may be hidden away.
The hill ticked off Pheasant and Sparrowhawk.
Time for Berwick via the Iron Bridge, stopping here looking for Redpoll i came across a Little Egret and a Cettis Warbler in full view.

I viewed the lake via the Lower Paddock for Little Grebe, never failed yet, failed...but i did find a lone male Shoveller and lone male Gadwall
Slip sliding my way up the bike track to Abbey Wood accomplished nothing other than and near broken ankle so i moved onto the fishery, a fly by Bittern? no just a showy showy Mute Swan and Great Crested Grebe.

Surprisingly i had some big wholes in the list but was hopeful that the Glades would tick these; only two got marked off - Fieldfare & Kestrel
Stock Doves a plenty in the ploughed field next to the top paddock but where were the Buzzards? aah the next field, here the lighter of the two recently sighted Buzzards was perched at the back.
Jackdaw c50 in the field just before entering the woods and nothing else.

Did i have a good morning? I ticked 51 so not quite my best but i was really pleased. Snipe and Buzzard were good for me to get early and i still had a few wholes in that list: No Redwing, House Sparrow, Littel Grebe, Wigeon, Common Gull, Bullfinch, Water Rail

Hopefully this year i can keep the gap a little smaller between me and the rest of the Ingrebourne Birders

Friday, 4 January 2013


I still havnt been out this year but did managed to get x25 Waxwing by the Upminster Trading Park, Great Warley Street this afternoon.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Day

All plans to be up an about early this morning were scuppered two days ago by a nasty sickness bug; feeling rather exausted today i managed to get out of bed for the first time.
New year lisiting would have to start in the Garden.
And start it did; Robin (no.1) quickly followed by Blackbird, Great Tit and Blue Tit. Woodpigeon and Collard Dove dropped in on the ground seed.
Magpies come in for the Meal Worm that i through out and yet more Blackbird on the crushed apples.
Over the park the morning gulls took flight, Black Headed, Common & Herring (no.10).
Carrion Crow in next doors oak along with Greenfinch, Goldfinch on their feeders and Chaffinch under them.
Two Dunnock dived from the left to right side of the garden and House Sparrows came in slowly  but eventually numbering 16.
Longing for the Goldcrest to show, i saw movement in one of its usual haunts; thats when Mrs B thought i was about to throw up again as i moved quicker than i had done for three days, grabbing the optics from the shelf a female Blackcap. A first for the garden - now at 49.
Shortly after the Goldcrest showed well doing a couple of circuits, up the right edge, fir, spruce, fir, skip over to the back firs and down the holly on the left eventually showing two foot from the kitchen window.

Very Quick iPhone Picture of the Goldcrest
Finally the regular Great Spotted Woodpecker called from the oaks and flew over the park with another showing in the Scotts Pines towering tall over the road.

19 in all