Friday, 29 March 2013

Mucking Cold

On Thursday i was given a pass for a bit so headed for Mucking, the timing was a little out as the tide was coming in and had gone past the hide and was filling the little enclosed area next to Mucking Creek.
The last remaining mud was being swallowed up pretty quickly and slowly but surley the birds came in.
First on the scene were large numbers of Curlew, Blackwits & Avocet. Of each species it was the largest gathering of each i have seen so far and when the Blackwits & Avocet decided to take flight it was an awsome sight.
My attention was drawn to the Thames as a large container vessel slid on by; im glad it did as this then got me focussed on X2 Common Scoter. They floated for a bit and then took flight heading up river.
Back on the last remaining bits of mud, space was now at a premium, Teal, Pintail, Mallard joined the waders which now also showed Grey Plover, Dunlin & Turnstone.
By now i had no feeling in my feet so i headed in for a coffee and cheese and onion toastie, a rather flat looking toastie i must admit but it certainly hit the spot.
Now the average height of a man is 5ft 9. Im 5ft 11, so who decided to put windows in that centre that has joining window frames between the small lower ones and larger top ones at pretty much the exact height the average man needs to see out of the windows when sitting down for a cuppa? The frame join being so thick that anyone from 5ft 6 to 6ft 1 would have the same problem.
In fact an over heard conversation from the elderly couple at the next table went as follows when i slid down in my chair and viewed the bay. "ooo whats he looking at (she said) no idea, i cant see out of the window (he said)"
My only grumble from what has to be an amazing site and center and i didnt even go on the roof.
I headed off for a wander round the rest of the reserve and it was a great stroll. the highlight being a Short Eared Owl and a large Linnet flock.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

it was going to happen just a matter of when.....

A reason for an almost trip to Dungeness yesterday was to view my first Glaucous Gull, so when Bird Guides announced one had been seen again today at West Canvey Marsh i took a trip over there.
So far i have been really fortunate with my "twitches" to specific birds, ive managed to connect with all, so today was going to happen it was just a matter of time. I dipped it!
I froze regions i never new existed for an hour and half before heading back.
Green Sanpiper, Oytercatcher x2, Black Tailed Godwit x2 & Mediterranean Gull x2 on show to pass the time.


Monday, 25 March 2013

Ferry Lane & Ingrebourne

The idea was for my first visit to Dungeness this morning, never happened; too cold.
So i hit Ferry Lane, Rainham in search of Wheatears, after arriving i soon spotted the Male Black Redstart in its now familiar spot on the river. Moving further along i found a female, then x2 Wheatear and lastly a Common Sandpiper.
Shorlty after a rather cold looking pair of individuals in the form of Dave & Russ who were watching a second female Blackstart.
Moving onto Ingrebourne in search of this years nemisis there (well not just this year, every year!), Siskin.........still my neminis! However down by the Iron Brige some great views of a Kingfisher on the scrape side along with a Water Rail.
Kingfisher being a new one for the Valley 2013 list, still not hit 60 yet, pretty awful really but if your @indoorstoomuch then thats what will happen....nothing.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Rainham High Tide

After Bramfield i managed to be at Aveley Bay just as the last 20 foot of mud was slowly disapearing under the Thames. Lots of waders and duck all being pushed into a bigger huddle before they started taking flight with most going over my shoulder and into the reserve.
The Aveley Bay Mud count....
Easily c250+ Golden Plover: c300+ Dunlin: c25+ Redshank: 1 Curlew: 1 Rock Pipit: 6 Snipe
After a wander around the reserve picking up the mentioned birds as i went (along with large numbers of Snipe that seemed t be everywhere) i finally, about half way bewteen MDZ and Purfleet Scrape hide came across 4 Grey Plover as well.

Bird 190 - Hawfinch at Bramfield

I was chatting at with Martin at the last birders drinks and he mentioned he had popped over to Bramfield for Hawfinch's.
A bird i havnt seen before and pretty local. As such yesterday i made my way over arriving at the the site to find a couple of others milling around with no sign. They had just been chatting with another guy who had been there for the previous hour with no sighting who had just left.
The three of us took a little walk up the road to view some larger trees further up, nothing. This is where we parted ways as i headed back to the church. Heeding the advice of Shaun that they would come back as they have done time and time again.
BAM, as soon as arrived at the church up in the first large tree (Hornbeam, i think) x3 Hawfinch. What stunners and a great bird to tick off for number 190 on the life list.
courtesy of - an actual Bramfield Hawfinch
They took flight, circled off and returned then took off and not to be seen again whilst i was there until 12ish.

Bramfield seems a delightful village with this little church and thatched cottage houses.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mute Swan - Ring History

Prior to the visit over at Rainham Saturday afternoon, i had been on a little stroll from Albyns Farm to the iron bridge and back with No1 son over the Ingrebourne.
I must admit to enjoying it seeing as i have only been twice this year and had my best and longest views of not one but two Cettis Warbler just after the bridge. Both birds in view at one time; A male singing his heart out possibly on the impress with another bird who remained silent at all times. Must have watched them for 10 minutes dart about in the edging, most of the time on full show with no obstructions.
As well as this, a few year ticks for the Valley taking my total up from super pathetic to very pathetic and a Mute Swan that decided to take a casual swim under the bridge and in doing so i could make out the rings on its legs and after reference to the BTO site it turns out this bird was 1 of 107 Mute Swans rung over at Harrow Lodge Park earlier in the year. My sighting was only the second bird reported from this bunch and the 3rd of this particular one. The other bird reported was over at the Mighty Mayesbrook......Paul??
It hasnt gone to far in 50 odd days...

Sunday, 10 March 2013

are you fracking kidding me....

was almost what i had said.

I had checked the news services and Black Necked Grebes had been seen over Rainham. This would have been a life tick and as im not getting out i need them whenever i can at the minute..Mrs B said that i could go Sunday afternoon if they come up, we shall see.
shortly before i had got home, i was excited i had bought a new digi scope attachement earlier in the year and not been out to use it yet and this afternoon had been its test run, it looks promising but not being used to it the photos are out of focus and with it being dull afternoon this made it worse. So although the following photos will be pretty naff they are better than previous ones so its a step in the right direction.
So why had the Black Neck Grebe's at Rainham given me the hump....before finishing my day i was standing on Serin Mound roughly at the time the news cam and hadn't checked any news feed while out. Litte Grebe "whinnied" away in the creeks below, while Shelduck, Shoveller & Teal took advantage of the pools in the fields. Mixed Gulls and a couple of Kestrel.
Upon walking to Serin Mound as i came round the bend the usual Linnet where on the fence, probably c25 with Skylark singing from the grassy hill leading up to the new viewing area. Wren, Goldfinch & Greenfinch down the path edge in the marsh.


After i had got out of the car i had looked at Aveley bay before heading off to Serin, a single Curlew.

Rewinding further and i was at the Stone Barges, Oystercatcher, and what i think is a Water Pipit?

Is this a Water Pipit, i have seen them but couldnt tell on this bird as it was fairly distance and pretty dull?

Others seen at the Barges covered most of the usual but with a singing Chiffchaff in the shrubs boardering the car park.


The first stop i had made was over at Ferry Lane to see the Black Redstart again; i found the male in the waste ground opposite the sea wall..alonhg with the first singing Chiffchaff of the day also in the waste ground, to the left in the shrubs along the buildings.