Monday, 29 July 2013

Bearded Tit Saves The Morning

The plan for today was to be at Aveley Bay for 5.30am to check for waders. I was there for about that however had forgotten to check the tides, as such no mud due to high tide meant no waders.
Rather disappointed i headed to the Stone Barges; they were empty bar a lot of Pigeon - what a waste of an early morning.
So, off to the Valley.

Parking at Albyns farm i took a walk up and around Ingrebourne Hill and again nothing, this was turning out to be a disaster. A "charm" of Goldfinch, probably 35 birds on the hill Lowfield Marsh side was as good as it got......
I decided to check out how the Mute Swan 4ANA was doing. He was doing well, so was the Mrs and the two kids were growing up fast.
Enough was enough, now 7am, i was going home. I then bumped into another local birder, Gary. We had a chat, he had seen one of the recent Bearded Tits but had seen it from the housing side looking onto the fishery. This is a side I rarely go so with nothing better to do I took a spin round to Lake Avenue.

used under the creative commons license - original can be viewed here

It was the longest time I have ever spent looking into to those reeds and surrounding vegetation. Two hours of walking the lake both sides from end to end.

I was just about to head off home for the second time today when I had one last check down past the New Builds; under the rather lethal bramble and just before the fallen tree there is a small view point over the reeds; it was here that after no time a rather perky looking female popped into view, quite frankly it could have possibly heard my rather over excited YES! as it didn't hang around for too long and headed back down and out of sight.

A great bird to see within the Valley and i'm sure will be seen again next year, after all why wouldn't they......


Tuesday, 23 July 2013


So after all the Patch MEGA activity I headed back over the Valley later that evening for one reason, adding that Wigeon to the year list.

I found it on the lake between lower scrape and paddock

2013 = 94

used under the creative commons licence - original by dracobotanicus

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

So when is 200 not 200

when you look at my list......

Last night I was out with Paul looking for the Pectoral Sandpiper over at Rainham Marshes. I'm glad to say after a search for a while we found it (well Paul did) in amongst a couple of Little Ringed Plover, Redshank and Curlew.
After a celebratory woot woot along with modern day high fives I was on 200; it was short lived
A Hobby later also came in lowish as well but disappeared pretty quickly.
In order for today, after last nights chat, was a list clean up; ok its my list but I don't want to be reaching 500 400 300 birds to be told I have 10 dodgy ducks on there; you know what birders are like. :)
used under the creative commons license - original by jac6.flicker
So my clean list total stands at 195 with one bird awaiting acceptance: Slaty-Backed Gull.

Monday, 15 July 2013


I went away for a week and upon arrival I saw news of the Osprey at Abberton Reservoir, with this being a life tick as well I was a little gutted, an Osprey is a bird I wanted to see and pretty much on my doorstep
Although my twitches are getting further afield I'm still either 1. to lazy or 2. not of the mental disposition to think going to Wales (or equivalent distance) for the day is a good idea. However I am being brain washed / shown the light trained, slowly by Messers Harvey, Hawky  & Monkey to put thoughts of distance from my mind and concentrate on the bird in question. Apparently slowly but surely my radius of travel will increase and so it seems.
However I was in Devon and with the family so to ask them to allow me to travel all the way home and back wasn't worth raising; plus i'm still at no.2 above. I would have to wait until the next one...
Luckily for me that Osprey seemed to like Abberton as it was still there last night. I arrived at about 7.30pm to find it sitting in full view (distant and scoped). I hung around for a while hoping it would take flight and go fishing but it seemed settled, a little bit of preening going on but other than that just looking about at what was going on around it.
I then had a Bonus for the list that was shortly after ripped from under my feet as I was advised I couldn't add it to my list :) Ruddy Shelduck x2 Oh Well.
Text out "can I add these two Ruddy Shelduck to my list"
Instantly back "no"
A Green Sandpiper walked the edges and two noisy Common Tern fed behind me.
Used under the creative commons licence - original by Sergey Yeliseev

Anyway just a digiscoped proof of life shot from me
I did get the Bonus in the end though, on the way home just outside Easthorpe two followed by a third Turtle Dove on the wires
Two more added to that list and a really pleasant summers evening over at Layer Breton

Friday, 5 July 2013

Swift Colony

The partners had a compliance meeting today so i found myself trudging to Puckeridge for it this morning; As i headed up the high street Swifts everywhere, low level flying along pavements doging vans and cars. I then came accros the colony hide out.
It was very busy, i parked up and watched for a good 5 minutes, this short video does not do it justice, the volume of birds in and out was vast.
UPDATE: 17.09.2014 Sadly, the owners have had home improvements done, this colony is no longer there

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Finally....Spot Fly on the list

After a few local attempts over the Valley courtesy of Messrs Harvey & McGough, the Essex Birdwatching Site came up with goods locally to work;
Spotted Flycatcher x1 - St Nicholas's Church, Church Road, Kelvedon Hatch.
Now weirdly, the weekend before i was actually at this church for a christenning however we only entered the front of the church and never managed a wander around the graves.
So being 10 minutes away from the office it would have been rude not to have a go. Looking through the gates up the side of the church revealed only Robin, so knowing about Fane Hall next to the church i took a wander towards it.
This paid off with a male Bullfinch along with not one but two Spot Fly, after watching for a while as they went about they business i began to notice a patten; from local area, to wires then towards the rectory. Finally managing a view to the rectory gave views of a very full nest, X2 young Spot Fly on the ledge behind the drain pipe and under the eaves; getting loads of food from the parents who were busy catching bugs n grubs.
So from never seeing this bird to 4 in one go and with the adults all very close and easy to view.
Life list 197 and it could so easily be 200 if i could get a pass to go somewhere different for the day....
used under the creative commons license: original by & can be viewed phenolg