Sunday, 25 August 2013

Not To Be

So with previous foul weather and pretty good conditions for some birds to be pushed up the Thames theres only one thing for it as a newish birder; yep you guessed it, leave your phone in the house and start smashing up a concrete pathway in your front garden........
So by 11 i was now aware of the Sabines Gulls in Aveley Bay along with another in Barking Bay plus Black Tern picking their way about everywhere. Permission granted i dashed off for Aveley parking in Coldharbour Lane where a small group had gathered still looking for the gulls which had for some time dispersed. A quick chat with Shaun, Monkey & Steve Bacon i headed to the group and settled in.
A few familiar faces and a chance to finally meet James Astley (Parus).
James thought he had a Little Gull but it had gone behind another viewer and he lost it, 3x Turnstone dropped into the mud on Aveley Bay itself (London List Tick) and after a bit i picked out aboout 20 odd Black Tern; cool yet another life tick
The group quickly split up with people heading back to the RSPB, home or of to the Stone Barges by car or along the footpath. I made my decison and headed to the Stone Barges where Dominic Mitchell had just had a brief glimpse of it high before loosing it to either the far bank or up river, so with that in mind i took a spin to Ferry Lane and made my stand here; Loads of Black Headed Gulls, Cormorant plus Common Tern.
A good couple of hours on the Thames and this was what the fuss was all about; a good record shot from Shaun and more can be found on his blog here but for me, alas it was not to be.
courtesy of Shaun Harvey, not that he knows this yet..........

How Many Padlocks?

A call late Friday afternoon and Paul & Bradders are on their way to KGV Reservoir for the Red Necked Phalarope over in Chingford; i was hoping to meet with them at the entrance at 5.15pm but traffice was pretty dire and after battling my way i wasnt going to catch them in time, not wanting to hold them up i headed home.
Earlyish Saturday morning and i had another call, Shaun was on his way; i wasnt going to give up today as i now new that this was a good bird for London and a would be a nice addition to my London List.
Upon arrival i was faced with a test from the Krypton Factor, some eight padlocks holding it fast, i mean i know this is east London but surely if someone wants to get in that badly they will just hop on over the fence?
Up the hill, through the sheep shit and onto the bank to find messrs Harvey, Redfern & Halley-Frame all on the little bird a fair way out; easily picked up thanks to direction and another lifer me.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Spoons 2 Bars 0 Ticks 1

A family few days away to Wells in Norfolk gave me a couple of hours birding time, however sadly the sand banks at the Wells harbour are a lot smaller than they used to be and as such are further out, the smaller waders are just to small for me to ID but larger ones such as Curlew, Oystercatcher were in abundance.
Apparently the shrinkage of the sand banks is due to the dredging of the boat channel to Wells Harbour; sand is being placed in other areas which in turn is affecting the tide flow. The Common Terns that were nesting on these shingle/sandy banks have now relocated, not in the same numbers, to the spit just behind the life boat station and these could be viewed easily with the eye.
A few Turnstone and Redshank cruised the shoreline along the walk into town from the beach.
So with a couple of hours to spare on Wednesday afternoon I managed to get the whole family off to Titchwell, we didn't do much just a walk down to the Parinder hides and back but it was pretty good.
The biggest thing that happened was the wife actually looked through the scope and paid an interest in the Spoonbills that were showing really well; heads up and even flying about; apparently up to 12 birds there yesterday morning but only two whilst we viewed.
A self found Little Stint, confirmed by one of the RSPB guys, gave me my 3rd record and best views of this little bird; the wife looked and made some weird noise as if to say it looks brown, small and unimpressive but I was pleased.
Little Ringed Plovers, Spotted Redshanks, Knot, Ruff and Golden Plover made up the supporting cast on the fresh marsh. The salt marsh held a couple of Grey Plover and a Common Scoter.
A female Marsh Harrier hunted over to the left as you walk down the main path.
So yesterday we headed back to the gloom that is Hornchurch and its surrounds but managed to stop off at Lynford Arboretum, this was on route and gave me a possible two Life Ticks. As I approached the Larchs near the entrance it was very quiet, nothing but after a bit the birds started to come in. The best seen were Treecreeper and Nuthatch.
Shortly after a flight call that I hadn't heard before started to head my way and 11 Crossbill dropped out of the sky onto the trees, I quickly scanned looking for the Juv 2 bar but it wasn't to be seen. The rain started to bucket it down so I jumped back in the car and headed home.
Crossbill = Life Tick, well worth popping in

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hashtag & Ticktickbooooom

I had one of those mornings that most people reading this post probably havn't had for many a year......yep 10 ticks in one morning not even a day, one morning. #TickTickBooooom.
During this morning i discovered two things 1. that seawatching is going to take me an age to learn & 2. @davemo57 doesnt use hashtags....... according to Paul you cant teach old dogs new tricks etc etc.....according to Dave everybody should know where Canvey is and as such #'s are not required.......
My first trip to Dungeness affectionately know as Dunge was great, we left about 5am and was on the shingle for sea watching about an hour and half later. I was in the hands of Dave Mo & Paul Hawkins and for my first proper sea watch i didn't really know what to expect, yes I've stood on Titchwell beech for 15 minutes having a look at what was there but only if i new something was about i.e. Long Tailed Duck earlier this year.
First bird of the day pretty much were Sandwich Tern, two birds going West, Life tick no.1
There were a fair few Gannet's of mixed ages, which although not a tick was great to see, the only other Gannet i had seen was a bird at Walthamstow reservoir, so it was good to watch them here. Common Scoter also headed west (mostly) with groups of mixed sizes. Dave pulled a Fulmar which became life tick no 2.
I found myself a Guilimot and Arctic Tern adding another two lifers. Other birds that were called out Manx Shearwater, Bonxie, Arctic Skua and the highlight being two Balearic Shearwater also heading West at 8.06am. All of these being lifers taking the sea watch tally to 8.
The remaining tick of the sea watching were Kitiwake, no.9, with a couple of birds flying out by the line where the water changes colour along with a Juvenile within feet of the shore line.

Both after a shot of the Juvenile Kittiwake

Lots of other good birds including Whimbrel, Little Gull & Mediterranean Gull
After a visit to the patch we headed off to the Arc Pits, here Garganey, Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and my final lifer of the day Black Neck Grebe = No 10.
Also got the oppertunity to put some names to faces: Jim and his dad, whilst his brother Brian was at the other end of the hide with Paul.
Dave & Paul a big thank you for a great morning.