Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Diving into london

With the weather not been great on recently weekends a dry saturday morning tempted me to Fairlop Water in northeast london as there was a Great Northern Diver around as it was bird I only seen distantly before. Took a while to find but did see a few Goldcrest and Bullfinch around the edges and Pochard and Shoveler not bad for a saturday morning in a London Park. After a while managed to locate it out in the water before it disappeared for about 15 minutes when suddenly it reappeared and swam right past me which was a bit of a surprise. It then spent a bit of time fishing around the boats but like the names suggests it can dive for a long time so you never knew where it would reappear.

Great Northern Diver



Then headed to Rainham Marshes by which point it had got very windy so most of the small birds were keeping their heads down but around the feeders best number of Collared Doves with at least 30 in this 1 spot. On the marshes  good numbers of Teal and Wigeon were around with a few Shelduck and flying over Snipe but the highlight of the afternoon was watching the Marsh Harriers hunting with 4 birds showing very well.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Winter thrushes at the lodge

Planned to go up to the lodge to have a look at their binoculars so was lucky that for once some sunshine was forcast for early in the morning so when up early to see what was about but did't get very far as around the car park lots of winter thrushes were feeding on the yew tree in the car park. Mainly feeding were flocks of Redwings which seem to fly in quite regularly often feeding in the middle of the bush but every now and then came to feed on the yew berries out in the open.

Redwing in the yew tree






 Also with the flocks of Fieldfare was heard along with a few Blackbirds and a lone Mistle Thrush. Smaller birds feeding around near the feeder and yew trees were Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinches and calling Nuthatches.

Female Blackbird feeding



Perched Mistle Thrush

Then when for a walk around the main reserve where there lots of Coal Tits around espically around the Meadow Hide along with four Mallards on the pond. On the heath heard Great-spotted and Green Woodpecker and near the new toad ponds had a nice flock of Long-tailed Tits which contained a number of Goldcrest and a lone Treecreeper as well as a number of Blue and Great Tits.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

RSPB trip to Two Tree Island and Wallasea Island

Last sunday after the rain of the day before had a RSPB trip down to the south coast of essex. Still very windy so alot of the birds were taking cover but a single Fieldfare flew over the Carpark and a few Skylarks, Linnets , Reed buntings and Meadows were around in the scrub. Walking along the river Redshank, Little Egret and Curlew were seen before we got to the hide over looking the main scrape.

Feeding Wigeon
Teal out on the water
From the scrape a good sections of Ducks were on the water with hundreds of Teal and good numbers of Wigeon and shoveler while we were treated to a mini murmuration of the Starlings. As the tide came in the waders started to appear on the scrape with a few snipe hiding in the grass while Redshanks, Greenshanks and Black-tailed Godwits were feeding before a few Avocets started to make there way to the scrape before a few Curlews appeared and in the distances we could see big numbers of Knots building up. We then walked around to the second hide were we had some good views of a few hundred Brent geese feeding on the shore along with a few more waders  with Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers and a few Dunlin.

Starlings building up

Three feeding Greenshank

Feeding Curlew

Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank
Then headed to the new reserve of Wallasea Island which is been built using the earth from the Crossrail work. From the carpark we had good views of a Kestrel hunting and a male Stonechat appeared along the fence. We then walked along the sea wall where we had a nice selection of waders with Grey Plover, Knots, Redshank and a Turnstone sheltering from the high tide. As we watched them a Pegerine came across and tried to get a meal from the waders and in doing so brought up more waders with a big Lapwing flock which contained a few Golden Plovers and a flock of Black-tailed Godwits. At the top end of the seawall we the watched the Shelduck come in off the sea to roost on one the lagoons with at least 50 birds in the the Teal and Wigeon which was an impressive sight before walking back as the mud was getting exposed which allowed the waders to come out and feed which allowed us to see big numbers of Golden Plovers,Grey Plovers, Sanderling and Dunlin feeding in the mud.

Lapwing Flock with a few Golden  Plovers

Sandering and Grey Plovers as the Peregrine came in

Friday, 30 October 2015

Wild coast of essex

Despite visiting the essex coast alot last weekend paid my first to Holland Haven and the great great country park at first just followed the sea hoping to see some waders but only birds around the shore were a mixture of gull including a few Greater-backed Gulls. Then walked inland where in the fields where at least 3 Short-eared Owls were hunting across the fields some flying close at times which was quite a suprise as there were still hunting by late morning.

Hunting Short-eared Owl


Then came to the Rough-legged Buzzard which at first flew across the field and was eating something in the field before flying across to the seawall where it hunting and was seen hovering a few times before it flew over my head by the seawall and settled on a post around the Golf Club.

Flyby Buzzard

Hovering Buzzard a trait of the Rough-legged





Buzzard sitting on the post


Then ended with a visit to the hide where there plenty of Wigeon and Teal and a few Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the water while a Kingfisher briefly landed by one one the pools while had a super view of a Short-eared Owl past the hide as well as a hunting Kestrel and a distance Sparrowhawk.

Next was a visit to Mersea Island and the Causeway which can be good for waders with the right tide around the edge lots of Dunlin, Turnstones and a few Redshanks and Little Egrets were feeding on the edge.

Reflecting Dunlin

Redshanks in with the Dunlin


Dunlin in flight
Then ended at Heybridge Basin where despite been quite busy with people enjoying the sunny day a great grey shrike was showing pretty well mainly preening and darting between bushes.

Great Grey Shrike


Out in the estuary of the basin plenty of waders with Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, curlews and dunlin feeding pretty close while on the Opposite shore a group of 300 or so Golden Plover was seen while A few Brent Geese,Teal and Wigeon were feeding out on the river and Bearded Tits were heard in the reeds

Black-tailed Godwit feeding in the mud


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Few Goodies at Heartwood

Had a couple of visit to heartwood on saturday had a hunt for the shrike which had been seen no luck but the hedge near the scout hut was very good with my first site records of Lesser Redpolls with at  least 5 around along with Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Yellowhammer also around the Skylarks were in full song and a few Linnets and Meadow Pipits.


Then on monday back to do my final butterfly transect of the season only a lone Red Admiral was seen but super views of 3 Meadow Pipits and a nice singing Nuthatch was heard.

Meadow Pipit


Two of the three in the tree

Friday, 23 October 2015

North Norfolk Coast

Last sunday decided as recently there been constant east winds for a while and so some decent birds. First stop was at Sheringham where a super Isabelline Shrike was showing very well at times darting into the bushes to feed. Also around were a few flocks of Redwings passing through and a green woodpecker.
Isabelline Shrike


Next stop was a visit to Muckleburgh hill where a Olive-backed Pipit had been seen though had disappeared for a while but a nice selection of winter birds where flying through with Fieldfares and Redwings passing through as well as a few Siskins and Redpolls. After about half an hour the Pipit decided to came back to its favourite around at first feeding deep in the bracket before it came out to feed around a tree and a couple of peoples scopes well worth the wait.

Olive-backed Pipit



Then headed to Well Woods for a few hours were Goldcrests and birders all around. Starting walking down the path with Goldcrest and Robins before coming to a first group who were watching at least 2 Pallas Warblers feeding and a Yellow-browed warbler was heard. Then headed down to the drinking pool where had the amazing sight of group of Goldcrest and a few Coals tits coming down to bathe and drink. On the main path overhead more Redwing,Fieldfares and a few siskins passed through

Bathing Goldcrests
Goldcrest drying out

Then headed back down the path where a Pallas warbler was feeding up in the tree showing very well before walking back to the car when a group of Pink-footed Geese flow over.

Pallas Warbler