Monday, 24 February 2014

Wallasea Island - Peregrine pair

These pictures of a male and female (right) peregrines don't show the size difference between the sexes. The female was a brute of a bird in comparison and it's little wonder the male was keeping his distance whilst she tucked into her breakfast.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Duck mash-up

I went to Paglesham Lagoon this morning to keep my year list moving. This striking duck was floating around with the shovelers. A quick google search suggests a Shoveler x Wigeon hybrid. Surely not. I also flushed a short-eared owl, giving close views, a good look at a Rock Pipit and some smart Bar-tailed Godwits bringing up 81.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Long Reef

Red-necked Stint Ruddy Turnstones Pacific Golden Plover Grey-tailed Tattler

I had a loooong overdue trip to Long Reef today. It's well known as a good wader spot and so it proved this morning. After a nervous thigh-high wade across the reef at dropping tide the rewards were a nice - reasonably confiding mixed flock of 100+ Red-necked Stint, 4 Grey-tailed Tattler, c.15 Ruddy Turnstones and 18 Pacific Golden Plover.

Friday, 10 January 2014


A quick run around West Canvey Marsh yesterday added this Scaup, stonechat, and a few others to my year list. With the pheasant I saw today, I'm up to 70.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Keeping them peeled for 2014

I'm going to have a crack at a local year list again this year. I kicked off on a pre-dawn, pitch black walk through Hockley Woods. I had a bit of an iffy Tawny Owl call among the Carrion crow cacophony so left it off my list. I stood at the edge of the wood and watched the hoards of crows flying south with the odd Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming in the first shades of blue into the sky. My focus was on an area of the woods where 3 Firecrests had been seen the previous day with no luck, so I headed for a very similar area along the same stream but further East and I didn't have to wait. There was a female Firecrest, typically mobile, but giving great views. That was undoubtedly the moment of the day. I got up to 50+ species on my way to my previously set target of 165 species.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Who's a pretty boy then?

The 4 Parrot Crossbills at Gunner's Park last Saturday were brill. Admittedly I didn't have them as Parrots when I was snapping them, but who cares, they were too good to be true. Obliviously devouring pine cone after pine cone.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Norfolk 2013

I had my usual sodding luck with the wind direction during my stay in Norfolk, westerly for the week before and during my stay and then easterly when I'm heading back down the A12. I always make the most of it though, exploring the coast for new sites for future visits. This year I went down to the woods and coastal path at Stiffkey which looked as good as previous sightings there might suggest. I did have the great pleasure of stumbling across, not 1, but 2 families of Grey Partridges on my scouting trips too.
The fields opposite our accommodation (top pic) were good value at dusk, with the resident barn owl, tawny owls and egret roost, not to mention the scores of Pink-footed Geese noisily flying to roost whilst I was sinking my first pint of Murphy's.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Flycatcher Thursday

It's that time of year again. Pied Fly and Spotted Fly hanging out in Gunners Park today....which was nice.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Dawn til almost dusk

I went for a local day list yesterday, doing a full loop of the local area. I got to Two Tree Island just before sun rise to hear the dawn chorus. It was pretty loud with cuckoos, Nightingales, Blackcaps and Song Thrushes all in full voice. It was noticeably much quieter when I left the Island at 5.25am. I saw no less than 10 Cuckoos throughout the day, including this showy bird (above) at Wat Tyler. Late morning I was at Vange Marsh and had a rare glimpse of some local Bearded Tits, bringing up 62 species for the day so far. I hit Canvey Point for high tide, hoping for Little Terns and the odd wader. The odd wader was a Turnstone and the Little Terns were replaced by a Sandwich Tern (above). I then headed North and made my way along the River Crouch picking up a couple of singing Yellow Hammers at Lion Creek and more yellow with a male Yellow Wagtail on Wallasea. The walk out to Paglesham Lagoon was fruitless apart from a Barn Owl hunting over Barling. With the light beginning to fade I went to Wakering Fleet Head and quickly picked up Red Legged Partridge and Stock Dove around the farm buildings before heading off to Wakering Stairs. I walked out to Haven point for a purring Turtle Dove. By this time I could hardly walk! I got back to the car at 20:35 were I saw a Meadow Pipit; No.78, and that was it. I had to throw the towel in. The Tawny and Little Owl will have to what til next time. (The Bee photo was taken at Vange Marsh. ID to come.)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Just Do It