Saturday, 20 October 2018

Wanstead Flats

A Rustic Bunting was found by Nick Croft on Tuesday and it took me until today Saturday to get there, a London tick and about six miles from home, I should have got there sooner. But, despite a good number of birders spread across the area, at least four football matches taking place close by and with it being such a beautifully warm autumn day there were quite a few walkers.

But the Bunting showed not as close as some have seen it, but closer enough and those wonderfully red coloured stripes along it's flanks confirming it's identity....happy days :-) It took quite a while to actually get to see the whole bird and it would often disappear to another feeding area, unfortunately it wouldn't allow a close approach so my images are heavily cropped.

Rustic Bunting

Rustic Bunting

Rustic Bunting

Rustic Bunting

Rustic Bunting

Buzzard flew over mobbed by four crows

Love the colours on the Magpie

Thanks to Tom for the picture of me!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Beardies and Buzzards

Yesterday I spent a few hours at Rainham Marshes it was a clear day with blue skies, but quite windy which made finding the smaller birds neigh on impossible. Which is why I was amazed to see two Bearded Tits on the main track between Purfleet Hide and the tall chair. I had a magical ten minutes or so photographing them, often crouched low at the paths edge so as not to disturb them.
Pair of Bearded Tits - even in strong winds they still require grit to feed!
Some of the trails around the reserve are made of an aggregate which includes grit and the Bearded Tits who, like many other birds, spend the summer months feasting on insects. However, to avoid having to migrate south in winter as birds such as swallows and warblers do, the bearded tits change their diet to reed seeds in winter. The seeds are extremely tough, so the birds use a nifty trick to make the seeds easy to digest – they eat grit. Which is exactly what this pair was doing!

Somethings caught his attention!

Common Buzzard came over obligingly low and continually mobbed by crows!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Morning on the marshes

Spent this morning at Rainham Marshes, weather was great birds performed, met some great people and I need to check but I think I had a new site species a Cattle Egret.
Kestrel along the southern perimeter path
Cattle Egret feeding amongst the cattle from Butts Hide

blurry flight shot
female Bearded Tit using the grit tray

and a male

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Rye Harbour, East Sussex

On Saturday along with members of Havering RSPB Local Group we travelled by coach to Rye Harbour. It was a beautifully sunny day with clear blue skies and very little wind.

Rye Harbour is a fascinating Nature Reserve and worth a visit whether you want to discover its wildlife and habitats, explore its history, or simply experience the landscape and enjoy a walk beside the sea.
Looking east across Camber Sands

Looking west towards Hastings
The Nature Reserve lies within a large triangle of land extending south from Rye, along the River Rother, past Rye Harbour to the sea, westward to Winchelsea Beach and northwards along the River Brede.
The Local Nature Reserve at Rye Harbour was established in 1970 by East Sussex County Council under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act of 1949. In 2011 the management responsibilities were transferred to the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
A confiding Linnet
The 465 hectares (1149 acres) are generally flat and low lying with no natural feature above the Dungeness, Romney Marsh and Rye Bay SSSI (9,137ha.). The high points are the crests of shingle storm ridges built up over hundreds of years by the combined action of tides and storms. The low points are the sheltered areas between the ridges where saltmarsh developed on the regularly inundated land.

The area also contains considerable historic interest with military fortifications from the 16th, 19th and 20th centuries, a lifeboat disaster and evidence of man's early and continuing efforts to defend the land from the sea. This flat, open and historic landscape, with its low level of development, proximity to the sea and network of footpaths is popular with visitors. It can provide a very special experience. There is a good network of footpaths that enables much of the Nature Reserve to be visited from access points in Rye Town, Winchelsea Beach and Rye Harbour. There is a small, unmanned information centre in the car park at Rye Harbour, but our main centre, at Lime Kiln Cottage, is opened on most days by volunteers (10am-4pm). All five bird watching hides are accessible to some wheelchairs and provide visitors with a close view of much wetland wildlife.
Kestrel performs a balancing act

Good numbers of Kestrels were seen at least six

Amazing numbers of Little Grebes both in and out of the water

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Two or three Wheatears were seen

The twenty five of us who made the trip had a fantastic day, besides the excellent weather, Rye provides stunning views, excellent wildlife, collectively we saw 83 different bird species and all this amongst good company. What more could you want!
Our next trip is to Titchwell, north Norfolk on Saturday 27th October to book or for more info:
Contact: Mike Hughes Tel: 01708 250585

Friday, 28 September 2018

Friday on the marshes

Spent the day at Rainham, first I walked along the foreshore to the landfill and then did a full circuit of the reserve. To be fair the weather wasn't bad but bird numbers were either low or keeping their heads down in the wind.

Along the foreshore was a Wheatear which eluded my camera and good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Avocet and a few Redshanks. Also a small mixed flock of Goldfinches and Linnets.

Goldfinches and Linnets

Goldfinches and Linnets

Goldfinches and Linnets


Still good numbers of darters around the reserve

Spotted a couple of Clouded Yellow Butterflies behind Butts Hide

immature Ruff from Butts Hide

immature Ruff from Butts Hide

another Darter

Southern Hawker I think?

Willow Emerald I think?

female Dark Bush Cricket

Plenty of Orb spiders about

In Purfleet Hide while trying to photograph the kestrel and this dropped in very close


Rubbish photo but a good end to the day a Kingfisher seen fishing from the bridge between Purfleet hide and walk to visitor centre. Thanks to the kind lady who pointed it out