Sunday, 4 August 2019

West Canvey Marsh

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at West Canvey Marsh my first visit in five years! Like everywhere in the south-east of England a lack of significant rainfall has put the reservoir at the lowest I have ever seen it. The reserve, however, looks well managed and clean and tidy. I particularly liked what the rspb South Essex team have done where the far hide used to be.

No sign of yesterdays Curlew Sandpiper, but there were Avocet, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwits and two Common Sandpipers feeding along the edges of the reservoir. Reed Warblers seemed to have bred well as there were quite a few in the reedy areas, also noted were a Blackcap family and a single Willow Warbler. A Peregrine and a Kestrel were the only raptors seen. It looked like a pair of Pochard had at least two young with them.

I only saw two Marbled Whites, but loads of Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. Also good numbers of Darters mainly Ruddy and a few Emperor Dragonflies were impressive to watch. I finished my afternoon trying to photograph Swallows which were continually skimming low across a field along the dog-walking loop, without much success!

Now that looks like a good way to spend the afternoon

Canoeing at high tide

Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on Ragwort

female Ruddy Darter on a not yet ripe blackberry

Marbled White only saw two and neither posed for my camera!

Reed Warbler there were two or three families around the reserve

Long HoverflySphaerophoria scripta

Swallow the best I could manage, I need to practice more!

Swallow they are tricky to photograph in flight even when flying low!

A tatty female Ruddy Darter

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Dagenham Camera Club

I was so pleased last Thursday evening at Dagenham Camera Club to win The John Phillips Print Trophy judged by Ron Tear. The trophy is in the memory of a former member who sadly passed away just before I joined the club, he was only in his thirties and will never be forgotten by those who knew him.

The competition format was that you entered three mounted prints and your two highest-scoring prints were your score.

I scored two twenties (the highest score) but still needed my third print as the tiebreaker as our club President Mick also scored two twenties! My third print scored 19 while his scored 17.....phew!

Great Crested Grebe with Roach scored twenty

Skylark also scored twenty

Kestrel scored 19

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Jubilee Park, Canary Wharf

Jubilee Park is effectively a roof garden built above an underground railway station. It was designed by the office of Jacques Wirtz. The central feature is a raised serpentine water channel with rough stone walls. Other walls are planted with tall grass species and over 200 Metasequoia trees were planted in irrigated containers. Planting was completed in 2002. On hot still sunny days the space is very well used.

Part of the raised water channel

Each part of the water channel has a small fountain at it's center

A relaxing and well designed water feature
Each section has a mini waterfall so each part is connected

One of the small bubbling fountains
The raised water channel divides the space in an un-steam-like manner, a reminder of the artificiality of the context. The Metasequoias are an odd choice but they too are flourishing. The lively grass mounding is good for sunbathers and a welcome contrast with the Gotham City aspect of Canary Wharf.

Many selfies I'm sure are taken

There also plenty of space to lose yourself in a book

Places to sit and just reflect

The design style can be classified as Postmodern. It has a strong theme and is not rectilinear. While looking up there is no doubt you are in the middle of the capital's financial Centre
Massive and impressive glass buildings

You can sit and watch live cricket on two huge screens

So tall!

Friday, 21 June 2019

Early Morning at Bowers Marsh

Today I took an early morning walk at rspb Bowers Marsh. Even at 06.30, the sun was out and it was pleasantly warm. Managed to photograph a few species thanks to Karl Price and Antoine Van De Heijden the identifying and aging the dragonfly.
Avocets with a very small chick

Many of the Avocets pairs have chicks of varying ages

Avocets are very protective and will chase off all comers


Goldfinch feeding on thistles

High flying Marsh Harrier

Meadow Brown

and with wings closed

Mute Swan with its cygnet

Cygnet hitching a ride!

Reed Warbler

Small Skipper

Young male Black-tailed Skimmer

The males have a slender, tapered abdomen with the appendages close together. Overall the abdomen looks sharp-pointed. Females have space between the appendages and the abdomen is less tapered, this gives the abdomen a blunt, rectangular appearance.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Walk along The Thames at Rainham

I parked up in the small car park about 7.30am and walked east towards the rspb centre, before retracing my steps and on to the serin mound. Sun was shining and it was a pleasant walk. Spotted a family of Whitethroats with at least four full-grown young. Sedge Warbler still singing along with Cetti's. Lots of Swifts whizzing about and a few Martins. Two male Marsh Harriers one was I presume performing an impressive territorial display, with lots of twisting and turning with wings folded back and rolling, it also gave some regular calls. Although distant great to see.

Large Skipper


Red Admiral

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler

Small Tortoiseshell


Tuesday, 4 June 2019

A Rainy Rainham

Walked a circuit of the reserve this morning and luckily was in the Purfleet hide when the heavy rain shower passed over. It was overcast all morning making taking pictures a little tricky but I did take just a few.

It was great to see the Mute Swan with her cygnets and even better to see at least three female Pochard with chicks of their own.

Mute Swan with 5 cygnets on Aveley Pool

Mute Swan with 5 cygnets on Aveley Pool

At least three female Pochard with their own broods from The Butts Hide

Little Grebe in one of the ditches

Little Grebe in one of the ditches

Bearded Tit at the dragonfly pool, I think this is a juvenile male

adult male Bearded Tit