Friday, 31 January 2014

Southend Pier

Spent most of today at the end of Southend Pier. A good number of Guillemots, with one particularly close. A few unidentified distant Divers, while one Red-throated flew east close to the pier head and a Great Northern flew west. A Slavonian Grebe was a nice find and reasonably close for 10 minutes, before it flew off south across the river. Kittiwakes easily outnumbered Mediterranean Gulls, but the Meds were actually on or over the pier. A Shag flew in from Shoebury direction and actually landed under the pier out of sight!

Guillemot shoeing well

Guillemot showing well

Kittiwake this one was close!
Mediterranean Gull

Black-headed Gull

Sanderling along the foreshore

Monday, 20 January 2014

RSPB Rainham Marshes

Yesterday morning I walked around the reserve, well no, that is not quite right! I knew the trails were flooded in places, and it said 'wellies were required', but I knew best, and I'd be able to tiptoe my way around! Needless to say, it was well over ankle deep and wellies are required, so I walked as far as I could along the northern boardwalk and back.

It was a lovely morning with a good amount of sunshine and at times a clear blue sky. A pair of Marsh Harriers were also enjoying the good weather, and often panicking the wildfowl and lapwings. I tried below to capture the scene, but always missed the Harriers, as they were quite distant. A pair of Mute Swans, obviously didn't approve of my new aftershave and immediately flew off!

Had to finish with the obligatory shot of the QEII bridge, sorry!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Ferry Lane to Coldharbour Point

Mid morning I walked the Thames riverside walk from Ferry Lane (just west of Tilda Rice) to Coldharbour Point and back. High tide today is around 13.30, so still a good amount of exposed mud to be seen. Last winter this area held 2 probably 3 Black Redstarts, and with one seen a few days ago at Coldharbour Point, it was worth a look. There were four Dunlin in the Redshank flock near the stone barges, and further on I counted eight Snipe along the tide line, while a pair of Great Crested Grebes were just offshore.

Sadly, no sign of any Black Redstarts, but a Grey Wagtail was a nice find at Coldharbour Point. I was unable to get very close, but did manage a few record shots with my iPhone connected to the scope. It was feeding amongst the tideline debris, and there is a lot of debris!

The above Kestrel was using a lamppost as a lookout point on my return to Ferry Lane. By now the rain had started and I only managed a phone scoped record shot.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Wat Tyler Country Park

Arrived at the marina at 08.10, hoping to see the Glossy Ibis which had been seen here for the last three mornings. I was either too late arriving or the overnight frost had altered the Ibis's recent habits as it was a no show!

For the last few winters the creek has attracted over-wintering Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and Ruff. And this year is no different with one each of the shanks and three Ruff present this morning, alongside Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits and Curlew. While all the time a Peregrine was watching from the top of a nearby pylon.

From the main hide two Marsh harriers were quartering the reedbeds, mainly on the other-side of the access road to the landfill site, although one did stray briefly over the reeds on the near-side of the road.

A couple of Snipe landed on the opposite side of the channel in front of the hide and showed quite well.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

2013 Highlights

Some of my highlights from last year.

January - Guillemot Southend Pier
January - Kittiwake Southend Pier
Mayesbrook Park January 20th
January - 2 of 3 Mandarin at Friars Park, Southend
February - Black Redstart record shot Rainham riverside
March - Bewick's Swans at Abberton Reservoir
March - showy Pintail at Rainham Marshes
March - Glaucous Gull at West Canvey Marsh
April - Long-tailed Duck at Gunners Park
April - Ring-necked Duck at Chigborough Lakes
April - Spotted Flycatcher at Dagenham Chase
April - Siberian Chiffchaff at Vange Marsh
August - Sabines Gull at Rainham Marshes

August - Spotted Crake at Dagenham Chase

September - Red-backed Shrike at Bowers Marsh
September - Red-backed Shrike at West Canvey Marsh
September - Red-backed Shrike at West Canvey Marsh
September - Lesser Yellowlegs at West Canvey Marsh
October - Parrot Crossbill at Gunners Park
October - Parrot Crossbill at Gunners Park
October - Parrot Crossbill at Gunners Park
October - Glossy Ibis at Vange
October - Stonechat at Bowers Marsh
October - Curlew Sandpiper at Rainham Marshes
October - Red Kite at Princes Risborough, Bucks
October - Red Kite at Princes Risborough, Bucks