Sunday, 30 November 2014

Lackford Lakes

Yesterday I went with Havering Local RSPB Group on a coach trip to Lackford Lakes. It was a great trip with good company, brilliant wildlife and a superb finale at an excellent Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve. If you fancy coming along on the next coach trip which is on Saturday 31 January to RSPB Dungeness in Kent, you can find out more HERE I can fully recommend it.

The reserve is 121 hectares of wetland, woodland, scrub and sandy heath. As well as a visitor centre there are eight hides. Due to flooding access to Bessie's Hide was closed today and Steggall's Hide was closed for refurbishment.

The weather was mild for the end of November around 10c but it remained overcast pretty much all day making photography difficult. The Bullfinch below was probably my best effort, we saw at least six around the reserve.

 The Great Spotted Woodpecker below was hammering chuncks out of the trees in the woodland! Other birds seen from the woodland trail were Treecreeper, Marsh and Coal Tits, Goldcrest and a Muntjac Deer.

Long-tailed Tit lots of these were seen in roving tit flocks.

Other species highlights included at least two Tree Sparrows, Siskin, stunning drake Goldeneye, Marsh Tits on the visitor centre feeders and a stunning Starling murmuration at the end of the day, as 15000 starlings gathered to roost in the reedbed behind the visitor centre, a stunning display.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

South Park, Ilford

Decided to take Coco for a walk around South Park in Ilford this morning, it is only a few miles down the road, but this was my first visit. This Edwardian park has preserved most of its original features from over one hundred years ago such as a large lake, an abundance of large mature trees, shrubs and flower beds.

Coot on the lake

Trees around the lake

A Grey Heron sat on one of the lake's islands

I probably just missed the best of the autumn colours

Froglife sectioned off a small part of the lake earlier this autumn using a floating curtain weighted at the bottom. This will allow pond-dipping to take place in front of the  wildlife education centre.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


Spent most of yesterday at Walton-on-the-Naze. A glorious end to October with warm sunshine and just a light southerly breeze. Our car's thermometer reached 24c and it was officially the warmest Halloween on record!

There were lots of dark-bellied Brent Geese, most keeping close to the shoreline. Image below shows a family with three juveniles (left-hand birds). The family groups stay together throughout the journey from their breeding grounds and whilst here in Essex. Juveniles have pale tips to their median and greater covert feathers, giving them the pale lines running across their back. They also have little to no collar patch.

I've been to The Naze on a number of occasions but this was the first time I've explored the EWT John Weston Nature Reserve. It is quite a large area of dense scrubland and rough grassland with a few hidden ponds and clumps of sycamore. Lots of thrushes, mostly Blackbirds 30+ with a few Redwings and Song Thrushes seen. I stayed a while watching the sycamores where at least five Chiffchaffs were present along with Goldcrests and a small mixed tit flock. Probably my best bird of the day was a Brambling which flew inland over the lagoon at the far end of the reserve and disappeared in to the scrub. also seen were three Stonechats, two Sparrowhawks which gave the crows something to mob, two late Swallows and a good selection of waders. All in all a very enjoyable end to October!