Sunday, 31 May 2015

Minsmere RSPB

Yesterday I went with Havering RSPB local group on their coach trip to Minsmere in Suffolk, over forty people on the coach is testament to the popularity of this RSPB Flagship reserve. There's so much to see and hear at Minsmere: splendid woodland, wetland and coastal scenery, rare birds breeding and calling in on their migrations, shy wildlife like otters, the booming call of bitterns in spring, beautiful bugs and colourful wild flowers in summer. What a place and what a bird to start with, a female Red-necked Phalarope had decided to stop off on the scrape on her migration north. The first I have seen on the reserve and the first I have seen since one at RSPB Vange Marsh almost five years ago. I have been lucky enough to see Red-necked Phalarope now on six separate occasions, the first was back in 1989 at Willen Lake in north Buckinghamshire! In 1995 on the 3rd June I was on Fetlar, Shetland and had stunning views of four birds on their breeding territory. These small, delicate waders are adapted well to spending a lot of time on water. Unlike other waders, phalaropes have lobed toes which enable them to swim strongly when on pools or out at sea. They spend most of their time in the water but can equally run about on land. The duller coloured male looks after the eggs and young after laying.
Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope

There were a number of Barnacle Geese on the scrape and spot the sitting Oystercatcher!

Rubbish image but an interesting group, the phalarope, a summer plumaged Turnstone & Dunlin, a Redshank and Kittiwakes!

I've got red toes too!
Red-necked Phalarope again!

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

Avocet brooding a hidden chick

and here is the Avocet chick

already has blue coloured legs and a slightly upturned bill

female Blackbird with a beak full!

Four-spotted Chaser

Friday, 1 May 2015

Back to Rainham

Returned to Rainham this afternoon, the Pectoral Sandpiper was seen yesterday afternoon si I wanted to give it another go. Boom! I got lucky it was still there on the target pools viewable from the viewing platform. Had great views through my scope, but with the heat haze I didn't get any pics, great bird though. While watching the pec a Peregrine cruised across the pools and the sandpiper almost disappeared in the mud as it hunkered down! Drake Garganey was also still present and my first Cuckoo of the year in the woodlands.

Peregrine glides over

Whitethroat lots of these about now

another or the same Peregrine over the northern boardwalk