Thursday, 25 May 2017

Rainham - An early morning stroll along the seawall

A day off and what better way to start the day than a stroll along the seawall. There is always something to Rainham, but this morning was just perfect, the sun coming up, already warm, superb scenery and no people...not one for the first hour!

A Barn Owl hunted in front of the Marshland Discovery Zone great to see in the early morning light.
Barn Owl

Barn Owl
A male Stonechat could be seen in the distance surveying it's territory with the sky still showing signs of the sunrise...which I missed!
Stonechat just after sunrise

Whitethroat lots of these in the scrubby areas along the seawall

Skylark good to see a number of pairs are still breeding here


Garden Warbler near the serin mound great to hear it's song and occasionally see it!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A Crane in the mist!

Arrived yesterday morning at the serin mound at Rainham Marshes around 5.30 to find Wennington Marsh in fact the whole reserve mostly hidden beneath low lying fog. Spot a Crane, I couldn't even make out the cows!
Sun beginning to burn off the fog

But the sun was breaking through and the mist was slowly clearing, we moved position halfway up the landfill site path. I say we there was one other person looking. The Crane had been spotted flying in to Wennington Marsh the day before (Sunday) by the site manager while out surveying, his second mega find while out surveying in as many weeks!

Sure enough the chap who I was with (sorry don't know his name) spotted it. When I say spotted it, he saw it's head and neck. It was feeding along a ditch much closer to the A13 than to our position, so a long way off. We kept getting brief views of it's head until eventually it walked clear of the ditch and remained in full view preening for about 20 minutes, before walking back along the ditch and showing it's head again intermittently.
A very distant Crane in the mist
As I slowly walked back down the landfill footpath, I heard the distinctive 'Whet my lips' call of a Quail and is sounded very close to me, but alas remained hidden. Was I really on the edge of London, a Common Crane and a Quail, I had to pinch myself! lol.

I then had a walk along the seawall and saw 3 Cuckoos, a Lesser Whitethroat, lots of Common Whitethroats, and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.
Common Whitethroat

Reeling Grasshopper Warbler

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Something a little different - Hackney Street Art

During lunch yesterday my colleague Emily took me on a street art ramble around Hackney and there was loads to see. Mr. Degri is an Italian artist and here are a couple of portraits.
Mr. Degri - Muhammid Ali

Mr. Degri - Lou Reed I think!

Tang - this huge blue dog was beside a veterinary surgery
 There are many stunning pieces of art by Zabou around Hackney and well worth seeking out!

 ALO has an interesting and unique style this is a new piece below


Original metal art work welded to the top of street it!


Zabou - These two large pieces are beside each other, so he is blowing her a kiss :-)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Rainham - New Life!

Spent a few hours yesterday at RSPB Rainham Marshes. The hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers is paying off, as I saw my first Lapwing and Redshank chicks today!
Redshank chick
Redshank protecting their young in the air...

and on the ground, they actually had two chicks to watch out for!

Mallards also had new life as did Canada & Greylag Geese
Little Grebe having a wash and brush up, possibly after taking its turn on the nest!

drake Garganey a cracking bird but a seriously long way away to photograph, it was on target pools and I was in the butts hide!

Reed Bunting
Helophilus hybridus Marsh Tiger Hoverfly
and a happy looking Marsh Frog to finish with!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A North American Gull....but which one!

Spent the morning at Rainham, had a pleasant walk around anti-clockwise. Then as I set foot on the viewing platform overlooking the target pools, Andrew Gouldstone the Site Manager was obviously looking at something intently and asked if I could photograph it. Well it was a small gull and was flying away from us already at quite a height. I managed two shots before losing it to view. Andrew was sure it was either Laughing Gull or a Franklins Gull, his gut instinct was for a 1st summer Franklins Gull. The two heavily cropped record shots (see below) were circulated and the general consensus was inline with Andrew's instinct. But there are a few who still wouldn't rule out Laughing Gull. It is as I write this being looked for and has been seen twice very briefly since on the river and the landfill, but no absolute confirmation of id yet!
Laughing or Franklins?

Laughing or Franklins?

There are now lots of Reed Warblers singing around the reserve and I almost got clear views of one to photograph but frustratingly, not quite!
Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler
Grey Heron

Canada Goose with goslings