Wednesday 27 April 2011


Exercise is officially really bad for you - and here is the evidence! The results of tearing my hamstring playing 5 a side football.

From now on I'll stick to this passtime

A pint of Wherries in The Lifeboat Inn, Thornham, North Norfolk- the real amber nectar!

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

A few pics from a jaunt to the south coast on Monday with Hawky.

Glaucous Gull

Red Kite in off the sea

Dungeness is a Tree Sparrow hot spot

Hairy Dragonfly

Common Lizard

Sandwich Tern

Juvy Med Gull

Adult Med Gull

Sunday 24 April 2011

A Family Trip to Rainham Marshes

This afternoon we had a family jaunt to Rainham Marshes RSPB. Our 3 newphews joined us for a circuit in the glorious sunshine. We saw of note 2 hobbies, 2 Swifts and a Water Vole.

The play area always comes in handy when bribing under 5s to walk 3 kms around the reserve!

A quick stop at The Chase produced 10 dog walkers, 5 mountain bikers and 2 LRPs.

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Saturday 23 April 2011

Two Tree Island Black Crowned Night Heron (juv)

Last night myself, Shaun, Hawky and Jono headed out into Essex looking for 3 birds! Shouldn't be that hard you would think, that is until you realise they were not Sharon, Tracy and Chantelle but a Hoopoe, a Night Heron and a Savis Warbler!

At West Canvey RSPB we dipped the Hoopoe that had apparantly been booted into touch by photographers trying to get within a few feet of an already obliging bird, will they ever learn! Then it was up to Leigh on Sea for the now long staying juveline Black Crowned Night Heron. Jono's gen (having been already to see the bird) helped and we had good views from the sea wall. (my 3rd)Also on site were numerous Cuckoos and at least 1 Nightingale.

What's this button here for?

With less than an hour of light we headed back to Canvey and walked out to where the Savis Warbler had been seen the previous evening and heard again in the morning. It was 8.15pm by the time we found the spot and a group of 30 birders. No one had seen or heard the bird for hours and with approximately 100 million gnats feasting on our bare legs and arms we turned about face and headed back to the car.

Friday 22 April 2011

Grasshopper Warbler showing well at The Chase 22 April 2011

Another good session at The Chase this morning (6.45am to 9.00am). The early start was rewarded by the best views yet of the Grasshopper Warbler. At least one Nightingale could be heard intermittently as well as a Cuckoo. Again the 2 Ring Necked Parakeets flew in towards Black Poplar Wood (perhaps they'll breed there?)and there were 3 LRPs on The Slack. I also had my first Common Tern of the year, 2 Lesser Whitethroats and a huge number of Common Whitethroats. Still no Wheatear though.

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Thursday 21 April 2011

Cracking hour tonight at The Chase

I really am making an effort to work The Chase now. After Sophie's piano lesson I headed straight over arriving at 7.30pm. Vince was already there and before I caught up with him I could hear a Nightingale singing from the old Allotment area. Within seconds of meeting Vince the Grasshopper Warbler began reeling away 50 yards away. Initially it played hard to get, burying itself in deep cover. After 10 minutes though it flew right at us landing literally 6 feet away out in the open, shame it only stayed there for 5 seconds before flying onto another bramble 30 feet away. We had a couple of obscured views before it it buried itself in deeper cover and shut up.

We moved further away and stood quietly hoping it would give itself up. We were not disappointed as 15 minutes later it perched out in the open reeling for at least 10 minutes. Unfortunately the light was not great by this time (8.10pm) so I only managed a few record shots. I should mention at this point all along a 2nd Nightingale was singing a couple of hundred yards away!

Finally on the way back to the car, a cuckoo called continuously making it 3 "patch" year ticks in an hour! I'll be back tomorrow am - looking for a Wood Sand on The Slack.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

A week in Norfolk

Spent last week in north Norfolk. We had a lovely relaxing week which was pretty quiet bird wise. Of note, I saw my 3rd Iberian Chiffchaff (Titchwell); saw 1 Gropper and had another 4 reeling away, all within a mile of each other between Thornham and Holme; 5 Gargany, (Titchwell); Blue Headed Wagtail (Titchwell); Golden Pheasant (female) at Wolverton plus loads of other more common migrants.

Slightly annoyingly the one week I was away I missed chances to go for 2 life ticks; Little Crake and Black Stork, both very gettable, but hey what can you do, you've gotta go on your hols!

Monday 18 April 2011

Dagenham Chase - Mon 18 April 6pm to 7.30pm

Bumped into Vince over The Chase. Had 4 Green Sandpipers on The Slack and 1 LRP. Then 2 Ring Necked Parakeets over before heading off to the old allotments to try and relocate the Nightingale that Vince had found a few days earlier. Unfortunately we could not relocate . We parted company and it was only when I got back to the car that I noticed loads of missed calls from Vince! Just a minute after we headed in different locations Vince picked up a Gropper near where we had been walking. I hope it's still there tomorrow!

Friday 8 April 2011

The Chase - 08 April 2011

Quick update from The Chase. Just spent 1.5 hours searching hard for migrants with little joy; just 2 LRP's on The Slack. There were 2 Ring Necked Parakeets in Black Poplar Woods, and yet again I bumped into the 2 Egyption Geese, this time on the flooded area over by the railway line. Unfortunately no Ring Ouzels, Wheatears or Redstarts!

Monday 4 April 2011

The Chase - Sunday 3rd April 2011

I am determined to get out locally and do some birding this year. I have decided to get over The Chase at least twice a week from here in. I grew up just opposite The Chase in Elm Park and have good memories of walking around The Slack and along the River Rom. I can clearly remember seeing my first ever Kingfisher sitting there on a twig overhanging the river as I walked through Black Poplar Wood some 20+ years ago. Since then The Chase has attracted some rare birds with both Pine Bunting and Great Snipe by passing me back in the day. I couldn't get out until an hour or so later that I had hoped. An early morning would have been better but it was Mother's Day and that involves letting Julia have lie in, with tea delivered to her bed side. So after visiting my Mum and the Mother in Law, I headed out late at 5.30pm. There was a chill wind and the skies were looking grey. Of note: NO Kingfisher and NO Little Owl. On the positive side there was a single LRP on The Slack, plus all the usual wildfowl inc: Teal (all with horizontal stripe), Gadwall, Shoveler, Shellduck and one greylag. No other waders and only a Sparrowhawk for the raptor list. As usual there were plenty of Green Woods calling, and one Chiffchaff. Fingers crossed for Ring Ouzel, Wheatear, Wiinchat, an Osprey over heading north and a few waders in the coming weeks.