Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Birding in a rush!

Over at the park this afternoon I noticed all the Black-headed Gulls that make Valentines Park their home for the winter were already here.  In the middle of the lake were some old rowing boats which the gulls love  to sit on.  As my brother who shows no interest in birds was with me, I didn't have much time to look at the gulls for anything interesting in their midst.  So I quickly got the scope on the boat and noticed a Common Gull, which I don't think I've seen here before!  The picture below is digiscoped using a home made adapter, the camera is a Canon IXUS 120IS.

Monday, 30 July 2012

A "tern" in the weather!

I went for a walk around South Thorndon with my Aunt and Uncle.  It started to rain when we arrived, we were soon soaked!  Birding was almost impossible with heavy sheets of rain impeding my vision.  After twenty or so minutes, the rain eased off, and the sun came out!  We were standing by some reeds admiring the Dragonflies and Damselflies, when suddenly we heard a strange noise and looking up we saw two elegant gull like birds, and, as you've probably guessed from the title they were Common Terns!  We watched as they dove and swooped, eventually one caught a fish and they both flew away over the trees.  After a few minutes they were back, and this time after catching another fish one of them landed on top of a ceramic fish before flying off.  As we headed back I noticed a rather large Zebra-Jumping Spider!  I've only ever seen one before and that was half the size of this one.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


I got back from a weeks camping on Friday night.  The weather at the campsite was unbearably hot.  But despite there being a couple of thousand people there, the wildlife was good.  I ended up with 37species of bird, the highlight of which was a couple of Yellowhammers!  One of these birds I was almost guaranteed to see singing for the first few days.  Other birds of note were Linnet, Kestrel and Whitethroat.  Macro-wise there were some good moths including a Poplar Hawkmoth outside the gents bathroom!  a Dingy footman and one that looked like a spotless Ermine-Moth, any suggestions welcome!  Also in a ditch I saw a couple of minute Toadlets! I'll leave you for now with some pictures, enjoy!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Mega macro!

Today we got a DCR-250 macro lens for the camera, a Panasonic FZ38.  It took a while to get used to, but when the sun came out I practised on insects.  The results were brilliant, I look forward to practising with it more.
I'm going camping for a week so I wont be posting anything for a while.  So I shall leave you with these images!

Friday, 13 July 2012

A week of wonder!

On the 6th my father and I went to Valentines Park.  We were walking around the lake when I heard a Goldcrest singing from a stand of conifers.  We waited only a little while before the tiny little bird popped up.  After standing there for ten minutes we noticed that the Goldcrest kept coming back to the same branch, I then realized it was going in with food. There was only one conclusion, it must have a nest in the branch! And I saw my first Stock dove!

On the 12th we went to Rainham  Marshes, I saw my first Sedge Warbler there, making his chattering song! In the woodland area we came across a sunbathing Wren, a family of Reed warblers and a Whitethroat.  All together we saw 36 species of bird! The Spoonbill had been my goal bird, I was gutted to find out it was at LWC Barnes. 

Today, the 13th, my uncle Iain, my Father and I went to Wat Tyler Country Park. By the time we got into the hide we had already seen 20 species of bird. We went in the hide and to my surprise saw eleven Avocets lined up on an island! It was a long way away, but looking through my scope I could make out a fluffy grey thing with one of the adults, which I think was a chick! Considering I had never seen one before I was extremely happy! Other birds from the hide: a Lapwing with three chicks, Mallard, Greylag Geese, Teal, Cormorant, Reed Warbler etc etc…
By the time we left we had seen 37 species of bird, better than Rainham! It’s a brilliant reserve and we’re thinking of going there again for the free guided walk.  

Friday, 6 July 2012

Stansted takes off!

After dropping my Aunt and Uncle at Stansted Airport, my father and I  then headed to Aubrey Buxton nature reserve which is a few miles North of the airport.
We walked along a path and into a field where there were at least half a dozen Rabbits. We then came to a clearing with trees all around. There was large conifer tree with a pair of Goldcrests.
We then came to three consecutive lakes, one higher than the other. On the lakes were Moorhen, a female Mallard with two Ducklings.  I kept hearing a "Piew" followed by the characteristic "Durrharr" of all Tits. I Then found the source of the noise, a small flock of Marsh Tits! This is the first time I have ever seen one. On the drive back home I saw a Yellowhammer! Another first!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Parachuting Pipits!

I've heard a lot of good things about Wanstead Flats, so this morning we headed over there.
The bird I was hoping to see was Skylarks, as I've only ever seen them once in Essex.
While we where sitting eating lunch I managed to pick up the Skylarks distinctive song, and I could just about make out a distant black speck in the sky.  As we walked on we saw more Skylarks and a small bird flew down into a bush, looking through my scope I saw it was a Meadow Pipit!
The Pipit then took off and went 'parachuting down! It then landed again, repeated this process but was joined by another Pipit and flew off.  We carried on walking and I got a surprise as I saw a Skylark in a bush ten feet away!

I took three pictures (which were badly focused) then looked through the scope - just as I got it focused, it flew off. Walking around the lake showed a Pied Wagtail and my first Dragonfly of the year, an Emperor! There were at least two of them around the lake.
Other wildlife we saw were: Small-Heath, Comma, Speckled wood and Red-admiral Butterflies and Common-blue Damselfly and Banded demoiselles. When we were leaving through Wanstead Park we saw a Female Green Woodpecker.

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