Friday, 28 September 2012

Early Worming

Just gone seven this morning we went swimming at Fullwell Cross leisure centre.
On the way there I saw: Collared Doves, Feral Pigeons, Wood Pigeons, Starlings, Mistle Thrushs, Magpie, Jay, Pied Wagtail, Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Red Fox!  On the way back I got Great Tit, House Martin and Carrion Crow.
Back in the Garden I found a Zebra jumping-spider!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Close Call

This morning I saw a Goldcrest in a big conifer in the next-door neighbours garden, the bird decided to stay deep in the bush, so I couldn't get a good view.

In the afternoon we went to Wanstead Flats to see if the Chats had stayed around.  As we were walking through Wanstead Park on the way to the Flats I spotted a soaring Sparrowhawk.

When we arrived at the Flats we saw mixed among a flock of Black-headed Gulls were Common and Lesser blacked-backs. We then headed over to the scrub in-between the "Golden Fleece" and the lake, here were meant to be Chats, or there was a few days ago, as we did not see any.  After searching the scrub land, the lake was next to be searched for anything good.  As we were walking around the lake I spotted a Kestrel fly over and hover not far away, it then came down and landed in the path only twenty foot away!  But as I tried to find it in the view finder a crow mobbed it and it flew only about three feet away from me! I was to surprised to get any of the close fly-by, but got some of it hovering.

As somebody was feeding the birds bread, all the geese, Coots, Moorhens and Mallards came swarming over, tensions built, and it finally got too much for a couple of Moorhens, who broke into a fight.  A total list of 24 was achieved, not that much but it was fairly quiet.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

500-1 chance.

I came up from Brighton to London Victoria at about 2pm.  From there we went to Beddington sewage farm.  Apparently 500+ young Tree Sparrows fledge there every year, so I should have a good chance to see one.  Unluckily you are not allowed to go inside the reserve without a key.  But you could get an okay view from outside through the fence.

On the landfill site there were hundreds of gulls.  Around the lake were: Teals, Herons, Lapwing, Coot, Tufted duck and Black-headed Gull. Along the paths were Chiffchaff, long-tailed Tit, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Magpies, Jays, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Sparrowhawks, and a Peregrine Falcon!  And the number of Tree Sparrows I saw was a big fat zero!  500-1 chance of seeing one, but no luck.

Despite the lack of Tree Sparrows it was an enjoyable walk.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Nuthatch surprise

Yesterday afternoon was spent at the feeder station at Thorndon visitor centre. The weather was as clear as it had been for some while, but that wasn't much, just white cloud, so not brilliant for photos. We had gone to see if we could see any Nuthatches, as Iain had seen them here a few days before.  As soon as we walked up to the feeders a Nuthatch flew into a bush next to me and it soon came down onto the feeders.  Over the next hour or so I managed to stand within four feet of the feeders and the Nuthatch still came down to feed.  I reckon there are about four Nuthatches, as once two landed on the feeders, another chased one of the ones on the feeder off and one called from above.  As I had previously spent a year looking for Nuthatches with no luck, until I went to Warley, they have got to be one of my favourite birds.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Numbers Count!

Yesterday I decided to do a survey at the park, to find out which birds are doing the best.  Highlights of what I saw were; Jays (which I've only seen twice before at the park), Stock Dove and a little Coal Tit,  the Coal Tits spend their winter at the park!  Altogether I saw about 834 birds, and almost half of them were Feral Pigeons!

Friday, 14 September 2012

A rare sight indeed

I'd heard about the Baillons Crake about ten days ago, and on the fourteenth, my Uncle Iain, Father and I headed to Rainham Marshes  at around eleven. We headed straight to the Shooting Butts hide, seeing little of note on the way there, except for a flock of Starlings. The hide was crowded when we arrived, but Howard Vaughan who works there, managed to find me a space in-between two birdwatchers at the window.  It was a great view, but I couldn't stand up because there was a scope set up behind me, and I couldn't kneel because I wouldn't be able to see out the window. After about twenty minutes I saw my first Hobby!  But we left with out success after being there about an hour.

We walked along the board-walk, seeing dozens of Marsh Frogs, I saw seven small ones in the same area at one point. The Hobby gave good views, but was fairly distant, except for one brief fly-by. Out over the other side of the lagoon, were two Black-tailed Godwits, a couple of unidentified waders, Lapwing and Common Gull. As we were coming over a  bridge I noticed something brown sitting on a patch of reeds, it was a Water Vole, and considering they're usually shy, I was surprised to see one in the open!

Cos Strand and Competition.

Yet again we went to the beach, this time we went to Cos Strand.
Cos Strand is a Shingle beach, and is relatively unpopulated.
As we were walking long the shore my aunt Addie pointed out some Seals on an island, behind the island was a small flock of Gannets!
I spent the next hour watching waders, and there were plenty of them: Redshank,Curlew,Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Dunlin were all in good numbers.  And the only views I had had of Dunlins before, were distant, and scoped.
And like every other beach I've been to in Ireland, there were of course Rock Pipits.
And at last I won a photography award - I was the runner-up in the Times Young Wildlife Photographer Competition!


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rock Pools and Rock Pipits

On the 1st of September we went to a beach called White strand.  The rock pools there were crystal clear, and had Hermit Crabs, Fish and huge Shrimp. Bird-wise, there was a Pied Wagtail and a Common Gull (which personally I don't think are that common!). My cousin and I walked out over a large rock formation, which was like a small pier.  As we were nearing the end a bird banked past, a Fulmar! Before I could get a decent picture it had unsurprisingly flown off! A Gannet was also present in the distance.

As we were planning to leave, my cousin called me over and pointed at a bird perched on a rock. He said "I know its probably something common, but look up there", the bird was a Rock Pipit!

On the 5th we went back to that beach, before heading to Derrynane beach. This time the tide was in, so the rock pools weren't accessible. But we did see Rock Pipits, a juvenile Meadow Pipit, Linnets, a distant Oystercatcher, Cormorants and Great Black-backed Gulls.  We then headed to Derrynane beach. As we were walking along the beach I wondered if you got Sanderlings here, as I was reminded of a post by the Wanstead Birder (it is a great blog), which had Sanderlings in it. When I looked round, there was a flock of thirty or so tiny waders, they were Sanderling! There was not much else of note for birds, except for a few Rock Pipits, a small flock of Redshank and a little Egret.  There were a few Rock pools here, and in one my cousin pointed out a Starfish!

As I had never seen either Fulmar or Sanderlings before I'm quite happy with the wildlife at these beaches.
I'm looking forward to being back in England though. No doubt there's been all sorts of rarities near were I live.
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