Thursday, 16 May 2013

What I've Been up to...

On the 4th of May last year, I visited Rainham Marshes.  And what a good day it turned out to be. There were hundreds of Swifts, thousands maybe.  Swallow, House Martin and Sand Martin in their dozens, White Wagtail and Yellow Wagtail, but the crown went to a Black-necked Grebe.  At the time, many of the common migrants I saw there were life-ticks, and so very exciting.
 My cousin Caleb -who I have mentioned before- was over for a week. So last Thursday I thought Rainham would be the best bet....Well...I can't say it wasn't good, but Swift only numbered in their dozens, 1 Swallow and a possible Martin.  However with a bit of patience, I managed to pick up a Godwit, I believe a Black-tailed, but as its head was the only thing showing it was hard to identify.  A Sedge Warbler flashed out of the reeds into a bush, only identifiable by the song, year-tick 130, and then year-tick 131 came in the form of 2 Little-ringed Plovers.  So far away it took me a couple of minutes to locate them through the scope, and even then they were dots.  But still, as well as a year-tick they were a life-tick.
 As we came back through the Visitor center Caleb noticed the Male Pheasant who inhabits the feeder area. So we went down and sneaked up on him.  He was on the other side of a fence, and was obscured by foliage, so that only his head was on show.  He seemed not at all bothered by two people aiming cameras at him. I imagine, as Rainham is quite a popular reserve, he is used to people, so paid us no attention.  This was a great opportunity for me, as I had before managed no decent images of a Pheasant.  Probably as they are quite shy, and always ready to take flight. This is no surprise as they have been -and still are- hunted for many years, and this is no doubt a good survival strategy.

On the patch things are starting to pick up, with 4 Egyptian goslings, 1 Canada Gosling, a couple of broods of Mallard ducklings, a young Moorhen and 4 young Coot.  The pair of Great-crested Grebes are still about, and one pair of Swans is on eggs, and has been for a few weeks, so it shouldn't be long before the cygnets are about.  Last year they raised their whole brood, numbering at eight.  And as far as I could tell they all made it to adulthood.

Feral Pigeons are not to everybody's taste, but I had a go at photographing them, as -shock horror- I haven't really photographed them before.  This bird just sat there, happy for me to change angles and settings.

I'm aware that this post is dragging on a bit, so I will try to keep the rest as short as possible.  A walk through Hyde Park on Wednesday afternoon proved quite successful, with House Martin taking my year-list to 132.  Over the lake Swifts had gathered in numbers, with a few Swallow and House Martin mixed in.  A search for the Little Owl proved fruitless, probably as we were looking in the wrong trees, but - weather providing - we'll look again Friday.

Before I end this post, I would like to ask if you have noticed any difference in image quality?  I have tried to cut down on the little amount of post-editing I do -for more info see here- with many of these images being only cropped, are they better or worse?  It wouldn't surprise me if better were the case, as I am well...not the best when it comes to post-editing.  So I've been trying really hard to make no reason for post editing to be necessary.
 OK, that's not the end.  Up Tower 42 with David Lindo this morning we saw the first ever Marsh and Hen Harrier seen from up there, well I didn't see the Hen but I briefly saw the Marsh. If you were in doubt, this should prove to you that I can write short and sweet.


  1. Bonitas capturas,las del Faisan me gustan mucho.Saludos

  2. I thought all the pictures looked great, especially the snoozing pheasant.


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