Friday, 27 December 2013


News breaking on boxing day of the discovery of a Brunnichs Guillemot, a high arctic species related to our own common guillemot, was sure enough having most birders chomping at the bit - but that they had to do the decent thing and visit the in-laws rather than go twitching.  Unless you are abnormal of course!

Arriving at 09:30 and already a couple of hundred birders present, the bird had done a bunk and was feeding out somewhere in the main harbour.  Fortunately the bird returned (after giving us the run around) to its favoured roosting mooring!

The bird was giving excellent views and if you were lucky enough to be standing in the right position when the bird surfaced you could have been lucky to grab a half decent pic.  I unfortunately did not get lucky, but none the less was more than happy seeing this Mega rare bird.

With a supporting cast of a GLOSSY IBIS in Weymouth and a LESSER YELLOWLEGS at Lepe Country Park (Hants), and of course seeing Great northen diver and Black guillemot it wasn't a bad day out.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Med Gull City

Popped to nearby Valentines Park (Ilford) to hopefully grab a few pics of Valentino, now amazingly back for his Fourteenth winter.

With a few slices of bread he can be tempted of the middle of the lake and onto the nearby green.

On the way home had a quick nut around South Park, which as the crow flies is just a mile from my home and found another adult Med, this bird being un-ringed.

Just proves how well this species is doing now, maybe in another 20 years they may out number the bhg's !!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

East Tilbury

A High tide survey at East Tilbury today was fairly quiet, the regular Avocet flock was peaking at 850 birds and the usual other species included Dunlin, both Grey & Ringed plover's and a few Blackwit seen.

A single Marsh Harrier through, two Green sands over and a Goldeneye on the tip pool were the highlights of a very dull day!! lets hope the weather changes soon.

Saturday, 7 December 2013


December's low tide survey along the Hoo peninsula produced all the usual suspects + our highest count of Black-Tailed godwits of the winter which were over the 2000 mark !! 

Both Peregrine and Merlin noted again alongside the regular Marsh Harrier and Buzzard.

Seven Corn Buntings were my highest count at this site, and Two PINKFEET were new site ticks and were found amongst the regular Greylag flock.




non plastic ducks

Corn bunts

  Whats that, Who, A, Cant hear Ya...........

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Rainham Catch 30/11/13

Great morning with the NTGG (north thames gull group) which saw us process one catch, which was a good size, as we are still struggling for food waste again at this site.

Black-headed Gull   60 all colour ringed
Herring Gull   135   100 colour ringed
GBB Gull    2     both colour ringed

two recoveries and three controls on the black heads also.

Nineteen Starlings also in the net were also processed, these were new for me to.

ageing and sexing starlings

LBB enters the area...

Chooses his spot

This is my shit....

Go away..shu.....

one of the mighty GBB.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Patch Rewards.

Having turned down a couple of offers today to twitch the Orphean in Wales I decided to do the decent thing and go to work!!  Yes being self employed sometimes has its disadvantages but 10 + hours in the car was not really selling it for me either.

Anyway getting home at 14:30 I decided to have a quick look at the mighty Maysebrook Park, which is just a stones throw from my home, and with just over an hours worth of light chose to visit my local park that I have neglected for the last couple of months.

On arrival it was evident that the lake was covered in gulls, this is quite normal for a Sunday as most of the local tips being closed all day gives sites like this an opportunity to pick up something a little different.

Boom!  A fine red head GOOSANDER appears in view, and only my third for the site.  As I grab the camera for a few record shots I scan around only to discover a bloody GOLDENEYE.  This is only my second record with an over wintering female some 15years or so ago!!

Too much Excitemen!! I scan amongst the gulls and find this advanced second winter YELLOW-LEGGED GULL, this being another second record ever for me here.

And if it couldn't get any better a flyover juv PEREGRINE put in a brief appearance.

So what a great buzz for such a short visit, and probably much more of a buzz than I would have got seeing that taffy warbler!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Hoo Peninsula 23/11/13

November's low tide count on the Hoo peninsula proved bitterly cold but plenty of birds see for me and Mo,
resulting in a mass increase of Knot, Dunlin, Lapwing and Golden Plover in good numbers.

The female Merlin was again seen as well as a new juv male causing the wader's havoc, as were the regular Marsh Harrier's and Peregrines.

Bearded Tits increased with several small groups and a flock of twelve seen.

Mo picked up a Lap bunt, and eight Eider mid river for a bit of variety, and four Ruff and a single Brent was all i could muster.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Some more pics of the Laughing Gull from last weeks holiday, which is just a distant memory now :-(

These shots were taken on my small lens Canon EF 24-105mm, where i had lots of fun taking the shots as the birds were feeding from my hand, so not the sharpest but very enjoyable.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

More from Hoo.

So yesterday's survey was completed in glorious sunshine for me and Mo, which makes a nice change as the Hoo peninsula can be raw and blustery place.

A high tide survey which saw an increase in both Lapwing and Wigeon on the previous month and Golden Plover also building up.

On private land i picked up a single Woodlark which i also had on last months transit, and a bonus Lap bunt that flew around calling, with both birds being the host of a small Skylark flock.

Marsh Harrier were in good numbers and both Peregrine and Merlin were seen causing havoc, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel completed the raptor list.

distant fem merlin

Good numbers of Beardies from the ditches and a single Corn Bunting on rough ground were also noted.