Monday, 25 July 2016

Juv Yellow-Legged Gull, Creekmouth 23/7/16

Had a look locally on the Thames for Yellow legs today, firstly at Rainham where several adult birds were on the foreshore.  Had a couple of flyby juvenile birds fly east, but none hung around for any photo opportunities.

The afternoon proved more productive with this cracking juvenile first picked up on the tanks at Beckton sewage works before flying around almost checking me out along the creek.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Ringing Activities

Over the last couple of weeks I've managed to add a couple of new species to my ringing activities. Have had some very smart Common Tern chicks, which nest every year on the "tern rafts" on seventy acres lake up in the lea valley.  Just three birds were ringed on this visit with at least seven pairs still on eggs.

Black-headed gulls also breed on these rafts and we managed to colour ring 48 juveniles.

I also had the opportunity to ring two hand reared Swifts, you can read there remarkable story here:

Thursday, 30 June 2016

More Raptor Ringing

Having ringed Peregrines last month which was gonna be hard to top,  I was very fortunate that PR had found the nest of a pair of Red Kites, nesting on our ringing site up in herts.  Even better when PR emailed me to ask me was if i was interested in ringing the young!!

Richard, our climber, had been in touch and was keen to get involved.  A great job he had done.

Three very docile birds were brought down and processed, absolutely amazing birds.  Hopefully these birds will stick around for us to enjoy.

Friday, 10 June 2016

White Faced Capuchins

The hotel grounds held good number of Howler Monkeys but my favourites were the group of White Faced Capuchins that could be seen in the nearby dry forest.

Unfortunately many of the hotel guest feed these despite being asked not to.....

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Beach Life

A few more images from my recent trip to Costa Rica,  Spotted Sandpiper's were a daily occurrence along the beach with some days holding up to half a dozen birds of various plumage's.

Hudsonian Whimbrel was seen on a couple of days very early in the morning and was a new species for me.

Magnificent Frigate birds are a constant feature along the beach.

Monday, 30 May 2016


I was lucky enough to be involved in ringing some young Peregrines last week at a private site that Dave Mo monitors.  Three young birds were colour ringed, they were about two & a half weeks old and consisted of a male and two female birds.

Great news as last years attempt ended in failure.

She won't be happy with her initials when she grows up!!

Monday, 16 May 2016

Local Quality.

Fantastic birding was to be had at the end of last week.  Firstly on Thursday when a Great-White Egret graced the target pools at rainham, my third one at this site.  Andy finds a late colour ringed  Stone Curlew on wennington (again my third for site), and two Black Terns hawked over aveley pools.  All birds viewable from the serin mound at once!

Saturday afternoon saw me venture a little further east along the A13 to nearbye Vange RSPB to see both Black-winged stilt (pair off), and a superb female Red-footed falcon.  The latter my first for some years now since the seventy acres lake bird up in the lea valley.

Hopefully we will get another at rainham to complete my treble here to.

This little fledgling was along the cycle path at the west end of Rainham, I thought it was all alone until mum pheasant came out and attacked me Capercaillie style!

Sunday, 15 May 2016


I was fortunate to ring some Little Egrets up in the lea valley last weekend, third year for me now, Always great to see these little chaps up close, six birds colour ringed in total on todays visit.

Seven egret nest's found this year, up one from last year's count at this site.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Weekend Wheatears

Last bank holiday brought good numbers of northern Wheatears on the patch with double figure counts daily, At least half a dozen Whinchat across the reserve, a very elusive wryneck for most!
Garden Warbler, Cuckoo and Hobby.

Patch year list: 121

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Patch Update

Lots of new migrants added last week.  Always nice going away in early spring and coming home to the sound of Whitethroat and Sedgies in full song.

Stone Curlew was a nice addition to the year list, having not seen one since 2008.  The rest was bread and butter stuff.

Last Sunday was a bit of a red letter day.  Overnight rain and a cool northerly, I arrived in Aveley bay just after 7am (yes i had a lay in!) It was obvious that there were a group waders on the low tide line, scope up and was amazed to see 23 Knot! 4 Bar-tailed godwit, 6 Dunlin, 4 Ringed plover and a single Sanderling!!

Just beyond the waders sat a pair of Mergansers. All in the same scope, Amazing sight.

Med Gull and a good number of Arctic Terns moved up river, Whinchat on aveley marsh and Gropper reeling along the seawall topped off a great couple of hours birding - all before breakfast.

Rainham Yearlist: 118

bye bye bar-wit.....

Sunday, 24 April 2016


I had a trip out from the hotel to the Monteverde cloud forest.  This was a Thomson run trip so wasn't expecting to see too much, but was keen for a change of scenery.  Plus it was a long way to come and not take the opportunity to go visit a cloud forest!

The journey was a slow four hour minibus ride for our group of twenty.  We went up 1600 metres above sea level on absolute terrible road surface, but this was broken up by a stop at a coffee plantation on route, which to be honest wasn't my cup of tea..... lol

A worth wile visit though as this gave my only opportunity to see Two-toed sloth.  Two were seen not doing too much, hanging around proper sloth style.

Also a nose around here after some lunch produced Rufous-collard sparrow, Common Today-flycatcher, Brown Jay, Yellow-faced grassquit and a fly through Swallow-tailed Kite.

rufous-collared sparrow

swallow-tailed kite harassed by boat billed flycatcher (i think!)

Finally reaching Monteverde (Hanging Bridges), we done the loop trail led by our guide who wasn't too clued up on the bird calls!  We did manage to help him out in finding a singing male Three-Wattled Bellbird and shortly after a pair of superb Resplendent Quetzals (both my target birds!)

the stunning Three-wattled bellbird

on top of everyones wish list - The Quetzal 


Both Collared and Slate throated Redstarts were seen alongside three Black Guan a singing White-throated thrush and several Three-striped warblers fed up in the canopy.  Not bad for an hours walk!

Black Guan

white-throated thrush

The last visit here was the superb Hummingbird garden.  I was absolutely blown away by the number of Hummers zapping around the feeders provided.  An absolute must for anyone visiting Costa Rica.

fem Green-crowned brilliant

fem Purple-throated mountain gem