Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Brilliant birthday birding

I know life begins at forty but what happens at fifty? Well I can tell you, nothing bad. Okay, it’s only been one day but what a day it was.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I like an early morning wander along the seawall at South Fambridge. So at 7.30am with the sun warming up the chilly early morning air, I took the usual route west. There wasn’t much about. A few skylarks were singing somewhere up in the heavens (not long for me now) and a couple of corn buntings played birds on a wire. Along the river, Brent geese were collecting and getting ready to leave these shores for the summer and the usual waders, oystercatchers, curlews and redshanks added the atmospherics with their echoing calls.

On the way back, a few reed buntings flitted about in the narrow reeds that margin the fine strips of water that run parallel to the path. Just before you get to the entrance to the bridleway, there are a few old buildings that have seen better days. There were robins, dunnocks, blackbirds, chaffinches and house sparrows but one other bird caught my eye. The flickering tail and restless nature of this small bird didn’t quite fit in with the other birds.

It was a black redstart. There has been one at Shoebury in recent weeks but I didn’t expect to see one here. I thought I’d better get moving as the journey to work from here is a gauntlet run past some of Essex’s most jobsworth lollipop people (Easily five along the route into Rochford)

Black Redstart
However, a minute further on and a short-eared owl decided to put in a show along the seawall before pouncing on some poor unsuspecting vole or similar in the long grass by the entrance. Now I’m going to be late. Still it was my birthday and I was sure no one would mind. Managed to get some distant shots of the owl but it spent most of its time munching away on the rodent.

Short-eared Owl
A brilliant start to being 50. Can’t wait for tomorrow.

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