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, 30 April 2012

Clocking a few birds in South Fambridge

After rains of biblical proportions, it was nice to see a clear sky this morning coupled with a warmish air. This meant I could steal an hour at South Fambridge before beginning the working week.

You sometimes get a good feeling about birds in terms of quality and quantity and this morning as I opened the car door I knew it would be good. The air was full of birdsong and small LBJs were hopping from tree to tree – difficult to know where to look as so much was happening.

One hour is a long time if you’re stuck in a boring meeting or saddled with someone who just wants to tell you about their new ipad app (probably should point out that I possibly bore people in the same way about birding) But one hour with so much potential like this morning is like a nano second to me.
Sunny South Fambridge
About five minutes in and the quintessential sound of spring in the shape of a Cuckoo could be heard somewhere across the fields. A quick scan of the tops of the trees and bushes revealed one bird in full view. This was my first cuckoo of the year which for me quite late. But hey, it’s all good.

Cuckoo and my clock was still ticking
Ten minutes in and the numbers of Reed Buntings were high. This is a bit annoying as every time a bird flew across my field of vision, I’d get all excited only to be met by yet another reedy. Eventually I decided to take a picture of one male reed bunting but it was, as usual, half hidden by some hawthorn branches. They do this on purpose just to see my face getting redder from the frustration. They have a little snigger at this I think.

But what’s this? Just as I think of giving up on the bunting, a Yellow Wagtail land on an adjacent branch. Sling your hook reed bunting, I’ve got a new star now.

Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
A really beautiful and bright yellow bird. and I was only twenty minutes into the hour. There are some modest reed beds along the track and these held a few Reed Warblers but none actually could be seen. The usual Brown Hares and Pheasants clung to the edges of the fields and an occasional Swallow zipped low 'below the radar' coming off the river and over the fields.

Whimbrel
A Whimbrel caught my eye as I stepped up onto the seawall. It was difficult to get a good shot as the sun was in the wrong position. Another two birds called loudly as they flew overhead. My sun dial now told me that I needed to start heading back I was now 40 minutes into my hour.

Back at the entrance, Blackcaps and Common Whitethroats were vying for attention but it was a more distant and Tinnitus-like sound that interested me. I had heard and seen a Grasshopper Warbler near here a week or so ago and this time there seemed to be two or more birds reeling. I didn’t have time to wait to see if they would appear but I will be returning to investigate this at another time soon. But for now and if you know the sound of TV’s Countdown clock that’s all I have time for.

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