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.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Greenish goes AWOL as I go brownish in the sun

You can’t blame rarities when they’re not where they’re supposed to be. After all, they aren’t supposed to be there anyway.

Every now and then, I choose to visit a place a rare bird has been seen. In this case, it was a Greenish Warbler at Northward Hill in Kent. It had turned up only yesterday and I was hopeful that it would be around for a day or two. A few of spent a couple hours searching for the Asian Houdini but to no avail. I did find a Nightingale which gave brief views and green and Great Spotted Warblers kept us entertained.

I left hoping it wouldn’t reappear and headed off to Elmley Marshes to get over it. This was probably a mistake as Elmley is a vast tract of land with very little cover. With the sun already beating down at a steady 26ºc I was going to be toast.

I nearly ran over a Red-legged Partridge as I drove through the entrance gates so that was a new bird for the year. All along the 2 mile track to the reserve there were Lapwings, Yellow Wagtails, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits. As I neared the farm, a Brown Hare popped up and didn’t seem to mind my presence.
Brown Hare
There aren’t many reserves where you can bird watch in the WC. I thought I would make myself comfortable before the 6 mile walk on the reserve which really doesn’t have any cover so having a comfort break can leave you feeling a little exposed. As I answered the call of nature, another call from nature rang in my ears. A family of Swallows had made their home in the toilet block and I was clearly embarrassing them.
Swallow looking a bit embarrassed.
On the trek out, Goldfinches and a single Corn Bunting were singing. On the first set of pools, Avocets cared for the numerous young birds, Redshanks danced nervously about sending up a few Yellow Wagtails and a single Common Sandpiper prodded the mud seemingly without a care in the world.

Common Redshank
Not many trees

While there are no trees to speak of on the grazing marsh, there are small crops of shrub-like bushes that act as song posts for pipits and skylarks. One particular Meadow Pipit was happy to pose for me.

Meadow Pipit
And the sun seemed to really bring the birds out on show as even the usually skulking Reed Warblers gave me the time of day.

Reed Warbler
Approaching the Welland Hide, a Bearded Tit flew across the reedbeds with a few Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers. Overhead, a Marsh Harrier was getting some grief from a few Black-headed Gulls and a bit later the same happened to a Peregrine although I doubt it was the same gang of gulls.

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