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.


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Today’s motto when birding is 'expect the unexpected.'

The last few weeks have been manic at work mainly due to one particular client and getting any 'before work' birding has been near impossible and very frustrating. This morning I did manage to get an hour at one of my favourite work patches, namely South Fambridge.

I was hoping to see my first autumn arrivals like Whinchat or maybe a Black Tern along the estuary or something. Things were pretty quiet but I was glad for the peace and tranquility this site brings. A few Reed Warblers were still croaking out splutterings of notes but rather half-heartedly now. The shoreline had a few piping Curlew and Redshank while in the distance three Black-tailed Godwits probed and prodded the mud for breakfast.

The skies were overcast but the air was warm and scented with wildflower and nothing really mattered. I walked high along the seawall path and any movement in the sky was largely due to Woodpigeons.

A few of these pigeons came down on a recently harvested corn? field. A much larger and darker creature suddenly caught my attention. Due to the location, I immediately assumed it to be a Marsh Harrier. Still, it was worth a snap so I took a couple of pictures but knew the distance and the light conditions would relegate it to the annuls of my hard drive for ever.

It then got annoyed at a low flying Kestrel and lifted itself off into the air. I attempted to capture this but totally failed. I didn’t however, fail to notice the whiter than white rump this so called Marsh Harrier possessed. It probably wasn’t a Hen Harrier because of the time of year and the bird’s rusty colouring so could I dare think it to be a Montagu’s Harrier?
Montagu’s Harrier

With a good deal of help from The Southend Ornithological Group’s Don Petrie, it could be confirmed as a Monty. Obviously I was pleased as this has been a bit of a bogey bird for me in the past.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Not exactly Sir Peter Scott but what the hell....

Dotterel, circa 1999
Okay, it doesn’t look anything like Sir Peter Scott but you know what I mean. At my age it’s easy to forget what I did yesterday let alone 13 years ago. This watercolour resides in my mum’s dining room and although she is a keen collector of my masterpieces – like only a mum could be, I always forget about this one.

Not sure why I painted a Dotterel. It’s a smart bird with the female bucking the trend and being more striking or at least slightly more striking than the male. Rubbish plumage observation and as for the legs, less said the better.