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, 17 February 2013

Dipper delight and some dissent.

Decided to pop up to Thetford in Norfolk yesterday to see the long-staying Black-bellied Dipper. This like our native Dipper but a subspecies found in Northern Europe and as such, rather rare in this country.

Anyway, first a zip up the M11 and A11 until you hit Thetford Forest and then Thetford itself. For all you Dad’s Army fans, this town was where they shot most of the TV series. It’s a lovely town and one that has been overlooked by me in the past.

River Thet
I arrived at the Nuns’ bridge and set about following the riverto the area where the dipper favoured. The ground was very muddy and it was difficult to stay upright. very soon, I found a small group of birders huddled together beside a tributary stream close to the car park. They weren’t cold or having a love in but were all admiring the Black-bellied Dipper that was putting on a display for anyone who was interested. It was incredible to be only 10 feet from the bird. It spent half its time swimming in the stream and the other showing off from an exposed rock or branch in the water.


One decent shot out of many.

Dipper taking a dip.
Up for a breather
All this posing and you still can’t get the focus right, bloody amateurs!
Crowd trouble
Now, of course, everyone was very happy that a) the dipper was there and b) it allowed everyone great views and photo opportunities. However there was some dissent in the crowd. For some reason and that reason was probably greed, one or two of the big-lens brigade felt that a few people were in danger of disturbing the bird. Now it was true that the crowd – about 10 people in total including me were following the dipper along the stream as it moved but they (the dissenters) complained that the rest od us were moving and likely to flush the poor thing. We weren’t. The dissenters with the big lens were the ones with their feet practically in the stream and were the closest (too close??) to the dipper and were the ones most likely to cause it distress. The truth is they wanted their glory shots and everyone else could just go to hell. It was a shame and I would have liked to push one of them in the stream but that might have frightened the dipper or more likely perhaps, given it something to smile about. Who knows?

Birds seen:

Grey Wagtail
Siskin
Black-bellied Dipper
Coal Tit
Common Treecreeper
Egyptian Goose
Song Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Chafinch
Goldfinch
Long-tailed Tit
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Robin
Goldcrest
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Red-legged Partridge

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A quick guide to Northaw Great Wood



I recommend the Yellow Trail if you want to really suffer


And here’s why. The 2.5 mile route feels like 10 if you walk through this stuff and your socks will slide off inside your wellies due to the force of the mud clinging to your boots.



The Blue Trail is pretty but for pussies...
...but you have less chance of taking a bad photo of a Nuthatch
and more chance of getting a good shot of Bracket Fungi.
Birds seen:

Yellow Trail
Common Buzzard x2
Nuthatch x5
Common Treecreeper x4
Coal Tit
Chaffinch
Jay
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Goldcrest
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Woodpigeon
Carrion Crow

Blue Trail
Chaffinch
Blue Tit
Woodpigeon