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.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Hope you like Kingfishers...

...because you’re about to be bombarded.


The RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes has worked hard over the past couple of years to encourage Kingfishers to nest in artificial banks. This year things have worked really well. With electric fencing deterring predators, the birds have been able to nest safely and have now produced young. This means constant trips back and forth with food carried out by both parents. And being creatures of habit, they generally rest up (briefly) on the same perches.

But photographing them isn’t as easy as it seems. The hide has a glass front and to keep the birds undisturbed, camouflaged netting has been draped over the glass to hide all the commotion we make when we see these little gems.








Enough.

In other news, a Grasshopper Warbler reeled away near the Serin Mound and even gave good if distant views early morning.

Grasshopper Warbler

Female Wheatear

Speckled Wood

A good day at Dungeness

This year, up to now, I have done all my birding in Essex and Herts. But this week I have managed to slip my chains and abscond down to Kent; Dungeness to be exact. To me, Dungeness is comfort food birding. You know what you’re going to get but Dungeness always chucks in a couple of surprises every now and then.


Dungeness sometimes makes you work for your birds. This was such a day. I generally work the Long Pits, Trapping area and Desert first, looking for migrants. There were a few Chiffchaff and Blackcaps calling. Checked every Blackbird for a Ring Ouzel and spent too long chasing Common Whitethroats for a photo with no success. I wandered about aimlessly before deciding to try sea watching instead. This would surely be stacked with goodies.


As I approached the Nuclear Power Station’s perimeter, the instantly recognisable call of a Black Redstart filled the air. A rather smart male (they’re always smart) sat squarely on a post waiting for me to get my camera out.



Seawatching was slow. Small numbers of Arctic Terns and Common Terns dipped and dived at the Patch. Distantly, a party of six Gannets flew east. A single Black-throated Diver drifted east on the current and an Arctic Skua harassed one of a number of passing Sandwich Terns.

A couple of hours of sea watching is about all I can manage. I skidded down the scree of peebles that help form the sea defence and popped over to the RSPB reserve just down the road. A couple of Black-winged Stilts were enjoying their 3rd day here and I hoped to see them.

So I did but they were a bit distant!
Black-winged Blob
There were plenty of Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers producing one of nature’s incredible surround sound moments with the reed beds seemingly alive with birds but none visible. How do they do that?

Now the Common Whitethroat on the reserve are clearly not related to the ones around the bird observatory that refused to be photographed. Here on the RSPB reserve the whitethroats are proper little superstars who just love having their picture taken. Another mystery I guess.