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.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The space in-between.

Tomorrow we hit the Spring Equinox when we can all spend hours staring at the oven clock trying to remember how the damn thing works so that we can move forward with our lives.

Lee Valley is a bit like my oven clock to some extent. Today I stared at it trying to will it forward into spring so that I could get out of the chilling wind and see the clouds part bringing down rays of warming ultra violet. It didn’t start well as rain sprinkled down from a flat concrete sky. I probably should have stayed in bed for an extra hour so as to balance the one I will lose tomorrow. Still, you know me...

I took my car to the Hooks Marsh car park and walked along Walton’s Walk getting a small blast of spring from a couple of enthusiastic Chiffchaffs. All the regular chaps were about; Chaffinches, Robins, Goldfinches, Song Thrushes and a bucket of Blackbirds that threw themselves at me. I ignored most of these and made my way to Friday Lake. There had been a Redhead Smew here for some while and if spring wasn’t going to play ball, then maybe winter still would.

There was no sign of the Smew and a main pathway had also been shut for maintenance so I only had limited places to view the water. There was one Redhead Goosander, a few Great-crested Grebes and the 'buy one get one free' Tufted Ducks that litter the lakes here.

I went next to Hall Marsh where a Little Egret was stirring up the silt to find food.

Little Egret
A quick circular walk brought me back round to Walton’s Walk where in the relief channel, I found a rather docile drake Goosander. Normally they disappear sharpish like, but this one just floated about like a duck in a bath.


Back at the car park, this Greylag Goose posed happily for photos and I would have done more but it was time to go on duty at the BIP for what might be the last time I’d get a chance to photograph the Bittern.

Greylag Goose
Before getting the BIP ready, I still had time to find what I consider to be an uncommon bird around Fishers Green...a Rook.

And not rare but definitely weird... a black Pheasant...

These seem to be a bit of a speciality around here as I have counted at least 8 different birds.
At the BIP, the wind was getting up and worse still, getting through the viewing windows making things very uncomfortable. Sod the Bittern I thought and went the other side of the BIP where we watch everything from HD cameras with monitors on the wall. While enjoying a hot coffee, one of our regulars flew onto the trunk of the tree outside. We have been getting a pair of Common Treecreepers here daily and getting a few photos was something to do.

Common Treecreeper

Common Treecreeper (although this one seems to be running rather than creeping)
There wasn’t any sign of the Bittern and the reports on our board from the past few days would suggest that they have departed here for their breeding grounds. A Grey Heron did manage to keep some of the punters happy including myself as we lamented the lack of Bitterns.

So now we must wait in that space in-between for the Common Terns to arrive along with all the Warblers, Cuckoos, Waders, Nightingales and Hobbies.

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