The Dark Room

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Through the looking glass

This male Green Woodpecker has been visiting our garden regularly now for over the past two weeks and at times shows quite well.  The only problem is trying  to photogragh it through the glass window like the image below...

ISO 640 5.6 plus 28mm double glazed unit

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Wax on Wax off

Saturday afternoon I kicked started my Ingrebourne Valley patch year list for a whopping total of 57 species with Barn Owl, Grey Wagtail, Redpoll and Red legged Partridge being the highlights. Most, if not all the time spent on the patch I was trying to refind the Great Grey Shrike that was seen briefly on Friday late afternoon by Dave Mc ( well done btw) So a bigger total would of been more achievable.

Sunday morning I went along to Harold Hill near the B&Q and had about ten minutes with the 22 Waxwings before they flew off. Good views but light was dull so had to push the ISO to 1000 to get any chance of a reasonable image. So what with seeing the 4 Waxwings at Rayleigh last weekend and finding a single bird near the circus tavern/Esso garage in Purfleet the same day 2017 is being a good year to see one locally.

Waxwing in Harold Hill

Monday, 2 January 2017

Birthday birding

So the 2nd January is my birthday and I'm 46 today and with all the presents,cards and piles of money to open it wasn't a early start. However  I arrived at Rayleigh weir at 9.40am to see the 4 Waxwings at the glamorous industrial site in the Mc Donald's car park. With the fast food restaurant being very busy the Waxwings was always being disturbed when feeding as the trees are very close to the road and foot path.
Light was good but with the temperature being bloody cold, I've got a bit of camera shake even with using the mono pod.

Always  good see though and a good year tick!

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

27th December

Spent a couple of hours over Rainham Marshes this morning with the highlights being: 2 Short-eared Owls, 3 Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, 500 Dunlin, 12 Black-tailed Godwit, 11 Snipe, 50 Redshank.

Short-eared Owl from the Serin mound

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler

It's been a fantastic year for Yellow-browed Warblers being recorded up and down the country and with a few records locally  it was the best chance for me to finally add it to my Essex and London lists. So Sunday morning I finally went to twitch one in Wanstead -first one I've gone for, and all I had to do was get off my lazy arse and enjoy the little Siberian gem from the east that Nick Croft found in the week. And being the gent he is he waited for me to arrive and show exactly where to find it- cheers Nick.

With the bird calling on arrival it didn't take to long either for cracking views of it on the island at Alexander lake and with just four birders in total on a sunny morning  it was more than pleasurable and with the other Wanstead birders all putting a good shift in, no doubt I'll be back watching another good bird. Or I might even find one myself having enjoyed their patch so much!

Not great shots but to just hear and even glimpse one in London/Essex I'm more than happy, so these record shots are a extra bonus.


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Forster's Tern then mine

On Saturday afternoon when the news broke of  a 1st winter Forster's Tern showing well at Mistley Quay in my home county of Essex , I was watching my daughter play hockey, while others of towie were enjoying superb views of this north American rare. So, Sunday  morning I pick up Martin Blow still smelling of the nights before dinner and beers we turn up to find the tide was out, Arse!

Anyway after some serious searching we couldn't refind it and retreated to the very nice pub that served breakfast called The Mistley Thorn but as soon as our gourmet breakfast arrived the phone when off saying Forster's Tern still west of the Quay, Arse!

We follow the other birders out of the pub and nick the last space in the car park by the rail crossing and connect with of prize that shone and lit up the grey sky and estuary. With good scope views and what looked like it was heading back to the Quay, we too headed back and luckily enough it gave us a much better view and a chance to get a record shot.

Other than counting Pintail by the Quay while waiting for the Tern to show again that was it.(twitching at it's best)

Thursday, 10 November 2016


Last Saturday was very similar to the one before, in that  I visited Rainham Marshes, heard a bird call before seeing it but this time it was a Dartford Warbler. Another good bird for the reserve and hot on  the heels of the Dusky Warbler  and self found which is very rewarding as you would expect. It was in the gorse bushes just past the Serin mound on the left, but as soon as it was on view in the bins it flicked down in the brambles below the path and stayed out of sight while I tried to get a record shot.

And just like last week I failed to get any images of the day, so here is one from Iceland where there was no problem getting one.

Meadow Pipit