The Dark Room

Sunday, 27 September 2020

Common Cranes at Rainham Marshes

After Saturday's poor sea watch off  Margate with PH and only 4 Bonxie and 3 Artic Skua and 2 Snipe being the highlight of a long day, I was keen to go out Sunday morning and make the most of not ringing due to high winds all weekend.

I started off with a river watch at Rainham Marshes RSPB but singles of Dunlin and Black tailed Godwit was not what I was after. A juvenile Wheatear and a Stonechat were feeding along the rocks near Aveley bay car park was a nice distraction. With the river being quiet I had a look on the local Whatsapp group. Jono and some of the boys at Wanstead flats amazingly  picked up 2 Common Cranes  going east that were seen minutes before at Tytenhanger GPs.

So I jumped into my car and drove to Ferry lane as your a bit nearer the river. I thought - as the Cranes went east from Wanstead they may follow the river?- I know I got very lucky!

Both went over my head at height and carried on going east over the reserve. And to be honest the speed I got my camera out of the bag was record breaking :)


Nice to get the dust of the camera again, I think this is the only Wheatear to be on my blog all year.


Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Processed birds

 The past two weekends I've ringed on both days with Paul H but on the 5th we were joined by PRO and Sunitha and on 6th Dave Mo joined us.

5th September - 82 birds processed

6th September - 69 birds processed

12th September - 38 birds processed

13th Sepember - 30 birds processed

The 5th and 6th saw a good passage of Willow Warblers and Greenfinch with 32 ringed on the 6th. The star birds were on that weekend was a 1cy Spotted Flycatcher and a 2cy male Kestrel -both were first for the site.

The 12th and 13th saw us ring the first Meadow Pipits of the Autumn and a Yellow Wagtail - first for the site on the 12th. And again good numbers of  Greenfinch. 

Birds seen around the catching area 2 Whinchat, 2 Spot fly, Hawfinch over, Marsh Harrier, Hobby, Barn Owl and Redstart are all note worthy.


Spot Fly




1cy Meadow Pipit

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Another Tree Pipit

31st August with PH produced 73 birds


29 & 1 rt Blackcap

5 & 1rt Dunnock

1 Tree Pipit

8 Chiffchaff

2 Wren

2 Greenfinch

1 Common Whitethroat

1 Lesser Whitthroat

3 Reed Warbler

2 & 2 rt Blue Tit

1 Goldfinch

3 &2 rt Great Tit

1 Robin

1 Woodpigeon

1 Blackbird

2 &2 rt Long tailed Tit

A mixed bag of birds but another good morning.

Tree Pipit code 3 (juv)

Lesser Whitethroat code 4 (adult)

Thursday, 27 August 2020

A busy August

 I've been busy ringing the last few weeks with PH and enjoyed some good results at our little site. So here are a few highlights. The 8th of August saw us smash our morning total with the help of PRO with over 100 new birds ringed 2 Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Kingfisher and good numbers Garden Warbler were notable.


Juvenile Kingfisher

Grasshopper Warbler 

The 11th and 13th August saw more Juvenile Warblers go through the site - Reed & Sedge, Blackcap.

 The 20th which was a  solo ringing session produced a stunning 1cy Male Pied Flycatcher.

The 24th August highlights were 9 Willow Warbler and 2 Tree pipits both Juveniles.

Tree Pipit

And a total of 7 ringing sessions so far this month plus 4 working visits, we've been busy. And on one of those working visits we had a fly over Great white Egret!


Sunday, 16 August 2020

A short break

 On the 31st August I drove up to north Norfolk with the wife for a short 3 day break in sweltering heat. We stayed again  in The Wiveton Belle like last year. Most of the time was spent on the beaches or enjoying the food in the Dun Cow and  the Black Lion, which are both very nice pubs.

On our last morning in Norfolk we walked around Salthouse enjoying Bearded Tit, Spoonbill, Little and Sandwich Terns, Fulmar etc. All common birds in Norfolk but not here in Hornchurch - so it made a nice change and so was firing off a few images on the camera as most of mine are from the phone when I'm ringing......

Adult Sandwich Tern



Sunday, 26 July 2020

In the garden

Made two visits to our ringing site on the 14th and 17th July with PH catching double figures of common warblers on both dates - these figures will rise as the season goes on........

Back at home in the garden this 2cy Male Sparrowhawk was ringed on the 21st after work. A first for the garden.

 A increase in Golfinches this week with 6 being ringed and no doubt the Sparrowhawk has noticed more birds visiting the garden. A Chiffchaff  was seen on 25th as was a Red Kite over. Other than that Magpies and up to 8 Jackdaw are eating up all the fat balls that were meant for the Rose-coloured Starlings!

Monday, 13 July 2020

Ringing ticks

Saturday morning I joined up with PRO up at the farm with PH for a woodland/garden species ringing session. Over 50 birds processed was a decent total and PH finally got to ring a Pied Wagtail after a five year wait. A code 5 Male was also a first in the hand for me to to be fair - smart birds.

I was up again before 5am Sunday morning with PH ringing at our little site. With over 40 birds processed the highlights were recapturing a male Common Whitethroat ringed back in May 2019 by me as a code 4, which has certainly done some milage migrating back and forth to the south of the Sahara . But bird of the weekend was a beautiful Adult Green Sandpiper, which was a massive surprise when I picked it out of the mist net!