The Dark Room

Sunday 27 November 2011

High tide count

Today myself and Martin Redfern helped out on the High tide wader count. Organised by Dave Mo. We done ok considering the windy conditions. So here are the results. 415 Dunlin,321 Black tailed Godwit,40 Redshank,4 Lapwing,7 Snipe. Also at the Stone Barges were Rock pipit and a very smart Water pipit. These photographs show how important structures are for roosting birds at high tide and need safe guarding.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Barking Bay

I visted Barking Bay again at the weekend and have started to enjoy this great site. Over the months and years Dave and Paul have found some great birds and I hope that I can too in the future as I am going to visit the Bay more often. I will still bird the Valley aswell and by having these two sites it keeps me interested enough to bird more locally, instead of travelling miles in the car for a days birding.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Short - Eared Owls

With calm and bright conditions this afternoon I choose to go look at the Short- Eared Owls at Rainham Marshes instead of going to see the Humes yellow brow in Suffolk which I still need, and to be honest I can wait for tick. Four Owls were on show and two of them showed really well. One of them marking a very unusual noise when it saw me sitting in the long grass as it went over my head. It beats sitting in the car for five hours any day. So the Humes will have to wait.

(click on photos to enlarge)

Monday 14 November 2011


On Sunday most of my time was watching our daughter play hockey at Wimbledon in a tournament but I still managed to get out and see two Short Eared Owls. Although it was nearly dark, here are some record shots.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Ring ring

Standing on a rubbish tip early on a Saturday morning is not everybodies cup of tea! But I really enjoyed myself, so here are few more photos from the ringing session at Rainham Marshes landfill site.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Gull ringing at Rainham Marshes

Firstly I would like to thank Paul Roper and the North Thames Gull group for a fantastic day spent at Rainham Marshes landfill site, where I was able to take part in ringing gulls. Once Paul went through health and safety, I was able to see the experienced ringers go about there work. Before we even started I noticed a group of Swans going West, which turned out to be 8 Whopper Swans a great start for the day. Also a 1w Caspian Gull put in a brief appearance too. It was great handling and seeing the gulls close, from start to finish it was fun, educational and gave a real insight to gull ringing and something I would like to carry on doing in the future.

The nets laid out and ready to go

A Lesser Black backed gull leaving its mark on my arm

Yellow legged gull

While the others went back, Paul boy, David Callahan and myself waited for our lift back and it was a real stroke of luck as we watched six Yellow legged gulls and a cracking Adult Mediterranean Gull all feed on the fresh rubbish which had just been dumped. While the lorries were moving back and forth the gulls would move out of the way but the Med Gull would always return to the same spot.

Yellow legged Gull

Saturday 5 November 2011

Short eared Owl surprise

On Friday night, we held our local bird meeting up the pub. I say meeting, its just the local birders getting together and having to many beers and eating takeaways that we would not order, if we were sober. As the meeting or piss up went on till late, I didn't have a early start on the patch. The Valley didn't throw up any surprises, just 12 Redpoll, Fieldfare and 4 cracking Bullfinch were the highlights.So I went home for bit of lunch and about 3.30pm made my way to Rainham Marshes to look for Short eared Owls as Dick had a couple last week. Within minutes I had 3 birds hunting in front of me, not close but really great views, Poor light for pictures but stunning views.