The Dark Room

Monday 31 December 2012

Gunners Park part 2

Here are some shots I took of the Common Scoter at Gunners Park yesterday and I have to say my favourite out of both sea duck, purely that normally you get to see Scoter in flocks off the Coast and you don't get to see that many on a small lake!.
Both Ducks would feed together at times, great birds to see up close

Sunday 30 December 2012

Gunners Park part 1

The morning couldn't of started any better as I picked out 10 Waxwing on the road side of the A127 near Tesco in Southend, whilst driving to Gunners Park, Shoesburyness for the Female Common Scoter and Female Long-Tailed Duck, which have been around for over a week now. Hawky was already there and we were treated to amazing views and the best I've ever had!. You don't normally get to see sea duck this close, both birds would come close at times if you waited around as we did and didn't seem to mind the amount of people enjoying the park. I took a few photo's, so I will do a part 2 tommorow of the Common Scoter, which was a cracker too!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Camera action!

The weekends Buff-bellied Pipit will be one of my favourite birds of 2012 due to how close it came to everybody around the Reservoir that morning,stunning!. Also 2012, and as many years gone by I've really enjoyed the using the camera but, I'm not the only one who is using the camera on birding days out. As you can see here, more and more birders are too.
What a christmas cracker!

Sunday 16 December 2012

American Buff-bellied Pipit

This morning Martin and I were treated to awesome views of the BB pipit at Queen Mother Reservoir in Berks this morning down to about 3 feet, superb!, but things were not that straight forward as once we arrived people said its flown off!!. So after driving just over an hour we thought we missed it by one minute. After about 20 mins it had suddenly came back and it was high fives again. It was such a great bird to watch and so close too. London has had some great birds this and I hope 2013 is the same.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Waxwings at Costco Lakeside

Costco at Lakeside retail park is always busy with shoppers and some years busy with Waxwings too. Dave Mo and Paulboy were already there when I turn up with 5 birds sitting in the trees and were later on joined by another 10. I Only took about 30 shots when a Sparrowhawk spooked the flock and they moved on. So I hope to go back for another go at these cracking birds.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Nothing,tick and dip

Saturday morning, I was once again on the patch looking for Bittern, but again without joy.. So with nothing really happening at Valley I made my way to Rainham Marshes RSPB to see the 3 Berwick Swan that were on Purfleet scape, which was a site tick for me (thanks for the call H). Sunday morning Martin B joined me at the Stone Barges for the high tide count, where we had 100 Redshank, 150 Dunlin and 13 Lapwing. Not setting the bird world alight with my sightings, but still good to be out. Next up, we both went along to the KGV Reservoir for the Red necked Grebe that DB found the day before. Both of us needed it for our London list, but could not locate it!. We did have 2 Goosander and 7 Goldeneye though, but as we nearly got home we received a call for Dom to say the RN Grebe was now on the Girling Reservoir!!. So we dipped it after all. I was still happy though, because at least we new that we checked and checked that the Grebe wasn't there. I would of been more gutted that we missed it!, then it being on another Reservoir.
The view from KGV Reservoir towards London

Sunday 2 December 2012

Fire in the valley

The occurrence of Firecrest in the Ingrebourne Valley is not regular enough for me. So it was nice to find another one there this morning in the ivy along the roadside near the fishermans gate (Berwick ponds end).I was lucky to get a shot of it too, as I had to stand in the road as the traffic went by. They are smart!

Saturday 1 December 2012

Capel fleet

When ever I go to Capel fleet in Kent its always great, cold but great. With 2 Hen Harriers and 20 Marsh Harriers and a Pergrine being some of the highlights, its one of the places, I like going back to, year after year. The bushes were rammed with Fieldfare and Redwing but couldn't find the Waxwings that were there in the morning but did find 20 Red legged Partridge running down the track. Hopefully I might get another chance to go back to capel fleet when the light is a lot better too in the next few weeks/months. What was also great about today was myself and Martin Blow were joined by my nephew George, who is really taking a interest in birding.
A pale Common Buzzard
1 of 2 Ringed tailed Hen Harriers watched from the viewing mound
Martin and George trying to stay warm, while getting good views of the Raptors
Photo by George aged 11 of a 2w Med Gull ISO 640 in poor light (he done well I thought)

Saturday 24 November 2012

A Waxwing at Rainham Marshes

I've been lucky over the years to see some rare and scarce birds at Rainham Marshes and even found some too, but todays bird, a single Waxwing was a new site tick for me and many other people too. News came out, when I and few other London birders were checking the Gulls on the tip and the only bird of note was a single Med Gull. So we all made a mini twitch along to the Reserve and viewed from the balcony as it stayed in one of the large trees on the garrison estate. Not the best shots of a Waxwing I've taken but who cares, its a Waxwing! and it brighten up a very dull day bird wise and weather wise!!.

Monday 19 November 2012


Here's some poor record shots of the Richard's Pipit I found at Rainham Marshes RSPB on Saturday. As we were walking on the board walk towards the firing butts, a bird called a few times a bit 'sparrow like' and quite loud. I fired off some shots as it flew across from Purfleet scrape towards the sea wall still calling, which you can just see in one of the shots. The flight was undulating and you can see, its a large Pipit and some of the tail feathers are missing and white in the tail. Straight away I phone Howard, who was working that I had a Dicks Pipit go over but on the phone I couldn't tell him about the plumage detail but was 100% sure it was a Richard's Pipit. So when I returned to the centre to show a few people the back of camera, its was case of 'bloody hell well done'. Its my 2rd Richards Pipit for the site as I saw the one Dave Morrison found a few years back and the 4th one I've seen in the UK.If you Google poor flight shots of Richards Pipit, its spot on.

Sunday 18 November 2012


Went down to Dungeness in Kent with Jono,Bradders and Monkey as there have been some good birds there in the last few days/weeks. First up was the Great White Egret on the Arc pit, which showed well from the car. We quickly moved on to the lighthouse to see if the Pallas's Warbler was still around but with clear skies the night before it had moved on. A few finches went over head and we checked the moat which was quiet. Then it was the Glaucous Gull, which showed well out on the mud near the fishing boats and Black Redstart was also nearby. A quick chat with some of the London Birders who were also on a day out in Kent and we were on our way again, but this time to the local cafe for breakfast in New Romney. Once we started eating, news broke of a Desert Warbler at Samphire Hoe and we spent the rest of the day there looking and checking every bush and blade of grass, but with no luck.
3rd Winter Glaucous Gull
Bird of the day for me. I just love Gulls, specially white wingers!

Saturday 17 November 2012

Rainham Marshes

Went along to Rainham Marshes with my nephew George who is 11 years old, for bit of photography, the weather wasn't that great for it but we made the most of it.Marsh Harrier, SE Owl and some good numbers of Waders were the highlights birdwise, but for me was watching George enjoying the use of my camera.

Saturday 10 November 2012

' te-ehp'

Really enjoyed the patch this morning, as soon as I left the car park a Water Rail showed well as did some Cetti's Warblers. As I made my way towards the viewing area I heard a Brambling calling which was defintely bird of the day, which takes me to 110 for the patch year list. I crossed the bridge and went around Berwich Glades where good numbers of Redwings and Fieldfare seemed to be in every bush. Four Bullfinch brighted up the dull day weather wise and 2 Chiffchaff were in with a Tit flock still. Photo wise, only got some record shots of a Kestrel with a Shrew.
Kestrel in black and white
It was nice to see a Kestrel with prey for once..

Sunday 4 November 2012


Here another shot of the very smart Hume's warbler, which kept the small crowd very happy, showing well at times, as it fed along side Goldcrests!
I do like taking crowd shots at twitches showing that all ages go on them, men and women, but worryingly not that many young people!. So next weekend I'm going to take my nephew out birding who is only eleven, so maybe his enjoys our hobby too!