The Dark Room

Sunday 29 April 2012

Skua pleasure

The forecast looked good for a river watch this morning and like other local birders I wanted to watch along the Thames. I choose the Stone Barges and must of stepped in rocking horse shit when leaving the house as I got very lucky again. I spoke to Paul to see how he and Dave were doing at Barking Bay but replied "very quiet". So I was not to hopeful of a good river watch. The first hour was very quiet until a dark phase Arctic Skua went up river followed by a Great Skua minutes later!!! Unbelievable. I've seen Arctic and Great skua at Rainham before but seeing both is very rare and lucky too. The camera was in the bag when the Skua's passed, so getting the camera out, taking lens cap off, switching it on, unlocking it and trying to point it out of the van in the rain was a miracle that I got these crap pictures. The last time I used it the weather was sunny and was still on ISO 200 not good for taking pics in dark cloudy conditions. Oh well. The Great Skua did make its way back to the barges and sat on the river so I moved the ISO up 1000 but still no improvement. Well you can see what it is, can't you?

Tuesday 24 April 2012

What do you think?

Here is a bird that I saw when in Gran canaria the other week and look at the length of its bill,leg colour and primary projection. What do you think? as I am unsure myself.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Ouzel at Barking Bay

After missing the Ring Ouzel on the patch this morning. I went along to Barking Bay to see if it was still kicking around after being seen some six days ago? Lucky for me and Paul it was but,it was more than difficult to see at times. When we could not see it, we certainly could hear it 'tuck''tuck' in one of the few trees there. Also seen were Snipe, 2 Wheatear and 100 Black tailed Godwit on the foreshore.

That's the way it goes?

All this week I've been birding the patch and watching my patch year list total go up daily, which is now 92, but this morning I missed two great patch birds, Ring Ouzel and Redstart. Paulboy was on site first and jammed on the Ouzel at first light (well done Paul)and the Redstart was seen first by another birder? and lucky Paul manged to see it too. While I was on the other side of the Valley (typical). It just goes to show that you can't see everything, unless your Paulboy...
Great spotted woodpecker doing some spring cleaning

Monday 16 April 2012

More from our hoilday

We have been back in the UK for over six days now from our hoilday and its seems much longer. So here are some more shots to remind me of our great time away.....

Saturday 14 April 2012

Yellow-legged Gulls

Yellow-legged Gulls were seen daily on our cruise when we pulled in to any of the ports and I know Gulls, may not be every ones cup of tea, but myself over the last few years are finding them much more interesting than ever.

Thursday 12 April 2012

Cory's Shearwater

There was so much to do on board our cruise like the on board surf simulator,ice skating,fitness centre,food and drink etc but I still enjoyed a bit of a sea watch on deck five every evening. Especially when getting views of Cory's Shearwaters as they came close to our ship at times.

Must of seen at least 50 Dolphin over the 11 days

Wednesday 11 April 2012

11 days in the Med

Here are just a couple of shots from our time cruising around the med on The Independence of the Seas. Stopping at Vigo,Lisbon,Gran Canaria,Tenerife,La Coruna and my favourite Madeira.

Great Grey Shrike are such cracking birds when seen close up


Black Redstart

Trying to tell these two that I was actually taking pictures of birds was more than a awkward moment.(honest)