The Dark Room

Sunday 30 September 2012


Spent Saturday 29th September up at Norfolk with Martin Redfern, where we started the day with a large group of Pink-footed Geese crossing the sky line at Happisburgh. We were hoping to see the Buff breasted Sandpiper that was there on Friday, but it wasn't to be. The only birds in the field were Ringed Plover and a Wheatear. Off shore we had a cracking Adult Little Gull and a good passage of Auks,Gannet and 3 Jays come in off the sea and a late Swift. Next was Waxham and then finally ending up at Horsey where we tried to find some migrants in the bushes and in the dunes but with no luck everything had moved on from last weekend. In the bright sunshine and calm looking sea we had some great views of Red throated Divers some still in breeding plumage which were very smart. No migrants to find but still enjoyed the day as always!
Lighthouse at Happisburgh
It was such a shame to see a young seal pup dead on the beach at Horsey.

Sunday 23 September 2012

Canvey Coastguards

Went along to Canvey for a seawatch and had 4 Sabine's Gull all which were juv's, 2 Little Terns, Great and Artic Skua's, good numbers of Gannet which most of them flew back out to sea and didn't make it to Rainham Marshes. Little Gulls both Adult and Juv and some Med Gulls which are always good to see. Weather wise it was really windy and it was raining prefect for a good seawatch, but I didn't see the Leach's Petrel that went past.Why?. I left 5 minutes before it!. It was Sunday roast my favourite!.
If only the views were like this every time you got a Sab's gull on a seawatch.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Short- billed Dowitcher

This morning was very straight forward for once. I got picked up at 6am by Martin Blow and was at Lodmoor RSPB in Dorset by 9am to try and see the 2nd Short-billed Dowitcher for the UK. It was on show as we arrived and gave great scope views for over 20 mins and a quick flight view too and long enough for us to check those important tertials.
Record shots of the Short-billed Dowitcher
Steve Young at work taking pictures for Birdwatch magazine?
Some of the 30+ crowd while we were there.

Saturday 15 September 2012

Rainham Tip

Went along to Rainham Marshes Tip this morning with the NTGG to have ago at catching some Yellow Legged Gulls as there have been a good number of them recently, but although there were good numbers of them we were unable to catch and ring any of them due to them not going into the catching area. They just didn't want to feed on the rubbish we put out for them. We did have Yellow wagtails over and Peregrine but today was meant from Gull ringing.
Yellow legged Gull

Sunday 9 September 2012


Here are some images taken at Rainham Marshes RSPB yesterday after seeing the Baillon's Crake, I just went for a walk round the reserve and found this confiding Kestrel.I've never seen a Kestrel have a dust bath before. Stunning!.

Saturday 8 September 2012

Baillon's Crake

There we were down the pub for the birders monthly drink and Howard Vaughan rings Paul to say that some lady walked into the centre at Rainham Mashes RSPB saying see had some great shots of a Water rail and luckly enough Howard was there to point out it was a Baillon's Crake!!!. So being a volunteer I was able to be on site at 5.40am to help out and lucky for me to get good views with a few others who were there before me. It was only on show for ten mins while I was there and was seen again twice by a few of us too. Cracking little bird!!!. Big thanks must go to 'H' for sorting everything out on site, so that we all could get to see this rare vagrant.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Taking stock

It seems that I'm like most birders at the moment who is happy birding the patch! But for how long? With news of a Short-billed Dowitcher in Dorset most birders will leave there patch this weekend if it stays? to go and see this 'Mega' Wader and the fact the twitching season is not far away. I was wondering what will be missed locally due to the amount of time they could be away visiting other people's patch whilst gaining a tick! and the same applies to me too. Time will tell?
Stock Dove

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Centre Parcs

The weekend has come and gone but it went really quick due to the fact that went to Centre Parcs for two days with a few of our family, and anytime that we do go there we are always busy playing sport ie Badminton,Table tennis,Swimming and a little bit of fishing (Phew) we were busy but like any dad/uncle I made sure that we all went along to the bird hide. The childern loved watching Marsh Tit,Nuthatch,Coal tit and more common birds up close, but the Muntjac was a added bonus!!.

Monday 3 September 2012

Four at the top

Checked the top paddock this evening after work with Paul to find that there were still 4 Whinchat on the fence line. After dropping off Paul I went back on the patch, but this time with my camera. It's never easy to get close to a Whinchat but I tried my best by crawling along the grass and staying low. Just watching them catch flies and hearing them call is what patch birding is all about and if I get good or bad pictures, who cares Whinchats are still cracking birds to watch.