The Dark Room

Sunday 28 December 2014

Wallasea Island

Although it was a cold and early start this morning it was worth braving the freezing temperature at Wallasea Island Essex. I've only  visited a few times before so it made a very nice change after only birding the Ingrebourne Valley of late.  Hen Harrier, 2 SEO, 3 Marsh Harrier and 60+ Corn Bunting were seen in just the first half hour of light, a real change of fortune as 2 Marsh Harrier were best in a months birding the patch this month!

 I also enjoyed getting the camera out again due to my one being redundant with the lack of birds being seen and it still not working, so thanks Les for letting me use his spare canon 50 d body.

Although I took a hundred or so images here are my two favourites from the session the rest ended up the the bin and thanks to Lee, Monkey, Martin Redfern and my young nephew George for great morning out.....

Female Stonechat

Corn Bunting

Thursday 27 November 2014

I will survive!

Having not pressed the shutter on my camera for a couple of weeks due to work, bad weather and the fact that the camera has been back and forth to the repair shop. Hopefully this weekend maybe different. If not I'll just carry on and survive another weekend without it, but I really miss it!

Sunday 9 November 2014

Shades of Grey

Unlike most birders this weekend I didn't get a chance to visit the coast and go and see one of three Desert Wheatear's that were still hanging around. If I hadn't been working all this weekend I would of gone too. So here is another image from Tuesday at Leydown Kent of a Grey Plover. 

Thursday 6 November 2014


These two Stonechat at Harty Ferry in Kent showed nicely for the camera at close range, with the sun light behind me and a slight breeze in the right direction they were both always looking at the lens. Due to the small size of the reed bed its nice to be able to get a clear background for a change, although its a small reedbed it still held Cetti's Warbler, Kingfisher, Bearded Tit, Robin and Reed Bunting.

Due to my Cannon 1D mk11n in for repair, Martin Blow let me borrow his 50D for the day, cheers mate!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Male Bearded Tit

A early and cold start at Harty ferry on Tuesday morning with Dave Mo produced good views of a small group of Bearded Tits including this cracking Male in the reed bed behind the viewing area.

With Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard, Peregrine and two very showy Stonechat it was a very enjoyable morning out in Kent.

Friday 31 October 2014

Beards at Rainham Marshes

It's been a couple of weeks since I've pressed the shutter button on my old 1d mk 11 camera body and when I had the chance to press it this morning over at Rainham Marshes RSPB, it was still in my bag as a Raven flew low and calling along the foreshore West. A welcome site and London tick! Once the camera was out, the battery wasn't in correctly so I failed to get a image. So, after making a school boy error things turned out much better. 2 Corn Bunting were with a group of Meadow Pipit and once in the Reserve I heard a group of 8 Bearded Tits high over the Rifle Butts which dropped in the reed bed near the Dragonfly pool.

A couple of smart Males were in the group, which made their way through the reed bed all to quickly.

Friday 24 October 2014

Ring Ouzel

Haven't done any birding till this afternoon  (Friday) after work, so it was certainly nice to just get out. Ok, not on the patch or to twitch the Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Cornwall but to see a couple of local Ring Ouzels, where two showed well on the slack at the Dagenham Chase-where I done all and only birding as a kid!. Thanks to Vince for finding them and Russ S for his image for the blog.

Sunday 19 October 2014

A mixed bag

The last seven days have certainly brought a mixed bag of fortune. As last Sunday on the patch I had a Pintail on the back pool, which is a patch tick! and more importantly, only the second time Pintail has been recorded at the valley. Wednesday evening the Short-eared Owl was still on site over the farmers field found by Dick on the Sunday and only the second time I've seen one on the patch.

So, Saturday I treated myself a rare day off from working-yes I've been working a few Saturdays lately and went down to Dungeness Kent. With Ring Ouzel and Yellow- brow Warblers dominating around the coast there was a good chance of finding some? (wrong) Never mind, a very enjoyable time anyway around the moat and desert area looking at 1 Chiffchaff and a few Stonechat and a few flocks of Goldfinch over, hmmmm. A look out at sea near the patch and Kittiwakes were moving along as Gannets and noticed a Juv Arctic Skua harassing the Gulls but with the patch in the morning the Sun is always behind the birds so you get a silhouette as the below. On the way home I popped in to the reserve and found the Cattle Egret still in with the cattle near the entrance gate on the right about 300m away.

 Arctic Skua

this is what a Cattle Egret looks like at 300m away, its the white thing in the middle, honest...

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Center Parcs

Other than enjoying quality family time, sporting activates and the new water ride at Center Parcs Elevden at the weekend. Our patio became another highlight of the busy short break with it being a haven for birds and wildlife. Two Weasel, Badger, Muntjac Deer, loads of Squirrels and a few Rabbits kept the kids entertained as did the Nuthatch, Jay, Goldcrest and Coal tits all from the comfort of our lodge. It's why we always go back as it brings our daughter and my sisters kids all that little bit closer to nature. Below are images of a Nuthatch taken from the patio.

Monday 6 October 2014


At this time of year Jays are active collecting acorns and nuts which will be cached for the winter months ahead. Normally shy and difficult to photograph these two Jays put the weekends session in Thetford right up there as one of my best in terms of enjoying the moment, in the past I've only got shots of a Jays rear ends as they fly away. So I'm very pleased with the results.


Sunday 21 September 2014

Gunners Park

After the mid-week high of finally getting Ruff on the patch and waiting 19 years for it, 4 turned up at once on the viewing area Tuesday evening. So, I thought that by going to Gunners Park Sunday and seeing the Barred Warbler it would mixed things up a bit birding wise, but it wasn't to be after standing around for 2 hours with no joy. Its only a year tick anyway and their were some Gulls to be papped near Southend on Sea.

 Common Gull

Tuesday 9 September 2014

The viewing area

Once again the viewing area is looking good with near perfect water levels by luck as we don't have anyone to control the levels but lady luck is kind this year. The Black-tailed Godwits are still here this evening as Green Sandpiper, Snipe and this Little Egret below. Hopefully something else with a bit more quality might drop in this autumn and hopefully a bit nearer for the camera than this image.