The Dark Room

Monday 25 January 2016

In the bag

Working six days a week again doesn't leave much spare time for birding. However I did spend two hours over Rainham Marshes late Saturday afternoon.

8 Black- tailed Godwit, 100 Redshank, Green Sandpiper and a few Dunlin were at the Stone Barges. Added Common Buzzard for the year list and that posh boy from Wanstead was also a year tick. Marsh Harrier and 1 Short-eared Owl was out over Wenningtom Marsh but to far away for the camera- which stayed in the bag.

So, all images below are from Suffolk.


 Marsh Tit

Coal Tit

Wednesday 20 January 2016


On one of the small partly frozen lakes in Evleden Forest 10 Goosander showed nicely, although always wary.

 It was more of holding back then getting closer as they seemed nervous. Not wanting to flush them, I stayed well back so all images are well cropped.

Light was a problem due to being in the middle of large forest and the tall pine trees keeping out most of the little light was available on a cold Saturday morning.

Great birds though..

All images were ISO 1600 F5.6 1/320 to 1/200

Monday 18 January 2016

Nuthatch in the garden

Spent the weekend up in Suffolk at Elvedon forest with the family, where we filled our days with Badminton, Squash, Swimming and still had time to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. One of the lakes held 10 Goosander which provided us all good views and the garden was full of Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Siskin, Blue and Great tits, Treecreeper and a pair of Nuthatch plus 3 Muntjac on our patio. That's why we enjoy going back year after year.

Monday 11 January 2016

Short-eared Owl

The Short-eared Owls were showing nicely at Rainham Marshes RSPB on Sunday morning, not always at close range but with a bit of field craft and a lot of  luck they do show really well at times. I've photographed this individual before over the last few weeks, which is easily recognisable in flight, due to some missing primaries in the left wing.

 ISO 800 1/640 5.6f  plus 1 full stop handheld

Saturday 9 January 2016

Siberian Chiffchaff at Rainham Marshes RSPB

Paulboy Hawkins found this stunning Siberian Chiffchaff at Rainham Marshes this afternoon 50m east of the Serin mound. It showed really well for a few minutes before the rain started which was on and off all day. Paul located it by call and having seen 3 over the years myself,  its the first time I've heard one call, very distinctive. Well done Paul....

It's buff face, breast-sides and flanks makes this bird really stand out on a dull afternoon.

Handheld ISO 800 5.6 1/320

Handheld ISO 800 5.6f 1/500

Friday 1 January 2016

New Years day

Kicked off the New Year at the Ingrebourne Valley this morning which was pretty much standard but for the pair of Stonechat near the visitors centre as last year I didn't get to see one here. It was only a quick visit but ended up with a low 48.

Then on to Rainham Marshes and added Green Sandpiper, YLG, Marsh Harrier, Gypo Goose which is a good record for here. A couple of Short-eared Owls were out hunting and the day list was put on  hold till next time.

This backlit  SEO below flew across the car down Ferry lane

The next set of images show the Shorties boxing and note that they don't take their eyes of each other

Not a great image but it shows how long those legs are, nearly its full body length

And the new security system is in place this year