Sunday 30 January 2011

Welney Wetland Centre Sat 29th jan 2011

Organised by the RSPB Havering Group we boarded the coach at 7.30am at the A12 Goosheys drive.  There was probably only 3 seats empty on a 50 odd seater.  No driving, no worry about petrel and only £16.50 including entrance fee into Welney.  So off we went on the 2 hour? journey to the reserve.  On the way I could have sworn we past about 30 Waxwings in a tree near a likely? place.  No good asking the driver to stop.   We arrived at the WWT centre at nearly 10 o'clock with the weather being the same as it has been for the last month or so, overcast.   But it didn't spoil the pleasant surprise for those who had never been before.   The impressive visiter centre with it's museum of the history of the fens downstairs, and upstairs the ( architectural) cafe with panoramic views over the fens.  From this lofty height you can see across a scrape which was frozen and in the distance were flocks of swans feeding in the fields and closer by were fieldfares and pipits.  In the sky every now and then a Harrier or a kestrel disturbed the flocks,and on the ground numbers of hares were moving around.   From an outside viewing area next to the cafe you can look down on feeders where a few Tree sparrows were feeding among the finches.   We eventually made our way across the bridge to the splended Main Observatory which was heated with lots of comfortable seats and plenty of wildfowl out on the very high water.  Among the usual breeds of wildfowl were a couple of rareties, a female Long-Tailed Duck and a Pink-Footed Goose of which we had good views.  There were hundreds of Icelandic Black-Tailed Godwits on the reserve with others going over.  Whooper swans were everywhere with the Bewicks farther out being more reluctent to venture in.   Up to 4 marsh Harriers were hunting around the washes, and in the distance  someone spotted a ringtail which turned out to be a known Harris Hawk.    After a great day at the washes we boarded the coach and left at 4 o'clock, within a few hundred yards a Barn Owl came out in front of the coach and we followed it for about half a mile,  Mike Hughes got a great photo of it from his front seat perch.  In the next four miles 4 Barn Owls were seen before the light faded.  We arrived back at 6 o'clock.  Great Day!

Tuesday 25 January 2011

History of rung Waxwing

   Yesterday  I received the history of the colour rung Waxwing photographed among 32 Waxwings at Sainsburys Hornchurch on the 15th of January 2011 from Raymond Duncan of the Grampian ringing Group.  WXWG-BLW ring No. NW49465 was rung on the 7th of November 2010 at the Broadfold Ind. Est,  Bridge of  Don, Aberdeen.  It was a first winter bird with no previous resightings.  It had travelled 639km before arriving at Sainsburys Hornchurch,  brilliant.

Friday 21 January 2011

Rise Park Waxwings, 20th and 21st jan 2011

   Yesterday while crossing the A12 at Petits Road on our way to collier row, I saw some birds fly into the large tree on the north side,  although only silhouettes the action was familiar. " They look like Waxwings"  I called out.  I had to stop, much to the annoyance of my other passengers as I was taking a walking group in 20 minutes.  They were Waxwings, 25 of them at a quick count then back in the car and off.   They were still there 3 hours later as we passed on the way back. They were flying back and forwards to some Hawthorn on the side of the A12.  I took my passengers home then returned with tackle, only to see them disappearing down the road not to return,  it was 2.15.   I returned today at halfpast eight and there was 19 there and managed to get some shots after the sun came out.  Magnificent birds.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

232 Waxwings at Lakeside

232 Waxwings turned up at lakeside this morning .  Having seen a couple of White- Fronted Geese at Rainham RSPB Russ and I left and went to lakeside to try to see these beguiling birds once again.  No luck with 232 but we did have 4 individuals amusing us with their usual display of sitting in a tree then flying down to swallow as many berries as they can then back up into the tree to digest their obviously tasty load,  then after some minutes down again to repeat the procedure.  A pleasant end to a cold sunny day.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Belhus Woods CP jan 18th 2011

I spent the morning tydying up the garden with the Robin following my every move, then after lunch I took a trip to the public amenities site with my camera and bins next to me on the seat.  You never know what you're going to see on the way to the dump.  After unloading I thought, blimey! belhus is only down the road.   I didn't want to spend £2 for 1 hour, so I stayed by the carpark.  Plenty of tits and a Nuthatch kept coming to the feeders so I spent the time there.  Saw Phil who had seen Goldcrests , Siskins , Redpolls, and the Marsh Tit.

Monday 17 January 2011

RSPB Rainham Marshes Mon 17.01.11

After a deluge of rain in the morning the day brightened up in the afternoon so I decided to walk round the reserve.   Loads of wildfowl all over the scrapes and marsh;  Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted, Mallard, Shelduck, with flocks of geese grazing around the reserve.  There were enormous numbers of Lapwing with some Golden Plover mixed in. Saw a few Snipe in different places.  On the Target pools which like everywhere else are full of water there were also some Ruff and a few  Black-Tailed Godwits.   A hunting Peregrine and a couple of Sparrowhawks and would you believe it a Kestrel kept putting everthing up giving evidence of the colossal amount of fowl on the reserve.

Sunday 16 January 2011

Mistles at Sainsbury's tucking into their berries. sun 16.01.11

The Waxwings returned today and by late afternoon seem to have devoured the remaining apples on the tree in the conservative club carpark, and most of the Mistles berries.  Will they come back tomorrow?  The Mistle Thrushes are showing well in the berry tree .

Saturday 15 January 2011

Waxwings eating at Sainsburys on english apples sat 15.01.11

Everytime we do our shopping at Sainsburys Iv'e been watching some of the likely places in the carpark where some of this current winters Waxwing influx may turn up.(never thinking that would happen really)  It's not a very large carpark but I had noticed some berry bushes and trees near the shops entrance,  also an apple tree with a number of apples still clinging gingerly to the flimsy branches.  I had seen nothing until today when returning at 12 o'clock from a visit to our son in chelmsford we stopped at Sainsburys for a loaf for lunch, and blow me down! there in those trees and on those apples were 32 waxwings.  If it wasn't for the Slaty Backed Gull we would have had 700 birders there.  Anyway the 7 that did turn up had a feast of Waxwing behaviour, including a colour rung individual that will soon be identified.  The pair of Mistle Thrushes did their upmost to keep the Waxwings away from (Their berries).

Friday 14 January 2011

Belhus Woods CP jan 2011

Many Siskins and Redpolls,  incredibly facinating little finches bouncing around in little flocks feeding on the Alders and Birches and when they get carried away on their early or late feed in the lower branches you can get unbelievably close to watch.  The Marsh Tit is a wellcome bonus making up for the dreadful dreary damp weather.

Rainham Marshes and Belhus jan 2011