Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

No Cottaging please,we are English

After yesterdays hectic day with cottagers being found and a drunken girlfriend causing havoc,i decided to go to Hornchurch Country Park,which is towards the southern end of the valley to look for Bittern,Marsh Harriers and waxwing amongst other things,after running a few unexpected errands beforehand,i arrived at the valley around 11am.While sitting in the car a Grey Heron flew over and then 4 fieldfare and a single Redwing,a good start.From the Car Park i ventured over to the other side of the new playground and had a scan across the valley.There was plenty of Moorhen,around 20 teal and 6 snipe all in the long grass,over by the bank of the River was a Water Rail.Then from the corner of my eye i saw a large bird being chased by about 12 Magpies,my first impression was Marsh Harrier but after a second or so it became clear that it was a Bittern,they chased it all the way down the valley towards Hacton Lane until it was out of sight,i never saw it come back.Then my mate Kev rang me to say that he was out walking the dog by the bridge at Hacton Lane and was talking to 4 birders who were looking at Waxwings,typical,as i have been over that section the last few days and although i saw them on Saturday,i would of liked to see them again,but as i was already over the Country Park,i decided to stay there,hoping they would maybe come up river to where i was.I spent another few minutes looking in the long grass and a Bullfinch was seen in the bushes to the right of me.2 green woodpeckers were also seen and heard.I then went down to the viewing point overlooking the scrape.


Although the scrape was frozen and wildfowl numbers are down over the park compared to when its unfrozen,there was still plenty of action around the scrape,with a mixed flock of finches being seen,i checked for Brambling but to no avail,then 35 linnets landed in the bushes to the right of me.A Green woodpecker was heard and seemed to be spooked by something,then i saw that it was being chased by something although as it shot in some bushes i couldn't tell what it was.I stayed focussed on the bushes but felt sure that it had perished only for it to shoot back out again,being chased by a large female Sparrowhawk.Another Water Rail was seen on the river bank along with another few teal and moorhen.11 Canada geese flew over,which grabbed my attention from a distance as many wintering geese have been reported across the South.
I headed to the Bridge to see if anything was around there,14 siskin flew over as did 8 pied wagtails,36 lapwing and a reed bunting,i then got the call from the missus which meant time was of the essence as i had to do a bit of shopping in the farm shop on the way home,after agreeing a 2pm home time with her i decided to head up the hill to overlook the rest of the country park,hopefully a Marsh Harrier may show up,i had a male over berwick a week or so ago but i knew there was a female around as well and after about 20 minutes it duly obliged,beautiful bird.It gave me good views for a couple of minutes before heading down the valley.
I heard some action behind me in the form of about 20 long tailed tits,i also saw a goldcrest and another 4 siskin.With this i decided to head towards home,trying for the waxwing about 300 yards from my house.I got there just after 1 and spent about 40 minutes looking around the trees and bushes on the east side of the riverbank but to no avail.I am sure they were seen as kev would never of heard about a waxwing let alone see one,therefore they must of been there.I left there and parked the car up outside the house,when a little egret flew over the house towards where the waxwings were seen,then off to the local farm shop for some veg then home.We have just been visited by thomson who was delivering his cards & presents for the nipper.
cheers Andykins

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