Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Our Unbeaten Run Has gone

AFC Hornchurch's unbeaten run of 18 months in the Monthly Darts Match against Dagenham & Redbridge has gone.Leading 6-1 just before the Half time curry was served,The daggers stormed back,winning 8 of the last 9 to secure the trophy back from the now suicidal Urchin players.As captain i have to take some responsibility,especially as our only player to win in the second half of the match was 10 years old.
As it was a Christmas special,we themed it with a curry (not that thats anything different from the usual),this time it was cooked by the players from Hornchurch and the boys hit the spot.
Earlier in the day,we took the nipper over to Rainham Marsh for a spot of Birdwatching,although we didn't actually do any today as it was a bit too windy when there,so we scoffed ourselves on sausage rolls,toasties,chocolate cake and isla gave the seal of approval to the Rainham Marsh Victoria Sponge Cake,which she wolfed down with a slice of cucumber,very strange eating habits has that child of mine.She saw a couple of ships going by and learnt a few more new words,one was Kestrel,which she saw hovering from inside the Visitor Centre,the other was Howard,as Rainhams Mr Howard Vaughan was filling up the feeders for the finches to come and have a nibble.We attempted to go for a little stroll around the reserve but after about 5 minutes we realised it was pointless as Isla struggled in the wind with her baby pram and just decided to have a little lay down every 2 seconds.We decided to go for a drive and ended up around Orsett,where Isla learned another couple of words,namely Buzzard and pawtwidge (partridge),the Buzzard was a beautiful Common Buzzard that was sitting in a field,it then took off to land in a tree nearby,then around the next corner there was 14 Red Legged Partridges in another field,other birds of note were a small flock of fieldfare,Redwings,goldfinches another Kestrel and a few rabbits.Not a bad total considering we didn't actually "go Birding" always good to have a drive into the country with the family.
Football news,two days until we go to Canvey for our next important game against old rivals Canvey Island,we are due a win there but it will be hard as usual,then on the 2nd we have a top of the table clash against Lowestoft who are currently 2nd,win those two and it will set us up nicely for the Second half of the season.COME ON YOU URCHINS

Monday, 19 December 2011

An interesting few days......

Been a few days since i Posted a Blog Entry,been busy with work as its leading up to Christmas,my first Christmas working by myself for Direct Car Services.Today i have been down in Brighton to see my Sister,Brother in Law and Nephew Jake,went down with My Mum,Dad,Auntie Barbara,Alice and the Nipper who spent most of the day causing all sorts of Aggro in the Brother in Laws boozer.We had a nice slap up christmas meal,my dad got plastered and was irritating and i was sober and drove.A good day with good food,happy day and i also got to see the Starling roost at the Old Pier in Brighton,along with a Peregrine who was stalking them and way out a couple of Common Scoters wizzed by,apart from that not much else to report as it was raining and for the most part miserable but at least it looks like its cleared the Very cold weather we have been having which was causing all sorts of problems for us drivers.
Yesterday i popped out with Carl & darren for a few beers in the Afternoon before heading down the Football Club as i was quizmaster at the AFC Hornchurch Christmas Quiz night.I smashed it basically,provided a hardish quiz and my mum and dad didn't win,happy days.
Saturday saw AFC Hornchurch continue their fine form of late with a 2-1 win over Aveley at the Bridge,we are still 3rd but 4 points behind the leaders Billericay with a game in hand and we have to play them next on the 27th.Should be a good game and if we can win it will put us in a good position for the Run in in the second half of the season.I booked my Train Ticket to Grimsby last night £41.00,going at 8.30am on the morning of the match (14th January) getting to grimsby at 11.50am for beer and fish and chips,should be a good day out in all honesty.
On the Birdwatching front,i have no more trips planned before the New year and have more or less resigned myself to the fact that my year list will remain at 227 which is dissapointing but 20 more than last year.It is only dissapointing as i was on 210 in june and only managed to add another 17 in the last 6 months but this is mainly due to not really having time for Birding.Next year,i should be able to get out a bit in January/February as its a quiet time for the airport runs,will see how we get on........

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

We're going to Grimsby Que sera sera

Can't really comment other than to say how proud i am of my little old Hornchurch
The 14th January sees us travel to Grimsby Town FC,the biggest stadium we have ever played a league or cup game in,personally i cant wait and i believe enough has been said,i think we can win 2-1 and will be drawn away at Luton the round after,winning 6-1
You heard it here first.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bonnetts Owl Please

One is becoming extremely frustrated at the inability of the local Barn Owl population to turn up at Bonnetts Wood at the same time as my good self.Ok,because of work,i've not been able to get over there as much as i was earlier in the year but when i do these naughty little creatures seem to avoid me at all costs.I know they are there or there abouts,i have seen one on site a few times but not for a while,although i have seen at least two birds within a mile or so of each other,ironically on the same journey,one flying towards bonnetts and another about 2 minutes later around Belhus woods,and no they were not the same bird,i was going too fast for them to catch me.While these views are lovely,i want to see it perched on a post or Quatering in the fields on or overlooking Bonnetts,perhaps i need to spend a bit less time working and more time birding,i wish!!
Anyway,in my short spell at Bonnetts tonight there was quite a bit of activity,plenty of winter thrushes are now on site with 16 redwings,11 fieldfare and 2 mistle thrush seen,also i had a kestrel hovering over the field and 2 snipe flushed from the field,if i had better footwear on i may of wandered further in the hope of Woodcock which are regular in winter on the site.A Buzzard came over the site and dissapeared towards my house and 27 parakeets headed south towards Parklands.It then got a bit too cold & dark for my liking so i went home to get ready for my next job.
Earlier in the day,well at 4am i got up to find what must of been the tail end of the overnight storm,not as much destruction as i thought there would be and the Dartford Bridge was open,which i didn't think was a good idea in the strong winds but it was fine,i got back around 11,ready to take my two girls to the Hutton residence in leafy Pilgrims Hatch,on the way there we encountered a large herd of Roe Deer in the fields around Weald park,isla seemed taken with them shouting bambi and then thumper???? is there any connection between the two??
On picking the girls back up from the Huttons,a handyman was on hand (Jennys Dad) putting back up the stairgate that Isla had ripped off the wall,the little hooligan,A Buzzard was seen over the field at the end of Ed's road,In Lincolns lane,was 6 Red Legged Partridge,a little further up the field i thought i saw a Grey Partridge,unfortunately i couldn't stop to check a definate ID but i currently have no work in the morning,so i guess i will be heading over that way to have a look as they are pretty much non existant in Southern Essex and it would be a good record,fingers crossed for the morning!!!

Monday, 12 December 2011


Got up at 5.45am this morning for the Boozy Birders Trip to Sunny Dungeness and Sunny it was although a little bit nippy.Not too many on the trip due to other commitments and illness (get well soon Sam!)but those who did make it were treated to a bird bonanza courtesy of Big H,Howard the Cat Vaughan,Penduline Tits are this mans Speciality and he didn't fail in coming up with the goods.
But first things first,macdonalds at Ashford where i smashed the granny out of a Double Sausage & egg Mcmuffin meal,complete with the complimentary Hash Brown & Small coke.
After this we made our way to Dungeness or DUNGE as its known in birding circles,an RSPB reserve in South Kent,not a million miles from Folkestone but far enough that car crime is not an issue! We started off in the ARC Pit and the Hanson hide,first bird of the day when pulling into the car park and exiting our cars was a Great White Egret,a first for a couple of us,my second of the year (had one over my house at about 5am one morning after an airport run back in the summer if my memory serves me right but i can't be bothered to check my book).
We headed towards the hide,entering all the usual suspects were in view,ducks,herons etc etc,a quick scan by the boozy massives produced a female Long Tailed Duck,good numbers of Goldeneye,plenty of Marsh Harrier activity and a nice sparrowhawk hunting near the hide.
We then decided to head to the lighthouse and beach in search of the Glaucous gull and as per usual Big H comes up trumps,some seawatching produced plenty of great Crested grebes,the odd Diver and Auks,kittewakes etc etc.After this we went to the visitor centre and for a walk around the reserve,it was at this time that i found out the News of the Day,that should Hornchurch beat Farnborough we will be going to Grimsby Town in the FA Trophy,smell my fish,but more about this later.
After a couple of shortbread biscuits purchased from the visitor centre we proceeded to do the circuit,we found another Great White egret,in the distance and we would find this bird later on (or at least we thought it was the same bird but it may of been another,such is the fest that is GWE in DUNGE.)Other birds of note was a lovely Bittern in the smashing light,plenty more Marsh Harriers,but by now all i could think about was Grimsby Away,more of that later.
We then decided to spend the lasy hour or so back at the ARC pit where within a few moments of arriving we had Smew,we stayed for a while but the weather looked like closing in so we thought we would check out the reedbed round the back for the penduline so we went for a wander,upon reaching the reedbed H's phone went off,the Penduline was back at the hide,so off we went,me at 40mph and it was me who first reached back at the hide.the penduline was there not 10 feet away from us on the mace giving cracking views,well worth the day out and glad i went as usual.the drive home was knackering,by the time we reached the tunnel i was absolutely shattered and ready for bed,its now 11pm and i havent been to sleep yet and i am up in 5 1/2 hours for yet another airport run.
As for grimsby,we have to beat Farnborough Wednesday at their gaff and then we play at a big boys ground,the first time since last week when we lost 4-1 to colchester but that was the Essex Cup in front of 300 people,the Trophy is a bit different,COME ON YOU URCHINS

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Birds but no Birding

Still haven't really had any time for Birding yet,although off to Dungeness and surrounding areas Monday with the legend that is Howard Vaughan and those crazy Boozy Birders,wonder if there will be any Pendulines knocking about,am sure these storms may ship in the odd unusual sighting or two.
Got up at 6.30am as i had to take someone from China back to Heathrow,picked him up at 7.15 from Brentwood Station and had the usual 2 hour plus trip round the wonderful M25,what a cracking road,only in this country could we add an extra lane,not bother tarmacing in it,and leave potholes all over the road,i bet the IOC are really looking forward to coming to this forward thinking country next Summer.......NOT.
Anyway,getting round the M25 around junction 22 (st albansish) i had 2 buzzards in the air,quite early in the day,was probably not later than 8.30am but they seemed to be enjoying themselves in the wind!
About 40 minutes later i (sorry we) were rewarded with a lovely Red Kite around Gerrards Cross,an increasingly regular sight,that you probably wouldnt of seen 10/15 years ago,definatly not 30 years ago,welcome back my friend.
Another piece of good news is that apart from the Birds,i may of just converted our first Chinaman to AFC Hornchurch,he certainly seemed interested in our probable Wembley visit in the FA Trophy,of course once  we have taken care of Farnborough Saturday and the rest of the Non League in the next 4/5 rounds,come on Hornchurch,you can do it.
On leaving Heathrow,i headed southbound to sunny Lakeside for a spot of Christmas Shopping,not for anyone else but for me,nice warm coat and a nice pair of waterproof lined trousers,perfect for the Boozy Birders Trip to Norfolk in the first week or January,will be good to get my year list off with a bang.
1 Shop was enough for me so i headed home about Noon,as i was washing up i looked out the window to see the Little Owl sitting on my garden wall,looking over the Pub Car Park,although i live in a town its not the most unusual place for Owls,we have Tawny heard regularly and both barn & short eared Owl have been seen within a mile of here,it also helps to have farmland all around and the Ingrebourne Valley across the road,i assume that the Grey Wagtail i had on my garage roof had come from there.This evening i went to work,earned a bit of dollar and narrowly missed a Badger on the way home in Ockendon,back off to Heathrow tomorrow afternoon although i am sure Alice has a trip to Tesco's in store for me beforehand.