Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Upminster Birder: Canvey Island,Its fecking wet there!!!

Upminster Birder: Canvey Island,Its fecking wet there!!!: To be fair,its not just Canvey,it seems to be everywhere suffering from downpour after downpour,a real concern for not just the birds and ot...

Canvey Island,Its fecking wet there!!!

To be fair,its not just Canvey,it seems to be everywhere suffering from downpour after downpour,a real concern for not just the birds and other wildlife but for farming,our roads which are constantly flooded,in fact pretty much everywhere has had it,some worse than others.The picture Below is the tiny little stream at Thames Chase Forest Centre in Pike Lane,Upminster and it is usually just a trickle.This picture was actually taken yesterday and the level is even higher now and rising and with very heavy rain forecast for tomorrow this could yet flood,which i think would be a first,at least at this point,further down its about 20 foot wide as its flooded under the M25!!
Although once upon a time it is believed it was actually a river in itself were boats carried good up from the mardyke,which is where it flowed into,into the local mill which was on site but this is over 200 years ago.Now all that travels up and down it are Kingfishers and the small fish that it feeds on.

Anyway,back to Canvey Point,i arrived just after 9 to find the lads (Denis Tuck,Ron Colson & Trevor Oakley) sitting in the car by the Sea wall,hiding from the rain,after getting our waterproofs on we headed for the Sea Wall and around the corner to view the Mud,there was plenty of waders on there,mainly Dunlin,Grey Plover,Sanderling,Ringed plover and large numbers of oystercatchers and Turnstone,a few Curlew were way out but because of the conditions we really couldnt see very far,a couple of Meadow Pipits were seen off the jetty.Canveys east endis well known for its big numbers of waders at high tide especially knot and Dunlin amd they give pretty impressive displays..
Once the Mist lifted,the rain let off a bit we got our scopes out and first up were 5 Red throated Divers and one Black Throated diver sitting on the sea about 500 yards or so out,we watched for a while whle looking at Cormorants,Great crested Grebes and Gulls while hoping for other seabirds but they didnt materialise,they were probably out there but easily missed in those conditions,although we had around 20-30 Red Throated Divers going back and forward either side of the high tide and large numbers of Great Crested Grebes.There were thousands of gulls,way out following the fishing boats leaving Leigh on Sea,no doubt fishing for their famous Cockles,but the distance was far too great for us to make out any species.
We stayed for 3 hours in total with the last hour being the driest,with the sun even threatening to break through,think it did,for about 30 seconds,well nearly.A cracking place and definately one i will be visitng again in the next few days or weeks once the light is better.On the way out i met local birder Terry Jeffries who i have known from Non league footy forum "Fans focus"although we have never met we have exchanged banter on the forums,Nice to meet you mate!!!
From here i made my way back into Upminster and to Thames Chase,Pike Lane.It was raining again,although not too hard so i had a wander,not really expecting to see too much but straight away was onto a group of 12 Lesser Redpoll,a few Gold and Chaffinches and within a couple of minutes a large Long Tailed Tit Flock numbering around 25 with a few Blue Tits,Great Tits and Goldcrest mixed in,the Long Tailed tits seemingly following me around the site for the next half hour or so,although in reality they were probably just doing their usual circuit as thats what Long Tailed Tits do,they scattered though when a Male Sparrowhawk went for the lot of them!!
Went back to the Centre as the next band of Rain came in and for the next hour watched the Sparrowhawk flit between the woods and open lamd hunting until it was dispersed by the local Crows,not a bad day despite the Weather....

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wallasea Island,i think i love you

After last weeks Soiree to Norfolk,i have been back in Sunny Essex,ok Rainy Essex.....
Up at Titch,i never really got the Better Barn Owl pictures i wanted and came bacl last Thursday lunchtime via Mersea Island and later Abberton at Dusk.
My Weekends this time of year are mainly spent working so its midweek i can actually go birding and yesterday i spent a few hours over my local site Thames Chase,Pike Lane,in Upminster...I also visited this morning,both times i saw a few bits but am worried about the lack of Bullfinches on the site,last year at this time i saw 5 males and 5 Females,the last two days i have seen just the 1 male.
Other birds of note were :-Yesterday on the scrape a brief view of a Green Sandpiper and a couple of Snipe and today a Firecrest by the main entrance and a Female Marsh Harrier over the fields next to Pike Lane,the Firecrest is a site first for me,not too sure if any have ever been recorded there so its good.
This afternoon i visited RSPB Wallasea Island,where they are making a new Reserve,complete with 15km of trails,a Visitor Centre,Hides,Screens etc etc.I am not sure i have ever been so excited about the opening of a reserve,shame its not going to be fully open until 2019!!!
Birds seen are Mainly Raptors and Waders,there has been distant views of Rough Legged Buzzard this Winter and i saw today Barn Owl,distant Short Eared Owl,Ringtail Hen Harrier,Juv Male Hen Harrier,Marsh Harrier and Merlin and i only got about 1/2 a mile up the Sea Wall,later this week going to go all the way to view the Buzzard.
Other birds of note were Corn Bunting,Kestrel,Golden Plover,Meadow Pipit,Rock Pipit,Waders everywhere on the scrape,Spotted Redshank etc.
Kingfisher have been seen as has Peregrine,Stonechat and many other birds.Liizards and snakes can be found when it gets warmer and no doubt a few mammals.I think the place will be great all year round but winter should be great with the Owls and Raptors,defnately think that this place will rival some of the countries best birding spots,if anyone knows more about the regenration of the site,please let me know....
Below are some shots from the last few days,mainly today and last Wednesday/Thursday in Norfolk.
Sorry about the poor Hen Harrier shots but it was distant.
Theres Also a few From RSPB Rainham Marsh on Friday as well.
Not sure where i am off to tomorrow but i am off work again so will be somewhere,maybe Wallasea again if the weather looks ok,who knows.