Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Iceland Gull at Beckton Sewage works

We've been watching news of the Beckton Iceland Gull recently and Jim managed to get a little help with directions from Shaun H a couple of days ago so today we made the short drive down the north circular to Beckton. We parked as per the local advise at the Showcase Cinema and quickly found the track to the rear although we did take the wrong path marked riverside walk which took us back to Jenkins Lane but a quick U turn and we were back at the junction and took the North Lagoons path which was a pleasant walk past Beckton Creekside Nature Reserve to the very end of the river Roding where it meets the Thames.

The End of the Roding (or is it the start)
The gulls food source
We found the Iceland Gull in no time and managed a few record shots through the wire fence. A scan of the other gulls present revealed nothing out of the ordinary but we did get a bonus year tick with two Common Sandpipers on the river bank. We couldn't find the reported Siberian Chiffchaff and in fact didn't see many Chiffchaff at all.

Iceland Gull
Iceland Gull

Loving life at the sewage works

chilling by the Tanks

gave nice views through the fence

Iceland Gull

A nice local find
Year list now 166

A little more Cormorant

Old Green Eyes

One of my many favourite birds

A right poser

Got an itch

Fab birds

nice to find a relaxed Cormorant happy to pose for a few images

Great bird

a good stretch

Mind the gape

What's not to like

And a bit closer

Monday, 27 January 2020

Wintering Turtle Dove at Valentine's Park Ilford

An organised birding party found a wintering Turtle Dove at Valentine's Park Ilford on Saturday and I watched yesterday as a couple of local guys connected so this morning I took the Jims down to Ilford to see if we could find the bird. We got to the park at 8.05am after an eight mile drive and walked down to the lake but on arrival the large flock of Collared Doves started to disperse and our search for the Turtle started. We walked the park a couple of times but I kept saying "it'll come back when the Collared Doves return" and sure enough at around 10.45am the Collared Doves did start to return and with them came the Turtle giving brief views before vanishing into the foliage on the island. I managed to grab a couple of record shots at distance and in the grey gloomy weather. Only a handful looking for the Dove today including a few familiar local faces and a couple more that had come a bit further for a London tick.

Turtle Dove at Valentine's Park Ilford
A heavily cropped and overexposed Turtle
Ring-necked Parakeet at a nest hole on the island
Parakeets have invaded this space
Several Stock Dove have also made the park their home
Great eyes
A Great Cormorant
Year list now 164

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Bonus Bittern

We headed up the A11 this morning stopping to dip Golden Pheasant again on the way up to Sculthorpe Moor. At Sculthorpe we located the Waxwing at the very top of a tree just behind the visitor centre. It dropped to feed on a couple of occasions but spent seconds on the berries before returning to the safety of the trees.

The solitary Waxwing at Sculthorpe Moor
A walk around the reserve gave great views of upto ten Bullfinch and three Brambling to add another two year ticks. Marsh Tit, Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch the other stars of our visit.

Feeders were buzzing with Bullfinch
Our first Brambling of the year
From Sculthorpe we moved on to Titchwell where we failed to find the Woodcock that was supposed to be "showing well" but did pick up our first Chiffchaff of the year and a real bonus with a Bittern feeding along the close edge of the reeds on the walk up to Island hide.

We had another search for the Woodcock which ended in disappointment before starting the journey home dropping in to Cockley Cley for another go at the Willow Tits and this time with the feeding station set up we had better luck enjoying a large tit flock taking advantage of the basket covered seed. The tits included Willow, Marsh, Coal, Great and Blue and ID was made a little easier due to how vocal they all were with the Willows really performing well for us.

The Cockley Cley feeding station with thanks to Ashley for his work here.

Year list now 163

Friday, 24 January 2020

Hudsonian Whimbrel is on the list

At last an IOC update in my favour with the split of European and Hudsonian Whimbrel and my life list has jumped to 411 with the Hudsonian seen back on 11th June 2015.

Oh and the 2015 year list jumped one too.

Onwards and Upwards

My terrible record shot of the Hudsonian Whimbrel back in 2015

Thursday, 23 January 2020

No surprise

Siberian Stonechat Hollesley
As we expected it's now confirmed as Siberian

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Walthamstow Wetlands

A nice local trip down to Walthamstow Wetlands this morning delivered a couple of early ticks. First we had to sort out the early permit entry (8am with permit 9.30am without) with the Thames Water guys and then we had an hour or so searching for Firecrest around the car park and Engine house without joy. We decided to move on and walked down to Lockwood were we quickly found the Black Redstart feeding around the towers at the south end.

Black Redstart at Lockwood Reservoir
Lockwood Reservoir
The favoured Feeding location
Whilst here we bumped into a few locals Dave B, Lol B and Dominic M and had a good chat as we watched a Peregrine playing with the local crows.

What a beast and with a full crop too

Lockwood Peregrine
Playing with the Crows
Following this we marched back around to the Engine house where a couple of Bearded Tits were showing in the reed bed just across the bridge on reservoir three. Before we left we had one final search for the Firecrest and found it flitting about high up in the trees along the river from the car park boardwalk.

Distant shot of the pair of Bearded Tits
Grey Heron
A very pleasant mornings birding in beautiful weather at what is becoming a very smart venue.
Year list now 157