Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve and Lynsters Farm

A late afternoon visit to the reserve with mild but overcast conditions produced the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (8), Cormorant (2), Grey Heron (1), Mute Swan (2), Greylag Goose (24 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (18 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (4 Lynsters Farm), Common Teal (17), Northern Shoveler (2), Moorhen (copulating pair at sluice), Green Sandpiper (1 from Teal Hide), Ring-necked Parakeet (4), Kingfisher (1 male), Green Woodpecker (1), Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Grey Wagtail (1), Long-tailed Tit (pair nest building at reed bed viewed from Teal Hide).

                                          Snowdrops in bloom near feeding site hide.

                                          Scarlet Elf Cup Fungi at Alder Plantation.

                                                        Alder Catkins.

Friday, 17 February 2012

16-02-12 Rainham Marshes RSPB Nature Reserve

Yesterday's visit to Rainham Marshes with Peter Baker and Margaret Nesbitt provided the following species:-
Atlantic Great Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Canada/Greylag Hybrid, European White-fronted Goose (2), Common Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail (including leucistic female), Northern Shoveler, Northern Pochard, Tufted Duck, Western Marsh Harrier (1), Common Buzzard (1), Common Kestrel (1), Pheasant, Water Rail (1), Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet (6 on Thames), European Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin  (100+ on Thames), European Curlew (1), Common Redshank (2 on Thames), Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove,
Green Woodpecker, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Water Pipit, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, European Robin, European Stonechat (male), Cetti's Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting.

                                           Northern Pintail (leucistic female).

                                           Little Egret.

                                                        Reed Bunting feeding on Reedmace.

                                           European Curlew on bank of River Thames.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

I conducted a belated wetland bird survey count with the thaw now under way and temperatures reaching a balmy 5 degrees centigrade with light rain falling. Both waters were still mainly frozen with Bury Lake holding more open water than Stockers. At the heronry a few pairs of Grey Heron were observed displaying at their nests with several unoccupied nests noted. 
Considering the school holidays have begun it was relatively quiet with only a few dog walkers and a brave lone fisherman present.

Species observed as follows:-

Great-crested Grebe (3), Cormorant (30), Grey Heron (9), Mute Swan (72), Canada Goose (50), Domestic Canada Goose (1), Hybrid Canada Goose/Greylag Goose (1), Mallard (54), Northern Shoveler (77), Northern Pochard (10), Tufted Duck (66), Water Rail (1), Common Moorhen (11), Eurasian Coot (185),
Black-headed Gull (150), Common Gull (9), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2), Feral Rock Dove (1), Stock Dove (1), Woodpigeon, Ring-necked Parakeet (2), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1), Pied Wagtail (2), Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Redwing, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay (2), Magpie, Western Jackdaw, Carrion Crow (3), Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch (4), Goldfinch (8), Siskin (c30).
While at Stockers I met a fellow birder who informed me that a Woodcock had been noted in the flooded Alderwood yesterday before being flushed, a great record for the lake.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve & Lynsters Farm

After working another night shift and temperatures dropping overnight to -11 it was no surprise to find the reserve once again frozen during my visit this afternoon. The clubhouse lake and marsh lake were solid and still covered in snow. I headed off to Lynsters Hide where 5 Egyptian Geese were noted on the top field at Lynsters Farm. The small area of open water that was present at Lynsters G.P was now frozen over so I returned to the clubhouse. At the feeders at least 4 Ring-necked Parakeet fed on peanuts while below several Chaffinch squabbled over spoils. A male Great-spotted Woodpecker put in a brief appearance before a Marsh Tit called briefly but did not show.

                                      Ring-necked Parakeets at the clubhouse feeding station.

                                                         Great-spotted Woodpecker (male).

                    One of two Red Fox observed at the clubhouse lake (note full brush).

                                          Second Red Fox with mange to rear end and tail.

Friday, 10 February 2012

All quiet on the western front

With yesterdays news of an odd looking Thrush arriving in Steve Carter's back garden at  Maple Cross and the subsequent frenzied excitement that followed, today seemed a much quieter affair. After working last night and the arrival of more arctic weather the only birding activities were conducted from the warmth of my house. I still managed to observed single Red Kite and Common Buzzard as they passed minutes apart over the playing field behind my home before moving on. I have had time to reflect on yesterday's activities and have studied the photo's again of Steve's very interesting bird. I can honestly say that I'm still unsure what to make of it except that it is a very odd looking Blackbird type bird.  The consensus is that it is in fact a female Blackbird but certainty of its origin has not been ascertained. I personally believe it to be either an eastern race of Blackbird or even a Hybrid of some sorts but I will let you make up your own conclusion.

On the 8th of February I made a brief visit to Stockers Lake where I took the picture below of a very friendly European Robin.       

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve and Lynsters Farm

A brief afternoon visit to the reserve produced the following species of note:-
Little Grebe (1 on clubhouse lake), Common Buzzard (3 over calling), Siskin (c20 in alder plantation), Egyptian Goose (6 Lynsters Farm), Ruddy Shelduck (1 of presumed captive origin Lynsters Farm).

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Afternoon visit to Broadwater Gravel Pit

A brief visit produced the following species of note:-
Egyptian Goose (1 on tern raft), Goosander (3 on River Colne), Smew (male near boathouse), Goldeneye (13), Lapwing (50), Common Snipe (1 flushed from bank of lake), Grey Wagtail (1), Chiffchaff (1 at north end), Bullfinch (female).



                                          Goosander on River Colne.

                                           Smew (male).

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve and Lynsters Farm/Gravel Pit

An early morning visit after heavy snow overnight provided the following species of note:-
Egyptian Goose (6 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (32 Lynsters Gravel Pit), Wigeon (3 Lynsters Gravel Pit),
Moorhen (27 Lynsters Farm), Jackdaw (c50 Lynsters Farm), Rook (15 Lynsters Farm), Chaffinch (15 at the clubhouse feeding station).

                                                        Grey Squirrel at the clubhouse feeding station.

                                                       Flower meadow and Long Hedge in the snow.

                                                       The sluice iced over.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Stockers Farm, Stockers Lake & Bury Lake

From the pumping station at Stockers Farm Road I headed towards Stockers Lake passing the once flooded field where c100 Starling a single Green Woodpecker and 3 Lapwing were noted.
With the cold snap continuing the majority of water at both lakes was frozen solid. Areas that were free of ice held concentrations of waterfowl all busily feeding. At Bury Lake  11 Red-crested Pochard, 9 Wigeon and a pair of Goldeneye were observed.
I then followed the River Colne to Stockers where I had a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher as it headed upstream. Then on arriving at the Kingfisher Hide I found a Nuthatch greedily feeding on nuts and seeds at the bird table.
From the preachers pulpit 4 Teal, 114 Northern Shoveler and 2 pairs of Red-crested Pochard were all noted under the heronry. I then headed back to Stockers Farm where several Fieldfare were busily feeding on Hawthorn.

                                          Wigeon at Bury Lake

                                                Icicles at the River Colne

                                           Fieldfare at Stockers Farm

Friday, 3 February 2012

Scotsbridge Mill water meadow

A late afternoon visit provided the following species of note:-
Grey Heron (1), Little Egret (2), Gadwall (injured drake), Mallard (5), Water Rail (2), Moorhen (2), Lapwing (1 over), Common Snipe (2), Pheasant (2 hen), Kingfisher (1), Grey Wagtail (2), Jay (2), Jackdaw (2).
Red Fox (2).

                                                        River Chess partially frozen.


Thursday, 2 February 2012

Maple Lodge Nature Reserve and Lynsters Farm

I conducted an afternoon visit to the reserve on a sunny but bitterly cold day where much of the water was locked in ice except for a few sunny margins at the Clubhouse Lake.
Derek and the Dominoes, AKA the work party, were struggling to move the fallen Poplar that blocks the path leading to the sluice and they eventually gave up and headed off to the Clubhouse for a welcome hot beverage. I continued on to Lynsters Hide where I scanned the farm and lake for several minutes before too heading back to the clubhouse.
Species of note as follows:-
Little Grebe (2), Greylag Goose (12 Lynsters Farm), Canada Goose (38 Lynsters Farm), Egyptian Goose (7 Lynsters Farm), Wigeon (44 grazing at Lynsters Farm), Sparrowhawk (1 mobbed by Carrion Crow), Coot (4), Fieldfare (10 Lynsters Farm), Mistle Thrush (1 Lynsters Farm).
Mammals observed included several Grey Squirrel feeding among the leaf litter at the plantation while a Brown Rat was noted at the Clubhouse feeding station.