Rainham 01/11/19

Had a really good day at Rainham Marshes today, started off bit wet and windy but brightened up as the day went on.  Robins sang and Redwings flew over as we started off and we heard Cetti Warblers calling from the bushes.  Whilst we were at the center a Dartford Warbler called nearby but unfortunately could not be seen.

Marsh Harriers flew about looking for food, a Buzzard sat on a post and a Peregrine Falcon flew through the reserve.

We walked down to the Serin Mound and were surprised when a Short Eared Owl circled around us and then landed in the inner Avery Bay.

Short Eared OwlShort Eared Owl.

We reported our sightings at the centre and was shown a Caspian Gull on the edge of the Thames.  When we joined a few others on a walk, we went back down towards Averly Bay and there, was a quick glimpse of the white wings of a Snow Bunting flying down river along the sea wall.

We also saw Water, Rock and Meadow Pipits flying along the rivers edge.

Water PipitWater Pipit.

In the bay there were Avocet, Dunlin, Shelduck, Redshank all feeding with a varitey of gulls.

Low TideLow Tide at Averly Bay.

As we entered the main reserve a Wood Pigeon was sitting on the hand rail looking a bit wet and wind swept.

Wood PigeonWood Pigeon.

In the wood land feeders Great and Blue tits kept dropping in and flying off with seads.

Great TitGreat Tit.

From the Ken Barrett hide a Teal and Shovler were feeding.


A Kestrel hovered above scanning for food.


The Barn Owl was sitting outside of its box on full view.  Upon arriving back at the centre a Little Egret was feeding and a Sparrow Hawk flew over, which ended a really great day.

Here is our full list of birds from today, 72 in total.
Robin, Cetti Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Red Wing, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Wood Pigeon, Collard & Stock Dove, Feral Pigeon, Cormorant, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Skylark, Ring Necked Parakeet, 20 Avocet, Redshank, Teal, Wigeon, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Canada & Greylag Geese, Pied Wagtail, Meadow, Rock & 3 Water Pipit, Lesser Black Back, Great Black Back, Herring, Yellow Legged, Common, Black Headed & Caspian Gull, Pheasant, Black Tailed Godwit, 70 Dunlin, 4 Curlew, 4 Fieldfare, Little & Great Crested Grebe, Chaffinch, Grey Heron, 3 Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrow Hawk, 6 Pintail, Linnet, Short Eared & Barn Owl, 2 Stonechat, Dartford Warbler, Snow Bunting, Snipe, Great Spotted & Green Wood Pecker, Moorhen, Coot, Pochard, Reed Bunting, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Little Egret.
Also had Red Admiral, a Seal and Migrant  Hawker which was a bit surprising.

Boat Trip River Crouch

Went on a boat trip along the river Crouch (24/11/18) along near Wallasea Island last year.  Had as we left the Marina some Little Grebes, we did think that they may have been Black Necked but where too small.

Black Necked Grebe

Cormorant sitting on post.


Had a flock of Avocet flying in front of us.


There was also several seals swimming around the boat and managed to get a few photos.

Seal Bank



It was a cold day out on the river, although it was good to see the seals so close to the boat.

Rainham London Young Birders Meet 12/08/2019

Today I was lucky enough to go on the fourth annual London Young Birders meet-up at RSPB Rainham Marshes organised by Samuel Levy and Arjun Dutta.

Once I had arrived I decided to set off early down the sea wall to see if anything unusual was around before everyone arrived.  There were a few Little Egrets that flew down the Thames but didn’t manage to find anything out of the ordinary..

Averly BayAverly Bay

When I got back from my brief walk everyone was around the bottom of the stairs with Howard Vaughan of the RSPB.  Howard advised that there was a Cattle Egret that had been seen around the reserve that we may see.  Once we had all said our hellos we went down the sea wall.  Calum and Fraser had kindly brought their scopes so that we could see across the river, which resulted in a Whimbrel, Black Tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and some Common Terns going down river.  As we carried on down towards the bay we found a Kestrel and Sparrow Hawk flying around.  Within the bay, feeding on the mud flat we found a Ruff, Curlew, Shelduck, Gadwall, Common Sandpiper and more Black Tailed Godwits.


We ventured to the Serin mound and saw Skylarks singing and a Yellow Wagtail flew over.  In the bushes we found Chiffchaff, Willow & Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and a Robin hopping around.

Whilst we were looking at the Warblers, Calum found an odd Egret that turned out to be a Cattle Egret, this was an adult and different to the one that Howard had mentioned earlier.  In the stream a few Bearded Tits flew around and ‘pinged’ in the reeds.  As we walked back along the sea wall there was a seal which popped its head up in the Thames.

Distant Cattle EgretDistant Cattle Egret

Next we went into the reserve and walked to the dragonfly pools onto the butts hide.  There were Pochard, Mallard, Little Grebe and Coots swimming around. There was also a Common Sandpiper and Black Tailed Godwits feeding.

Common SandpiperCommon Sandpiper

Then Kabir and I noticed two Sandpipers fly around the corner of the hide, we thought they were Green Sandpiper, we found them later on confirming our initial identification.

Little EgretLittle Egret

A Marsh Harrier flew above the reeds hunting as we walked towards to the boardwalk.  Looking out at the boardwalk platform Sholvers, Gadwall, a surprise Wigeon, plus Canada & Greylag Geese were swimming in the pool. We then scanned for Waders and someone spotted a Wood Sandpiper briefly in their scope.  A Grey Heron stood at the side,  a Cormorant was sunning itself with its wings open and in the reeds a Marsh Frog was sitting peacefully.

Marsh FrogMarsh Frog

We then walked to the Ken Barrett hide and had great views of a Snipe, a Moorhen was walking around with a Common Sandpiper and two Ruff.

Common SnipeCommon Snipe

Whilst we were in the hide it started to rain heavily, as it died down a few of us started to walk on.  We used our scopes and found the Barn Owl sitting within its box.  The others were lucky to find a female Bullfinch, which I managed to see flying disappearing into a bush and also saw a Whitethroat pop up.

We continued into the woodland where we saw Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits.  We carried on walking towards the centre, we took a break and compared notes on what we had seen during the morning.  By now we had spent about 6 hours walking around the reserve and had found over 70 different species of birds.

We were just leaving the centre when Howard called out “Barn Owl flying” – it flew in front of the centre and carried on towards to the bay.

Barn OwlBarn Owl

The last bird of the day was a Hobby flying over the reserve.  It was a great end to the day after finding a variety of birds and meeting up with fellow young naturalists & friends.

Bird Fair August 2019

This year British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water is donating its proceeds to Cambodia’s Big 5, White-shouldered Ibis, Giant Ibis, White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture and Red-headed Vulture.

Rutland WaterRutland Water Dunlin Hide

Once we had finished putting up the tent we went to the main marquee to watch Moth Trap Releasing with Phil Stirling and Richard Lewington.  They had good selection including a few hawk moths such as poplar, elephant and privet.

There was heavy rain on Friday that meant the site was very muddy all weekend, but I managed to do a moth trap Saturday evening.  I trapped Peach Blossom, Magpie, Golden Spot, plus a few more that were new.

Few moths from the event and my moth trap

At the Wild Zone we did pond dipping and bug hunting with Mike Dilger and found a lot of different life.  Had a good selection of beetles including ground, lesser stag and violet ground beetles.

On the pond dip we had couple new finds including screech beetle larva, pirate otter spider and a caterpiller.  Our friend Neil known as pond man, Nick Baker, RSPB, Leicester Wild Life Trust and Richard Lewington were not able to identify whilst we was at the show.  We managed to identify it as a Parapoynx Sratiotata moth caterpiller, one of four different aquatic moths in the UK that Richard and Neil later confirmed.

Selection from pond dipping and bug hunting

A handy thing about staying on site is that you can get up early in the morning to catch the early birds.  Such as White Throat, Lesser White Throat, Blue, Great, Marsh & Long Ttailed Tits,Bull, Gold and Chaffinches, Willow Warbler, plus excellent views of Chiffchaffs.  We had a couple trips out on the reserve bird watching including a walk with the BTO younger birders.

We managed to find Black Tern and Ruddy Shelduck and identify ourselves, plus later had help identify Yellow Legged Gull.  A Wood Sandpiper dropped in for a short while then flew off and a Great White Egret stalked for food.

There was also great views of Osprey’s during the weekend flying, on the nest, plus managed to get a photo of one with a fish.

A variety of birds over the weekend

Was great to have so many people on the BTO walk, more than last year.

BTOYoungBirdersBTO Young Birders and Naturalists

OverallI had a great weekend and caught up with many of my friends, plus made some new ones.

Twitter links of some young naturalists that I met
Toby Carter – @tobywarbler
Calum Mckellar –  @mckellar_calum
Kabir Kaul – @kaulofthewilduk
Arjun Dutta – @arjundutta210

Frampton 03/08/2019

Had a good day at Frampton Marshes, highlight was seeing the Long Billed Dowitcher.  Was a day of waders including Spotted Redshank, Knot, Turnstone, Ruff, Dunlin, Redshank, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Common & Wood Sandpiper, Black & Bar Tailed Godwits.

There were also eight Spoonbill that were at the reserve and managed to get a photo when a Marsh Harrier flow over and spooked everything.

Many Painted Ladies were feeding on the teasel, some looked as though they had newley emerged as they were in good condition.

Black Tailed Godwits
Black Tailed Godwits

Frampton Marshes

Frampton Marshes



Painted Lady

Painted Lady



Reed Warbler

Reed Warbler


Spoonbill Feeding



Spoonbill in flight

Spoonbill FlightB.JPG

Spoonbill in flight