Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Pretty dire today, but the sun was out and it felt pleasant out of the breeze.  Just two Siskin and a Goldcrest were the highlights.  Two singing Cetti's Warbler and at least ten Chiffchaff were the best of the rest.

A few Migrant Hawker and Common Darter were still zipping about the reserve.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse

Got myself organised and prized myself out of the flat in the wee small hours to observe the Lunar Eclipse.

Not great photos but a joy to watch.

Saturday, September 26, 2015


A couple of hours at Reculver most of which was spent dining in the beer garden at the King Ethelbert that had created a sun trap feeling most agreeable out of the breeze.

Attempted a short walk but the day didn't pan out as I had hoped.  Another time hopefully.

Four Dark-Bellied Brent Goose flew past as did a single Oystercatcher.  A Turnstone was sat on the foreshore and a Northern Wheatear was present along the path past the Towers.

Friday, September 25, 2015


So I understand that the Coal Tit is a rare bird on the patch, and therefore I understand the pressure of reporting one.  I also recall the phrase about buses, something like you wait for one and then... anyway... I saw another Coal Tit today.  This time, the delightful @suzehu was with me.  We stood predictably against the wooden fenceline waxing lyrical about the imminent deluge of autumn vagrants in the south and east.  I binned a bird that emerged from the thickets by the hides.

It wasn't a Great Tit, neither was it a Blue Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Sombre Tit, Azure Tit..... it looked like a Coal Tit.  Then it landed and it called, twice, and it sounded like a Coal Tit, an unflourished uncomplicated 'pees-pees' it said, which I thought was rather rude.  Maybe the same bird frequenting our local environs, but I hope it gets seen again.

Such a lovely day and in good company, the sun shone brightly, and out of the breeze it was discernibly balmy.  Good weather generally means a dearth of birds, but it turned out to be a pretty decent day.

Aside from the Coal Tit, a Redpoll called as it flew north .  A Spotted Flycatcher then appeared which was to be joined by a second bird later in trees by the wooden canoe.  It was a joy watching their feeding sorties in the bright sunshine.  In the same area, a Goldcrest called and then flew over.

A wander over to the hide, where a Kingfisher was actively feeding, circulating round the beds and at times settling allowing great views.  A Peregrine flew low over and away to the north, and two Reed Warbler flitted low on the reeds at the back of Bed 15.  Three Shoveler were on Bed 13, two eclipse male and a female, and a Cetti's Warbler exploded into song somewhere close by.

Later, another Redpoll again flew north calling, and a Common Buzzard appeared high from the south before heading east.  It was warm by now but the hope for more large raptors didn't materialise.

Three Little Egret flew up the relief channel.

Also of note were the number of Migrant Hawker on the wing, at least six enjoying the warm and Hobby-less conditions.  A couple of Common Darter were also present.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Slim pickings today having arrived shortly after the rain had stopped.  Spent almost three hours on-site best of which were two Spotted Flycatcher that were making their way through the reserve.  A Common Whitethroat put in a brief appearance while the supporting cast included four Siskin, eight Meadow Pipit, two Willow Warbler, two Goldcrest, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, and a Cetti's Warbler.

Local LV staff were carrying out a bat survey and rather helpfully flushed all the Teal which numbered at least 21 and a single Shoveler.

Both Common Darter and Migrant Hawker were on the wing.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Waterworks - Coal Tit

A stark contrast to the persistent rain of yesterday, the morning was bathed in warm autumnal sunshine tempered slightly by a cool moderate breeze, but it was a most agreeable day to be out.

So another late morning arrival down at the Waterworks and another couple of hours spent staring up at the sky hoping for a flyover something, something that might ignite a bit of something into a September that has been a little ordinary.

In recent days the first bird I have noted has been Siskin, usually alerted by it's mournful call.  Today there were a total of six flyovers, and three Meadow Pipit heading north.

Standing in my usual spot, propped up against the wooden fenceline along the main path, I heard a familiar call.  Familiar in general terms but definitely not a familiar call for the Waterworks.  I scanned the top of a Poplar to see a Coal Tit that had settled there briefly before flying over my head and into the woodland on the southside,

I am aware that this is something of a local rarity, some might say mega, but it does validate the basis of contextual birding in making the usual unusual.

Also of note, a flyover Jackdaw, another bird distinguished by its relative scarcity.  A Kingfisher posed briefly on Bed 13, a Shoveler flew over the hides, and a total of 12 Gadwall were present on Bed 15.  A small group of House Martin passed overhead, around half a dozen Chiffchaff were active along the treeline, two Sparrowhawk were on the hunt, and a Cetti's Warbler was again vocal from the reedbed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wilson's Phalarope

Was getting a bit cheesed off sitting at home, watching birds and birders enjoying the vagaries of autumn.  It is a magical season for wildlife, for birders too chasing down the perpectual supply of Neartic and Siberian avian wanderers.  It's a season not to be missed, but alas, health woes continue and getting out and about is proving to be a challenge.  Yet the will is there, not helped by my contemporaries picking off these autumn gems - and don't talk to me about the Empidonax.

So I drove to Vange Marsh RSPB, and in the rain, the Wilson's Phalarope was showing well albeit distantly in the rain.  It was feeding furiously at the back end of the scrape where there were a number of birds present including a Little Stint.  This was my second WP having seen the one at Hillesden, Bucks in 2006, but nice to connect with one under an hour from home, and without any major dramas.

one for the record books

Monday, September 21, 2015


Quiet on the passerine front but still a bit of interest with two Siskin, one of which sat in the tree that has been loyal to chats and flycatchers in recent days.

A Peregrine flew onto one of the pylons, and a single Meadow Pipit flew north.  A female Shoveler swam across Bay 13.  One of Cetti's Warbler called from the reeds, and a flock of seven Mistle Thrush were feeding against the fenceline.  A small cloud of Sand and House Martin flew over as the gloom set in, with at least 70 in total.

This worn Red Underwing sat on the wooden shelf by the hides.

Friday, September 18, 2015


Conspicuous today was the large movement of hirundines piling through in large numbers avoiding the heavy showers and making haste toward the continent. By the time I made my way out the majority had made their way through.  A dozen Swallow lingered over the Waterworks and around 30 Sand Martin flew through.

The undoubted highlight were four Spotted Flycatcher that were present for around an hour before moving on.  They were typically flighty and a joy to watch.

There were also at least five Willow Warbler in the same area, and a Lesser Whitethroat making its way through with half a dozen Blackcap.  A juvenile Peregrine flew onto one of the pylons.

A quick look on the Beds held three Gadwall, seven Teal, and 26 Mallard, and three very young Moorhen - must have only been a few days old so a very late brood.

A Cetti's Warbler called close in from Bed 13 and a Goldcrest was seen calling from the scrub.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Waterworks - Fancy a Chat

A window of opportunity both in weather and health and a self-prescribed visit to the Waterworks that provides potential of something interesting without the need for physical exertion - which currently - I am unable to extract from this ailing body.  Yet there is hope, and today the sun was out, a light cool breeze, and life once again felt real.

There was evidence of visible migration with at least 25 Swallow powering over, moving through in small pulses with around 30 House Martin and roughly the same number of Sand Martin.

I had bumped into Graham, and we wandered through the reserve.  Evidence of grounded migrants weren't obvious, but a single Common Whitethroat was welcome as we attached ourselves to the wooden fence staring expectantly into the sky.  First up, a chat flew across the treeline and settled on top of one of the Poplars - a Whinchat joined then by a second what looked like an adult and a juvenile.

A Cetti's Warbler called from somewhere deep within the reeds, and a Chiffchaff flitted within one of the bushes where a family of Greenfinch were vocal and flighty.

A Willow Warbler then flew across onto the top of a tree now bereft of leaves.  The Whinchat settled in the same tree having moved from where it was first located.  Peculiarly, these were replaced by a Spotted Flycatcher that briefly sallied for insects before disappearing altogether.

Two vocal Meadow Pipit flew north.  A Kingfisher was heard flying somewhere within the Waterworks but out of view and a distant Sparrowhawk was being mobbed my corvids.  An adult Greater Black Backed Gull flew over.

Having then been beset by a school party and Lee Valley staff carrying out more works, we headed out to the Pitch and Putt.  It was generally quiet here, but for the first Stonechat of the autumn that finally settled long enough for a quick pose.

A lethargic wander round was completed by a single flyover Siskin.

This stunning Migrant Hawker was captured sunnying itself on a Bramble.