Sunday, 22 January 2017

Shrike Dipping

I gave the patch a miss on Saturday (always a tad risky) and instead opted for a dawn walk through the Ingrebourne Valley in search of the Great Grey Shrike. Finding this bird was always going to be difficult as it's been very mobile and hard to pin down to one location and with plenty of good habitat on offer over a large area, it's easy to see why this bird goes missing for days at a time before being reported again - but a local Shrike of any description is always worth trying for. After a couple of hours wandering the frozen trails (not entirely sure where I was going) it was no big surprise that I drew a blank, and not wanting to waste all of my Saturday morning I gave up and headed the short distance to Rainham.

After last weeks brief stop at Pitsea for the Waxwings in the pouring rain, it was great to see a more obliging bird at Rainham and this time on a wonderful clear, crisp winter's day.

Winter, Rainham, RSPB

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Wet Waxwings and a Sunday Roast

On route to Southend with the family for Sunday lunch at the in-laws, and I made a quick detour off the A13 towards Pitsea to catch up with a few Waxwings - my first birds this winter (I've been holding out for some local ones - no joy yet!). The Tesco's at Pitsea is a reliable site to catch up with Waxwings especially when the UK experiences winter invasions of these Scandinavian punks as I've seen them here on a couple of occasions in the past.

The weather did me no favours as it was tipping down but fortunately it took me all of two minutes to locate the birds in the trees opposite the Go Outdoors store. With the rain continuing to fall I happily stayed in the dry of the car to view the birds, but I could still hear their distinctive soft trilling calls over the noise of the radio. Unfortunately in the short amount of time I had, the birds all kept there distance, sticking to the tops of the trees. I counted 31 birds in total, fewer numbers that had been reported recently so these birds are starting to disperse and looking at the diminishing berries on the trees the rest of them will soon be on their way - hopefully to a Woodford/Wanstead postcode.

Essex, UK
11 of the 31 Waxwings on view at Pitsea, Essex

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Wanstead Gull Recoveries - Update

Firstly - Happy New Year 2017.

I have started my Wanstead patch list but as it's currently sitting on 54 (list here) with nothing out of the ordinary to report, I thought I would start the new year with a post regarding recent Gull recoveries on Wanstead Flats, in particular the Common Gull (J9R5) below.

Colour-ringed, Ringing, Gulls
Common Gull (J9R5) - Photo courtesy of Dante Shepherd
This bird has a very interesting history, it was first ringed in July 1998 in Bergen Norway before being re-caught again in the same location in July 2011 - and this time the bird was colour-ringed (J9R5), and then for 15+ years it was regularly recorded in Bergen with last time being 15th July 2016 and then 6 months later on the 29th Dec 2016 it was recorded on Wanstead Flats and for the 1st time away from Norway, covering a distance of 640 miles to get here.

Here is the current list of colour-ringed Gulls recorded on Wanstead Flats.


If you do see a colour-ringed Gull on Wanstead Flats please let me know and I will add the information to our growing list. Many thanks to Dante Shepherd for providing his recent sightings.