Sunday, 25 April 2010

Essex Birds

Wednesday was really one of those days that had a bit of a purpose to it. I'm not one for 'twitching', i don't go round chasing rare birds and trying to see them unless of course they are very close to where i live, but i certainly don't travel hours to see them. I can understand those that do it, but for me it's just not my thing. I do however travel away from home to places where birds are either in good numbers or are particulary photographable. Wednesday had an aim, to see and photograph Grasshopper Warblers....a bird i'd never seen before. We do have a few of these summer visitors around where i live but after seeing some pictures from Two Tree Island in Essex it just seemed like the "Groppers" here were just waiting to be photographed, an that's exactly what i did!

Whitethroat - the warm up act for the Groppers!


The Groppers themselves....saw 3 in total!








After some considerable time skulking around bushes i moved into the hide, almost as soon as i entered it i heard my first Cuckoo of the year, i quickly ran back out but couldn't locate anything cuckoo-ing, shame! Back in the hide and the Avocet and Oystercatchers were all over the place, tried to photograph some flight shots...here are the best of them!







After over 2 hours wandering Two Tree Island i felt it was time to leave, plenty of joggers and dog walkers had turned up by then making the birds alot more skittish and the groppers had since gone quiet, it just felt right to leave but where next?! I literally had no-where in mind! I actually stuck a location in Suffolk into my sat nav and was told it would take 2 hours to get there...at this point i considered my options and thought that would be mental plus bad for the environment and my health so i sat still and thought where next, it was only 9.30am and i had the whole day ahead of me and such lovely weather! I decided on Rainham Marshes, a place i kept meaning to go to and more importantly less than 30 minutes away! So off i went!
First thing i saw....my first ever Water Vole! Amazing....

As i walked along the boardwalk i sensed that this place was going to be good, it just kept getting better....how often to you walk past a Little Grebe with baby! It was just hanging out right next to the boardwalk! I froze on the spot as i saw it but it just sat there, loads of people must have walked past it and not even noticed! I took a couple of pictures then walked on so i didn't disturb it but to be honest it must be used to people as it literally sitting right next to the boardwalk!


Marsh Frogs were all over the place, a top amphibian!


The Wheatear were also posing nicely!


The other thing i noticed about this wonderful RSPB reserve is how tame the Reed Buntings are, many of the reedbeds are right next to and even overhang the boardwalk and the Buntings were loving the sun and loving just hanging on the reeds, this one was trying to catch flies...you can just make out the fly in the photo!


More Reed Bunting shots, complete with reeds!




The Cetti's warblers were alot more tricky to photograph, this is the best of a bad bunch!

I left Rainham Marshes full up on great wildlife moments and a delicious Ham and Cheese toastie at the cafe, its great when nature reserves have cafes! On the way home i popped into Rye Meads, another RSPB reserve just to see what was about....again i wasn't dissapointed, the sun continued to shine and the birds continued to pose!
Little Grebe


My first Sedge Warbler of the year


Gadwall...i really like these photos and the poses i caught




Chiffchaff


These buggers are awkward to photograph, Orange Tip Butterflies! Gorgeous and flappy!




The day ended with some common bird shots but one of my favourite birds....Long Tailed Tits, cute and playful and they always love the camera!



Great Day!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

A Trip Down the Local!

This latest post is in memory of my Nan, Ivy Lawrence who passed away today aged 99. She was an amazing person who I will never forget. Love you Nan!






This post is just a bit of a catch up on some of the recent photo's i've taken in my local area. I don't just zoom around the country to far flung nature reserves....i do do that, but i dont JUST do that! If that makes sense! Enjoy!

Nightingale - Paxton Pits NR



Dunnock - Paxton Pits NR


Nightingale - Paxton Pits NR


Willow Warbler - Paxton Pits NR


Reed Bunting - Paxton Pits NR


Song Thrush - The Lodge, RSPB


Bank Vole - The Lodge RSPB


Woodlark - Undisclosed Site



Wren - Oughtonhead Common




Jay - The Lodge, RSPB

Ring Ouzel - Pegsdon Hills


Blackcap - Pegsdon Hills


Green Woodpecker - Hitchin


Little Owl - Pegsdon Hills


Wheatear - Pegsdon Hills


Ring Ouzel - Pegsdon Hills


Red Kite - Pegsdon Hills

Monday, 19 April 2010

Superb Suffolk

Visited Minsmere RSPB Reserve coming up to a week ago, wanted to post these photos over the weekend but have done alot of local photography and nature watching recently and just haven't had time! Local photos will appear soon but for now enjoy these beautfiul birds from Suffolk, it really was one of the best days i have been out and i was rewarded with some of my favourite photos i have taken...

These Purple Sandpiper were at Ness Point, Lowestoft where i popped up to early in the morning before Minsmere. The weather wasn't great, it was a spring day but i was forced into rain jacket, hat and gloves! The Sandpiper were nicely perched on some rocks that were being beaten by foam, water and sea spray! In my quest for close up snaps i had to clamber over slipperly rocks coated in seaweed, the things we (i) do!



Sleepy!






Turnstones were hanging around and as usual were completely tame, this one seemed to love eating this weird sea thingy, i dont have a clue what it is but didn't fancy eating it myself!







I arrived at Minsmere, had a bit of a wander then plonked myself down in the Island Mere Hide, i was in for the long haul in an attempt to see a Bittern, it was quite a wait but some nice distractions....distracted me!

Bearded Tit


I officially love Little Grebe....







At around 2pm after around 3 hours of waiting a Bittern finally flew into the reedbed in front of the hide and then proceeded to skulk towards the hide eating sticklebacks as he went, the sun came out and he kept on getting closer and closer and then really bloody close! It was truly amazing and resulted in about 500 pictures being taken! And then, in one swift move he was back in the reeds and nowhere to be seen....i felt very lucky! Here are just some pictures...
















I finally dragged my ass out of the hide and de-stifened my legs, i could hardly walk! I had around 2 hours of sun left so did a full circuit of the reserve, heard plenty of Cetti's Warblers and Bearded Tit and saw many waders including Black Tailed Godwit, Redshank and Avocet....



Finally got back to the visitor centre where some 6 hours ago i was tucking into a toastie, saw a nice Chaffinch and tried to photograph Sand Martin, although that is bloody tricky!




Great Day!!!