Birdwalk News October 17th

A rather grey autumnal day with a nippy north-easterly breeze which brought some Scandinavian winter visitors our way. Newly arrived Meadow and Rock Pipits flitted around the saltmarsh, a flock of Fieldfares flew over calling “chack-chack-chack”, and three flocks of Redwings flew steadily west, pushing on with a tail wind behind them. Overhead a single Siskin called and kept on going, while in the bushes Goldcrests gave their thin high pitched calls, but proved difficult to see. It has been a particularly good autumn for Goldcrests with hundreds of this diminutive bird arriving on the east coast. Its amazing to think of a bird the size of a man’s thumb and weighing less than a 10p piece flying across the North Sea at night. In fact they use to be call the “woodcocks pilot” as people believed they crossed the sea on the back of Woodcocks which often arrived on the coast at the same time.

On the river the waders were jumpy, an unseen predator putting them all to flight and providing us with a spectacular aerial display. A large flock of Dunlin flashed white, then grey, while Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings joined in with the show.

We also had very good views of two “pairs” of Grey Herons on the near shore, along with numerous Little Egrets. Further along towards the point Avocets, Ringed Plover and Curlews showed well, and some exceptionally close Grey Plovers allowed us to admire their delicate grey plumage and large dark eyes.

At Alresford Creek there were a few recently arrived Wigeon and Teal, and a scattering of Brent Geese, and out in mid-channel a single Great-crested Grebe dived for sprats along side several Dabchicks. All in all a good mornings walk.

Recent sightings:Goldcrests have continued to arrive in force, listen for their thin “zree-zree-zree” call almost anywhere there are bushes. A Peregrine soared over the Sailing Club with a pair of Stonechats on the nearby marsh, Glyn has also seen Black Redstart here.

Also most unusually two Ravens flew high over my garden uttering their distinctive croaking call. A bird long extinct in Essex, but starting to make a come back.

Next Birdwalk Sat 14th November 10am £8 email or call 01206 826753 to book

Mural at Rainham

Finally finished the pillar mural at Rainham RSPB, the colours came up nicely with the varnish, and everyone was very pleased.

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Birdwalk News September 2015

A fine warm sunny autumn morning for the first walk of the new season, and there were plenty of birds to enjoy. The estuary was full of waders newly returned from their high Arctic nesting grounds. Some, such as a particularly smart Grey Plover, still retained their summer breeding plumage, although most of the Knot, Black-tailed Godwits and the scattering of Dunlin, had moulted into their duller winter attire. Amongst the commoner waders we had good views of three rather dapper Ringed Plovers, much smaller than the Grey Plover and with a smart black “ring” across the white breast.

Whilst watching the waders a seal swam past and later on gave a good performance as it fished the shallows. Overhead a Buzzard was mobbed by crows as usual, and a few late Swallows headed south, while nearby a Reed Bunting gave good views.

Further along the trail a Great-spotted Woodpecker played hide and seek around the bare branches, in a sunny corner some Linnets perched up, Goldfinches sang, and a couple of warblers,(Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroat) proved had to see well.

Returning to the river there were more waders, a fishing Common Tern, several Little Grebes and the usual Little Egrets.

Recent sightings:The super moon has been impressive the last fews days, and has coincided with the arrival of the first Goldcrests and Redwings of the Autumn.

The next couple of weeks should see the first returning Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal.

Next walk 17th October 10am £8 call 01206 826753 to book

Latest Sketches

Had an enjoyable day sketching at the RSPB reserve at Wallasea as part of SWLA project. Lots of wide open vistas with man made structures amongst the developing new habitats. Brilliant sharp light after the deluge of the previous day.

Wallasea 23.9.15 (1280x933)

Wallasea 23.9.15 Teal (1280x662)


Wallasea 23.9.15 MH


First walk of the new season is 19th September, 10am, £8pp, call 01206 826753 or email, for more details and to book.

Recent sightings along the river include Spoonbill, Avocets, good numbers of waders such as Dunlin and Knot, and an unseasonably early Common Scoter.

Alresford Creek (1280x919)

Mural at Rainham

end of the first day painting the new mural at Rainham RSPB


Latest Sketches

View from South Hide, Minsmere from a recent visit, there was a constant coming and going of terns.


Pied Wagtail feeding in horse paddock from my summer trip to the IOW

PiedWag-IOW (1280x801)