Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mayesbrook Park - Walk cut short

Beautiful sunny but cold morning, so I took Coco for a walk around the park, only this time when we got to the sluice she either decided to jump or she slipped but either way she fell in. Right where the concrete sides are steeply angled and she had no way of getting herself out, so muggings here had to throw off all my gear and jump in! A kind lady helped and I was able to pass Coco to her and scramble myself back out. We looked like drowned rats and smelt like sewer rats, needless to say the walk ended!!

Managed a few pictures before the unplanned swim, mainly of Tufted Ducks though. The next competition at Dagenham Camera Club is a black & white print competition and I thought a tuftie may be a possibility!
Grey Heron a little distant and not sharp

Tufted Duck drake 
Tufted Duck drake 

Tufted Duck drake 

Tufted Duck drake 

immature gull probably Herring Gull

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Mayesbrook Park - Sunny but a cold wind!

Lunchtime walk around the park with my dog, the sun was deceptive because the wind was strong and must have had some northerly influence as it was pretty cold!

Picked up a back-up camera yesterday with a couple of lenses, all images below were with a Nikon D50 and a 50mm 1.8D lens.

The wildlife lake looking west from the road end

A bare tree that will soon be ready to bud again

Quite a few Hazel catkins around

Dogwoods always look striking at this time of the year

Part of the boating lake which has a few small islands and what looks like a small heronery on one

Boating lake

and again

Pair of Mute Swans drift by quite closely

This is where they would launch their canoes

Looking north towards the sports centre and beyond that is a cricket pitch

The park attracts a lot of gulls both on and off the water and of at least five different species sometimes more if you are lucky. In the background you can see the newish nature area consisting of various sized ponds some fenced off, the Mayes Brook  has been made more natural and the whole project was part of the UK's 'Climate Change Park'

One of the larger ponds

And another with the obligatory fire extinguisher!

And my dog Coco was never far behind me

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Mayesbrook Park

Spent a couple of hours walking our dog around Mayesbrook Park which is literally five minute from home. I spotted 33 different bird species including a pair of Egyptian Geese, Little Egret and a Grey Wagtail. Never actually took my camera so a couple of iPhone images are below.

The park is situated between the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and is your typical urban park,lakes attract birds from all directions, being ideally placed between the River Thames and Roding Valley, also not too far away from the likes of the Dagenham Chase.

Upney Station on the District Line is a five minute walk away from the park, turning lef tout of the station, walk down the hill and first right into The Drive and you will see the park entrance. Alternatively by car, there is parking off of Lodge Avenue, opposite the Roundhouse Public House.

Two lakes, one a boating lake which is used by the local schools (not very often!) are situated in the mile long by a third wide (roughly) park. The smaller of the lakes by the railway is reed and willow fringed and attracts Common Warblers and Tits in winter, as well as the regular duck species. It has held Wintering Goldeneye and more recently a pair of Smew (for a whole day!!) There is a small Heronry on the islands of the boating lake, normally consisting of three or four nests, and recently upto five Little Egrets roosting. Peregrine, Med Gull, Green Sandpiper, Jack Snipe and Water Pipit have been found, along with the regular Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher that feed along the stream that runs through the park.

It is a park I hope to keep an eye on during 2018 accompanied ogf course by my little dog Coco!

I though it might be worth taking regular photographs from fixed locations throughout the year to capture the changes during each season.

Right beside the car park is extremely popular with young mums and their children for feeding an assortment of birds. While the food may not be particularly nutritional for the birds it is an extremely important first encounter with nature and birds in particular for the children. And who knows one may go on to be a great conservationist!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Rainham - watching the reedbed feeders

Yesterday I sat for about an hour on the bench watching the bird feeders with strategically placed branches to help with a natural looking image. The feeders were popular with blue and great tits, collared doves, robin, goldfinch, greenfinch, chaffinch, reed bunting and a fly over great spotted woodpecker.
Blue Tit

Great Tit

Great Tit

Great Tit

Collared Dove

Blue Tit

Blue Tit

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Rainham Marsh - Riverside walk

Started this morning pre-dawn at Aveley Bay hoping for some sunrise images, fat chance as there was cloud cover in the east while the rest of the sky was clear, there were twenty Avocet in the bay though. To be fair the sun did eventually come out to play and stayed for quite a while, and if you could get out of the biting northerly wind it felt quite pleasant.

I then parked up at the stone barges and walked east to the beacon (can't think of the name of it). I then retraced my steps, carried on post the barges, where I saw a distant Water Pipit, beyond Tilda Rice until you come to a deadend, (i think it's a deadend anyway!) Lots of Black-tailed Godwits and dunling in a number of seperate groups along the way.

The deep sea diver

drake Teal

There were a pair of Stonechat just east of the barges feeding mainly along  the tideline

Heavily cropped and out of focus Water Pipit at the stone barges

Police on patrol

There must have been a dozen seperate groups of Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Rainham Marshes - New Years Day

Thanks to H and the staff and volunteers the reserve was opened early for New Years Day at 7am. I managed to arrive just before 8 later than I had planned!

The light wasn't great for photography and it never really improved during the three hours or so I was there. But it was great as it always is to get out on the first day of a new year, it least it wasn't raining and I saw some great birds as well. A pair of Peregrine Falcons were present most of the time, either on their favourite pylon or hunting over the marsh. And, it was spectacular to see one hunting and take a Teal in flight (unless of course you were the teal!). She came up from below it and took the middle one of three birds flying in a line, almost certainly killing it instantly with those talons and the power of the impact. It landed in the centre of the reserve out of sight to pluck and devour its prey.
Little Grebe taken through the glass in the Marshland Discovery Zone

The targets a retained part of the reserves military history

Carrion Crow

Not as common as their name suggests a Common Gull

A Ruff showed well from the northern boardwalk viewing area

A lovely group of mainly drake Pintails, they were didtant though

A Robin serenaded us in the woodland

Finished the day with a full moon from my garden

Saturday, 30 December 2017

A walk in Central Park

Quite a dull day with little to see, but our dog enjoyed the walk and I did manage a couple of images mainly of her and by the way I still need to perfect photographing small quick moving mammals!
Lesser Black-backed Gull adult

Coco at full tilt!

It was certainly windy enough for a spot of kite flying!