Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Gruffalo

I was working today at Horsenden Hill in Ealing and just had to spend 20 minutes exploring the gruffly trail!

Monday, 5 June 2017

Thursley Common

I spent most of last Friday at Thursley Nature Reserve which is one of the largest remaining fragments of a once more extensive area of heathland in Surrey. Covering an area of 325 ha Thursley NNR holds extensive areas of open dry heathland, peat bogs, pine and deciduous woodlands.

This was my very first visit and to say I was impressed is an understatement and I will return again soon.

pretty much the first birds I saw were a pair of Stonechats this is the male, there were a number of pairs across the site
and the next birds seen were Dartford Warblers I saw at least five birds during the day, all viewed distantly from the footpaths, this is a heavily cropped image.
this is the bird I was hoping to see, a very confiding male Cuckoo and he didn't disappoint.

this could have been a great image, if I had managed to get the whole bird in the frame!

a familiar Cuckoo pose
this male Redstart also showed well

Mistle Thrush one of two and they always kept their distance!

Woodlark undoubtedly my best ever views of this species and well chuffed to see them so close!

Four-spotted Chaser there were a few of these around the ponds

a number of Common Lizards were using the Boardwalks to hunt and bask, including this fine male, if only I had got it all in focus!

and a Water Lily to end a fantastic day!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Rainham - early morning at the west end!

Just after 5am, low lying fog hides the ground but soon clears. Bird song is everywhere with the three main songsters being Whitethroat, Reed Warbler and Cetti's Warbler and there were lots of each species! Add to this the odd Wren, Dunnock Blackbird and Song Thrush, a distant Cuckoo and a few noisy parakeets flying through plus regular calls of Pheasant there are worse places to be!
Sedge Warbler

another Sedge Warbler

and another!

Hairy Shieldbug

young Dunnock

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Rainham - An early morning stroll along the seawall

A day off and what better way to start the day than a stroll along the seawall. There is always something to Rainham, but this morning was just perfect, the sun coming up, already warm, superb scenery and no people...not one for the first hour!

A Barn Owl hunted in front of the Marshland Discovery Zone great to see in the early morning light.
Barn Owl

Barn Owl
A male Stonechat could be seen in the distance surveying it's territory with the sky still showing signs of the sunrise...which I missed!
Stonechat just after sunrise

Whitethroat lots of these in the scrubby areas along the seawall

Skylark good to see a number of pairs are still breeding here


Garden Warbler near the serin mound great to hear it's song and occasionally see it!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A Crane in the mist!

Arrived yesterday morning at the serin mound at Rainham Marshes around 5.30 to find Wennington Marsh in fact the whole reserve mostly hidden beneath low lying fog. Spot a Crane, I couldn't even make out the cows!
Sun beginning to burn off the fog

But the sun was breaking through and the mist was slowly clearing, we moved position halfway up the landfill site path. I say we there was one other person looking. The Crane had been spotted flying in to Wennington Marsh the day before (Sunday) by the site manager while out surveying, his second mega find while out surveying in as many weeks!

Sure enough the chap who I was with (sorry don't know his name) spotted it. When I say spotted it, he saw it's head and neck. It was feeding along a ditch much closer to the A13 than to our position, so a long way off. We kept getting brief views of it's head until eventually it walked clear of the ditch and remained in full view preening for about 20 minutes, before walking back along the ditch and showing it's head again intermittently.
A very distant Crane in the mist
As I slowly walked back down the landfill footpath, I heard the distinctive 'Whet my lips' call of a Quail and is sounded very close to me, but alas remained hidden. Was I really on the edge of London, a Common Crane and a Quail, I had to pinch myself! lol.

I then had a walk along the seawall and saw 3 Cuckoos, a Lesser Whitethroat, lots of Common Whitethroats, and a reeling Grasshopper Warbler.
Common Whitethroat

Reeling Grasshopper Warbler

Common Whitethroat

Common Whitethroat

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Something a little different - Hackney Street Art

During lunch yesterday my colleague Emily took me on a street art ramble around Hackney and there was loads to see. Mr. Degri is an Italian artist and here are a couple of portraits.
Mr. Degri - Muhammid Ali

Mr. Degri - Lou Reed I think!

Tang - this huge blue dog was beside a veterinary surgery
 There are many stunning pieces of art by Zabou around Hackney and well worth seeking out!

 ALO has an interesting and unique style this is a new piece below


Original metal art work welded to the top of street it!


Zabou - These two large pieces are beside each other, so he is blowing her a kiss :-)