Sunday, 4 January 2009

Bearded Bonanza

This weekend I decided to stay local, despite the lure of a 'nice' (if that's the term) Glaucous winged Gull up North. I seem to be far more sedentary these days ans decided with the fine weather to go out with the dog for a long walk/birding session. The first bird seen was a Chiffchaff near the bus garage evidently mourning the sad recent loss of the great Reg Varney. Many years ago I actually ticked off Olive and Stan at Barking, that dates me!! The weather was superb and despite all my efforts the atmosphere was a Waxwing calling free zone, only Fieldfare and Redwings on the berries. The pools of water that remain near to the CTRL tunnel and buildings are roughly where historically the best bits of reed and marsh used to be on the marsh and fortunately despite the CTRL some fine habitat remains. This superb spot held a multitude of birds though once again despite straining me ears for that loud carrying Remiz call the reeds were Penduline free.
Water Rail were particularly visible including this bird that probed around the edges. Up to eight birds were seen plus a good number of Teal, a Black-tailed Godwit, Green Sand, a superb Water Pipit and some stunning Snipe out in the open.
The distinct 'ping' sounds emanating from the reeds led me eventually to four Bearded Tits, stunning views with two male, two female. One of the males had a silver BTO type ring on it's right leg.

On the Sunday at Bough Beech this fine Bearded Tit performed brilliantly next to the track to the Oast house, great stuff.

Other birds at Bough Beech, 2 Mandarin, lots of Gulls but nothing unusual amongst them and a Sparrowhawk overhead. For updates on Bough Beech birds and the history of the site go to the following website.

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