24th February 2013 - Rainham Marshes

Another freezing cold day made us decide Dungeness would be an extremely bad plan, leading to frostbite and a hatred of Kent.  Therefore we moseyed on up to Rainham Marshes, knowing we could retreat home quickly if it got any colder.  A Barn Owl had been sitting on the owl box, so we took the route the opposite way round to usual - anti-clockwise.  This was painful as I have bizarre OCD things about stuff like that.  Anyway, I got dragged that way round and it got worse as we came across a Blackbird on its back in the path.  It was still breathing but looked so cold.  Being me, I was distraught for most of the way around.  The analytical, science bit of me completely understands that fluffy cute things have to die and it will probably feed another fluffy cute fox or something, but the tearful I LOVE CUTE THINGS side of me always wins.  It's a bit embarrassing.  A Hen Harrier had been seen over the reserve that morning, which would have been our first, but only Marsh Harrier were around when we were there.  (Of course it was reported an hour after we left too.  Always the way).  We nearly fell off the boardwalk when a small dark brown bird shot out of the reeds to our left and started doing the loudest alarm call I have ever heard.  We thought it must be a Cetti's, but were confused by how out in the open it was and by the unfamiliar call.  Upon getting home we confirmed the call, but were still a little puzzled by the odd behaviour.  Ah well, first Cetti's Warbler for the year!    

Day list: 38
Year list: 92
Lifers of year list: 5


This Magpie had stunning blue feathers - quite hard to see here though...

Wigeon field!

Kestrel time

Pochard attempting to walk on water

The Kestrel has a rest and looks cute


23rd February 2013 - London Wetland Centre

The weekend was bitterly cold and miserable so our bird watching trips were short, but a lot better than we expected.  The Wetland Centre provided the customary yummy fry up, then we trotted around, briefly stopping to freeze a little more in each hide.  A chilly puffed up Jay and a Green Woodpecker outside the front were the highlights of the very quick and very cold trip.

Day list: 34
Year list: 91
Lifers of year list: 5

Shoveler doing their spinning in circles thing

Puffed up cold Jay

Hello Mr Great Crested Grebe

Peacock Tower

Canada Goose
Gadwall time

17th February 2013 - Brueton Park

A last trip on the Warwickshire visit was to Brueton Park in Solihull.  This was just a quick visit to see if we could add Treecreeper and Nuthatch to the weekend list.  It was incredibly busy due to the great weather, but a lovely park, with plenty of areas to birdwatch.  Notable species were two Wren playing out in the open, Long-tailed Tit flitting through the trees and a great Nuthatch high up in a tree.  There were also a few Buzzard high up in the sky and a Woodpecker was thought to be seen but not confirmed.

Day list: 14
Year list: 91
Lifers of year list: 5

16th February 2013 - Draycote Water

Luckily had recovered the next day to be able to go round Draycote Water, which is a great place for bird watching.  It is near to Rugby in Warwickshire and the path around is about 5 miles.  We were aiming for 30 species but reached 40, with 2 new for the year.

The most obvious bird when you arrive at the reservoir are the tonnes of gulls circling around.  We made the mistake the first time we visited of coming especially for one gull - needless to say, we didn't find it!

There were lots of Pied Wagtail around, 10 together at one count.  It was easy to get distracted at that point on the walk - 10 Pied Wagtail behind and a Chiffchaff, Goldfinch and Goldcrest in front!  I was amazed at the number of Goldcrest we saw (or that one managed to keep up with us all the way around...).  We were also extremely happy to get great views of two Black-necked Grebe, close to the shore.  There were a great deal of Rook hanging out with a Muntjac deer and a rabbit and coming back to the car park we spotted two Grey Wagtail.

Day list: 40
Year list: 90
Lifers on year list: 5

Lovely Pied Waggie

Black-necked Grebe



Black-necked Grebe

Pochard and Black-necked Grebe

The reservoir


That is a Goldcrest being cute.  Honest.



Muntjac Deer

15th February 2013 - Marsh Lane Nature Reserve

Birding with a horrific hangover is a bad idea.  I have little recollection of this trip, except for lots of mud, a sprinting pheasant and bad photos of a Goosander.  There was also a great muscley Green Woodpecker but I was too sleepy to even lift my camera by then.


This is a private reserve and the permit for a day is £4.  It is well worth it, lots of birds, past sightings have had some interesting species and it is great for train and plane watching too!

Oystercatcher and Cormorant


December 2010 - Tunisia

 Finally getting round to going through the photos from our trip to Tunisia was very interesting and productive.  I had only just started birding at the time and could barely remember 'Starling' so certainly wasn't doing very well at identifying any of the birds we saw.  However, after 2 years, I can at least base the pictures in a family and then trawl the bird guide to try and match.  This led to around 10 new lifers - brilliant!


Black Redstart


Common Bulbul

Laughing Dove

House Bunting

Moussier's Redstart

Sardinian Warbler


Spanish Sparrow

Spotless Starling

Thekkla/Crested Lark?

Trumpeter Finch

White-crowned Wheatear

Mourning Wheatear

Crossbill of some sorts!

Cute cat.