Thursday, 14 May 2015

Reed Warblers !

I decided on a break from my domestic activities and go for a quick walk around Rainham RSPB, there was some warm sunshine and the winds had dropped, so it was with high hopes that I set off around the trails.
The reed beds were alive with Reed Warblers, chasing each other along the reed fringed dykes, gathering nesting material, constantly diving back into the cover of the reeds, strangely, I did not see one Sedge Warbler. Cetti's Warblers were very vocal, and as usual very camera shy. I did manage to get some nice images of the Reed Warblers though.

Reed warbler

Reed warbler
Others birds noted around the reserve were Little Egrets, Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Mute Swan, Greylag geese, Pochard, Mallard, Gadwall,and Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Redshank, Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen.

Reed Bunting
At the Marshland discovery area, the Kingfisher put on a nice but brief view, landing on the wire fence opposite its breeding tunnel, where it posed briefly with a fish in its mouth. It then darted across the pool and flew directly into the mouth of the tunnel, a few seconds later it reversed out of the tunnel,a quick dip into the water and it was off, probably on another fishing mission. the birds are  now feeding there offspring.

Butterflies seen were mainly Green Veined Whites, Small Whites, Peacock, Orange Tip.

Small White
A few teneral Damselflies were seen, but were hard to identify,and at least three or four Hairy Dragonflies also seen ,but none would settle for a photograph, a brief flyby of a female Broad bodied chaser was seen near the viewing screen before the woodland trail. I was hoping to see some Large Red Damselflies, but I could not find any.

Marsh frog
Marsh frogs very vocal all around the reserve.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Brief Encounters - Chiffchaff !!!

My daily dog walking duties in Ashenbank woods have brought me in close contact with some nice woodland birds this year, most of which I have recorded on my 'local patch' blog Ashenbank woods.

I have always been interested in wildlife, and in particular 'Bird watching', since my retirement from the fire service I have been trying to get to grips with wildlife photography which seems to go hand in hand with 'bird watching' very nicely, 

So on those special occassions when I have had a close and all too often brief encounter, its nice to  get some photographs to record the moment.

So with this in mind I thought the occasional blog page entitled 'Brief encounters' would give me the chance to record the moments in more detail.

What made this moment memorable for me, was the fact that for the last few weeks, following their recent arrival, I have been hearing Chiffchaffs calling all around the wood, I was desperate to get a photograph of this delicate little leaf warbler, but frustratingly, every time I saw one it would be moving around, quite fast, and usually obscured by tree branches.

So on a particularly pleasant morning, with the sun shining, I neared the end of my morning walk with my dog, the trail entered an area cleared by land management last year, in fact the area in front of the fallen tree in the photograph. I came face to face with a Chiffchaff no more than a few yards away from me, the Chiffchaff had a beak full of nesting material, which it immediately dropped, the strange thing was that instead of flying away it would not leave the area, flitting about on all the available twigs around me, I managed to get some photographs, unobscured for a change, and then moved away the Chiffchaff was obviously unhappy with my presence, calling all the time and wiping its beak on the twigs and branches.
I did some research on the Chiffchaff and it stated that the male Chiffchaff can be very protective to its chosen nest site, scolding intruders.

Extremely nice delicate bird to see at close quarters.