Tuesday 17th January 2012
Abberton Reservoir  & Brickfields LNR
A busy Birdwatching day – Took a trip out with a couple of my ‘Birding friends’ this morning to Abberton Reservoir over Colchester way. The reservoir was mostly frozen over, but it didn’t seem to bother the Ducks and Geese, they were finding the water which was free. Plenty of the commonest Ducks & Geese were on show in their hundreds – Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon and Pochard. The Geese were Greylag, Canada and of course the Mute Swans, also one Egyptian Goose, a feral resident now I suppose!
But the best sightings were  1 Bittern, 3 Short eared Owls, 3 White fronted Geese, 5 Whooper Swans, 1 Marsh Harrier,2 Kestrels and a little Meadow Pipit ( well it was ‘little’ against the rest).
Well worth the freezing weather ( near freezing, but sunny at 10:00am).

Back home at 3:00pm and straight over Brickfields. The pond was frozen over and nothing was on there, but some good sightings seen elsewhere.
2 Song Thrushes, 10 Long tailed Tits, 3 Redwing and at last a male Bullfinch, in its best bright feathers. I have heard a Bullfinch calling a couple of weeks ago , but could not see it, well now I have ! All these birds seen in 1 hour, just before the light faded.  
Bye for Now

4th January 2012
Brickfields LNR.
Well Tuesday’s weather forecast was right, wet and windy, horrible to say the least. I said it was looking bad, but that was an understatement! About mid day a mini storm hit my garden, just like a hurricane, I’m glad my garden fences are still in one piece!
I did not think it was a good idea to venture out and check on the trees over Brickfields for damage. You probably saw the damage across the country on the news. Didn’t fancy being hit on the head by falling branches, let alone a whole tree!
So today had a look over Brickfields, no damage to report, just a few small branches broken off and a bit more wood in the pond. I thought we got away lightly.
Sometimes good comes from out of bad , for another new bird added to the list of species and one I was not expecting.... A Little Egret.  It was around the pond and took off when I approached. A lovely bird.

The Little Egret is more delicate-looking than any other heron-like bird which occurs in Britain. It is much smaller than a Grey Heron, with snowy white plumage, a long pointed black bill and black legs with strikingly yellow feet. In flight its legs project from the back. It first appeared in the UK in significant numbers in 1989 and first bred in Dorset in 1996. It is now at home on numerous south coast sites, both as a breeding species and as a winter visitor. It is included on the Amber List as rare breeding species. A recent colonist, it is most common along the south and east coasts of England. They are becoming increasingly common sight in inland areas where there is water and wetlands. A few are seen at Rainham Marsh on a daily basis. See pictures below.   Bye for now
                                  Little Egret                                          &                               Illustration in flight
2nd January 2012
Brickfields LNR
Very quiet over Brickfields this morning. Not many birds around except a few Blue & Great tits, Chaffinches and a couple of Robins. Not even a song from the Robins or Blackbirds, even though it was a sunny morning and very mild. Yesterdays rain has lifted the pond water level and soon the Newt model will have its tail in the water. I think it's wellie boots time if you are considering a walk around the reserve off the hard pathway.
The weather is unseasonable and I am thinking, are there any seasons anymore ?  In 2011 the weather was all over the place, spring was warmer then summer....Summer was wetter then autumn and this winter so far, is warmer then normal !

This what the Met. Office had to say on Friday of last week ; This year was the second warmest on record for the UK, the Met Office says - '"Provisional figures show that only 2006, with an average temperature of 9.73C (49.5F), was warmer than 2011's average temperature of 9.62C (49.3F). This year saw high temperatures for lengthy periods; including the warmest April and spring on record, the second warmest autumn and the warmest October day. Early figures suggest 2011 is ending with a "close to average" December.
The Met Office said its figures were a mean temperature taken over day and night.
Apart from January, the other months that had below-average temperatures were June, July and August."

I am going to put this website on the Home Page of the Brickfield Birder, so you can check , but don't blame me if it's wrong !  
Don't look good for tomorrow !
Bye for now


1st January 2012
A Happy New Year to all Brickfielders, that’s to all who visit Cranham Brickfields !

A little Birdy story to start the year !
Most Birders, that’s birdwatching enthusiasts, in Birdspeak, will have been out today to start their ‘Year list’ of seen bird species. Most keen birders will have a ‘ Year list’ and a ‘Life list’  Over 250 seen species in a year is very good. You need to be able to go to some diverse habitats and be willing to cover thousands of miles travelling all over the U.K including the Shetland and Scilly Isles to stand a good chance of reaching that number. I am told a London Birder listed 302 species this year I would love to see his diary! Wonder if he came to Brickfields ? I doubt it, but went to Rainham RSPB I bet ! In fact I know he did.

Because in the second week of January last year a very rare Slaty –back  Gull got blown into Rainham and stayed on a rubbish tip near to the RSPB Rainham reserve for a couple of days. I say very rare, but that is an understatement, it was a first for the U.K ! Nearly two thousand birders came from all over the U.K to add to their ‘Life list’ in the few days it stayed. I arrived at about 6.30am on the Saturday morning (15.1.11) and at least 500 people were there before me. By near Lunchtime it was recorded at over 1200. You can see why ! It was not only a first for the U.K but the Gull itself breeds on the western coast of
Alaska but travels widely during non-breeding seasons. Claims have been made as to its (sometimes occasional) presence throughout North America as well as the eastern coast of Asia. Like other gulls, the Slaty-backed Gull is both a forager and a scavenger, that’s why it was at home on the rubbish tip...but Rainham...wow! I don’t think Cranham would have coped, let alone Brickfields Car Park!

I went to the Rainham Reserve today and listed over 50 species, but apparently 81 was recorded, so you see some and miss some ( dipped out, in birdspeak). Last year’s (2011) number of different birds seen over Brickfields is 49...never mind, come on its heaven to me! I’ll tell you about my ‘life list’ another time.

I will visit Brickfields tomorrow and happy to do so !
Bye for now.