Saturday, 7 February 2009

Snow pictures (at last!)

Apologies for the appalling lack of activity this week. This has largely been caused by the BT Hub falling over every other night (new one has arrived and will be installed tomorrow) and the recent acquisition of this and this. I will be spending little for the next few months but omg it's worth it.

I almost wish I'd gone to Rainham today, but I will miss the start of the six nations for nothing short of actual destruction of the Earth. Terrible game, undeserved scoreline. We'd better improve before we play Wales or they will knock great big holes through us.

Anyway, a good time had by all on Monday if the hundreds of snowball fights were anything to go by. I skipped the big fight in the street outside my house and ate a bacon sandwich instead, score! Then I braved the snow and ice with this person to see what we could see.

We cut through Harrow Lodge Park to get to The Chase - which is where the REAL action is - and stopped by the lake to get our fill of Wildfowl. The normal pond ducks turned up (go tufties!), along with some Pochard (all male) and 3 Little Grebe (year tick, w00t!). We were inundated with fairly tame Robins, and on the way out we came across a flock of Goldfinch which Parus estimates at about c.30. Seeing as he is better at this than me, I'll bow to his judgement.

Then to the Chase proper. Walking up the road we saw a brown streak with a blue bit fly past ("Jay!") and at the entrance a Little Egret passed overhead, so it was all looking good for birds until we actually got into the Chase. Very quiet over there - once again, the birds outwitted us by staying warm and dry while we got cold and wet. It wasn't all birdless; we almost walked into a Stock Dove coming out of the trees (tick) and got a good view/earful of a flypast Meadow Pipit. There was a large flock of Lapwing on one of the lakes and 6 Redwing on a distant flypast. Saw what was probably a Greenfinch across some large frozen puddles and spotted some more Little Egret, making this a patch I'll try to visit much more regularly. Usually when I'm out over The Chase I'm dogwalking - getting out there without dogs was well worth the effort. Also stumbled across some Reedmace tucked away behind some fences which I didn't know was there, so next time the Pendulines get sick of Rainham I know where I'll be heading.

Finished off with a walk down the river Rom where I got my first good view of a Redwing and heard 2 Kingfishers, which I'm having for my list. Kingfishers are a bogey bird for me. They invariably fly past when I'm looking elsewhere, or daydreaming, or, occasionally, blinking. The river's local for me, so I'm confident I'll see them some day. Nothing else turned up, but Parus got excited about some trees.

Edit: Damnit, I forgot the Goldcrests! How can you forget GOLDCRESTS, they're brilliant. Anyway, we also saw some Goldcrests by the river. YearList++, theChase++. Added below.

Site lists:
  • Harrow Lodge Park - 21
  • The Chase - 17 (early days yet for this site)
Year list - 70


  1. "Saturday 7th: Dagenham Chase LNR:Woodcock flushed from Rom flood plain at 2.45pm also 1 male bullfinch. ( V.Halley-Frame )"

    Looks like a promising site.

  2. Awesome. Might try a morning walk tomorrow. Or, seeing as I'm still up at half 12 with a glass of Whisky, I might not.

  3. And I hate kingfishers, NEVER seen one properly, although James *claims* to see them all the time. Always looking the wrong way at the time... I think it's a conspiracy.

  4. Hmmm, your experience does seem suspiciously similar to mine...