is the fact that its a very short car journey, less than 15 minutes if there are no traffic jams, which means more time for bird watching and enjoying the marshes.
Today was not one of those days, the removal of the Dartford Tunnel toll booths and the subsequent road alterations was causing a traffic nightmare, and to make matters worse as I sat in the stationary traffic I realised that I had forgotten my binoculars and flask of coffee.
The weather forecast had given me just a small window of opportunity until mid afternoon, when heavy rain was expected, time was slipping by.
I eventually reached the tunnel, feeling slightly agitated now that I had made a wrong decision to come this way, but there was no turning back, and as I exited the tunnel into Essex, the sun suddenly broke through the gloom, I could feel the tensions slipping away.
A walk through the woodland trail was uneventful, but as I reached the woodland feeding station there was a good selection of birds feeding, I decided to make myself comfortable on the bench, a cup of coffee would have been nice, but the sun was shining and for most of the time I was alone undisturbed.
All the usual suspects were there, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Great tits, Blue Tits were flying in snatching some food and flying off again.
This was my best attempt at a Blue tit in flight,
they are just too fast.
I was trying to photograph the birds before they reached the feeders, I much prefer photographs showing the movement of birds.
but I'm still finding this very difficult.
Lots of Reed Buntings,with a few Robin and Dunnock feeding on the fallen seed around the base of the feeders.
|Reed Bunting ( male)|
|Dunnock ( Hedge Sparrow)|
A Small group of Greenfinch seemed more hesitant in their approach, but finally flew in to feed.
As I sat watching these birds flitting about in all directions, a movement at the back of the pool caught my eye and the hint of a white tail feather disappearing into the reeds, a possible Water Rail, more likely a Moorhen. I decided to sit and wait in the hope that it was a Water Rail, and that it might reveal itself again. Luckily there was plenty of avian action to watch.
Eventually after a long patient wait another movement in the reeds finally revealed the bird , a Water Rail in all its glory, and it walked out into the open area right in front of me.
It fed for a while around the feeders picking at the fallen seed, it must of caught sight of me, startled, it made a mad dash for the reeds and disappeared.
Content with this sighting, I moved off for a very pleasant walk around the marshes.
|Little Grebe pairing up.|
Just made it back to the car as the first drops of rain began to fall, ironically, the journey back through the tunnel was clear and quick.