Spotted Crake

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I had a bit of an epic survey day today, leaving home at 05:00 I was at Dagenham Docks (even less glamorous than it sounds) by 07:15. After this survey I had to cross Greater London in a north-west direction to St Albans. So having started so early I had a little time to play with and a couple of birds en-route.

First-up I visited Hornchurch Country Park in the Ingrebourne Valley where a has been present since 16th September. The bird showed well soon after I arrived and I enjoyed excellent views for the time I was there.

Also here were Water (two), Cetti’s Warbler (six) and a handful of , and . I have seen around seven Spotted Crake in the UK but not for many years and I have never photographed the species. It was a cracking little bird showing fairly well in an area of cattle grazed flooded swamp.

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Spotted Crake (juvenile) – Hornchurch Country Park

Next I visited Roding Valley Meadows near to Chigwell where a juvenile has been present since 22nd September. While I have seen many I have not seen the species in juvenile plumage so was keen to see this bird as I was pretty much passing by on route to St Albans.

The bird was fairly mobile and often distant on the lake but eventually showed well in a secluded corner in the north-west of the lake.

– Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell

Red-necked Grebe (juvenile) – Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell

Red-necked Grebe (juvenile) – Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell

Red-necked Grebe (juvenile) – Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell

Red-necked Grebe (juvenile) – Roding Valley Meadows, Chigwell

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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Alan P Bruno

Ahh..St Albans! You said the magic memory word. 49 years ago I took almost a roll of 35mm on a dog running across the Roman Capitol. Then we had bangers and beans and a brew; I was expecting £ £ bec it was a 14C octagonal pub. A shilling sixpence, I think, sans brew.