Documenting surprising sightings, fascinating findings, & exciting encounters, with birds, wildlife, & other nature,
around Hemel Hempstead...

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Regular visitors will have noticed a decrease in posts to the HEMEL NATURE
blog - this is because I have been living & working out of the area, & due to the job my time out
& about with nature in Hemel is limited. I am working on a new blog to come soon & hope that the work that has gone into HEMEL NATURE will prove useful & interesting to those still visiting it.

In the mean time you can follow me at my new accounts on the following social media platforms...

Instagram @DanFWildlife >

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Many thanks for your support,


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Out of Area: Southend

This weekend I was out of Hemel, visiting family in Southend-on-Sea & Shoeburyness. Being busy fitting everyone in meant there was no time for any birding in the area I'm afraid, despite there being Snow Buntings on the beach nearby aswell as Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Purple Sandpiper, Razorbill & Puffin all being seen within walking distance from our hotel.

I did manage a quick look down on the shore opposite our hotel, The Roslin, before breakfast. Despite it being engulfed in thick fog I did manage to pick out a few birds of interest, these were...

DARK-BELIED BRENT GEESE - feeding out on the mud in the thick of the fog.
OYSTERCATCHERS - a few feeding here & there.
DUNLIN - a few small groups feeding voraciously close in to the 'beach'.
KNOT - a few small groups & individuals mixed in with the dunlin a bit further out.
REDSHANK - one individual feeding alone.
TURNSTONES - a few spread about feeding close in to the 'beach'.

In the thick fog I managed a few record shots & for a few minutes when the fog eased off slightly I managed a few better shots of one very busy Turnstone. See the pics below, some enlarge when clicked on...

Thick fog at Southend-on-Sea.

Oystercatcher with Ensis species (Razor Shell).

Knot with muddy bill feeding.


Dunlin feeding.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese feeding out in the thick of the fog.

A very busy Turnstone.

Turnstone searching for breakfast.

Turnstone turning a Mactridae species (Trough Shell).

Turnstone with Cardiidae species (Cockle) breakfast.

Later on in the day I noticed an Adult Winter MEDITERRANEAN GULL fly in from the sea & perch on a lamp post outside the amusement arcades. Southend is a nationally important area for Med Gulls & up to 30 at once can be seen during the winter on the 1.34 mile (2.16km) long pier. During the end of July / beginning of August there can be in excess of 130 Meds on the seafront just East of the Sealife Centre, & in addition to these numbers, many Meds pass through the area in the summer & it is estimated that 200-250 Mediterranean Gulls use the area during this time.

I managed to get a snap of my Med along-side its regular Black-headed cousin with my compact...

Adult Winter Mediterranea Gull (right) with Black-headed Gull & Starling.

On the journey to Southend the previous day I also noticed 3 BUZZARDS in different locations all perched, one on the ground, one on a post & one on a branch, all beside the M25 between Herts & Essex.


  1. A great set of shots, Veloraptor. I like the mix of the 'misty atmospheric' and the 'detailed behavioural' images. Lovely series on the Turnstones! Really enjoyed browsing this post. Good one! (Lucy)

    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments Lucy, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  2. I was at Leigh on Sea and Southend yesterday and saw several birds which I have been trying to identify and fortunately I found your site - very helpful

    1. Hi Karen,
      sorry for the very late reply, this message hadn't popped up on my notifications!
      I'm glad to hear you found this post helpful.


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