9 January 2011

First visit this year

After moving from Leyton to erm Leyton... (Lea Valley side) I decided to visit the Park and Flats for the first time this year and count everything I saw, but of course mostly heard as it ended up!. When I got to the shop opposite Jubilee Pond to get my peanuts and junk food I take on these excursions I realised just how much I had missed this area, there is a certain feel of "anything could happen here" and that is what matters. I spent a very pleasant 3 hours wandering around as much of Wanstead Park and Flats that I could get in at my usual breakneck speed, missing a lot I expect but I just can't keep still for long. My first port of call was the Broom fields with some expectations of finding a Stonechat, but not a lot there. I then rushed up to The Basin which was rather empty of anything of interest, apart from a pair of Shoveler. I then backtracked and walked the path via Reservoir Wood along the ponds, several Goldcrests were heard calling along the way (in contrast to last year), up to 7 birds and also Coal tit singing briefly. A good amount of Tufted Ducks on the ponds. The whole total of the Flats and Park was 93, nothing like I've counted before in previous winters, I was probably walking too fast. Also 36 Pochard. I spent a bit of time at the Dell watching Siskins feeding in the Alders and heard Great spotted Woodpecker drumming and a very short abrupt burst of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker drumming. Also 7+ Stock Doves displaying in the trees near the Dell and the Ornamental Water (which was a particularly nice place to be today, somehow the traffic noise was muted). I then thought right, I'll peg it down to the Flats and have a look there. On leaving the Alex I heard the distinctive call of a Rock Pipit flying over, I'm not sure if the bird was just moving over or had been visiting the Alex and then flown off but this was very unexpected and made the day.

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