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16 February 2011
A good day
Sometimes the sun shone, and sometimes it didn't. It shone on the Little Owl Steve refound at the weekend, sitting in the crown of a tree at the west end of Long Wood, the last place I had seen the bird in 2010. This pleased me all the more because I hadn't got up that early in the first place (tick 62 for the Flats). It was a morning of endless possibilities, wherever we looked we were rewarded. In the SSSI two Reed Bunting sang while a flock of Meadow Pipit rose off the sodden fairground and gave us close views in the silver birch. Tim had earlier counted 19 on his tour before setting off to work - and more pleasingly for him 14 Skylarks of which 6 were up and singing. Since he had reported nothing from Jubilee and Steve had already done the rounds there, we headed back to the eastern side of Centre Road. As we waited to cross I noticed a small bird get smacked spectacularly by a car, it fluttered briefly on the centre line and seemingly expired. We moved closer to check what it was before it became part of the road surface - a Dunnock - but then it was gone. I presumed sucked up by the wake of a passing car. It flew says Steve - a somewhat unbelievable happy ending. What a day!
Above the clay pit fields a couple of Redwing, one singing quietly to itself, and Fieldfare sat in the virtually berry free bushes. Steve wanted to go and find Coal Tit, rather than the Med Gull, so we moved on to the park. 4 male Teal made for the willows as we approached the Shoulder of Mutton, and I pointed out a singing Coal Tit to the north, which Steve couldn't hear. Since we were here I suggested to check out the basin for the GC Grebe seen at the weekend, and as a long shot Waxwing that had been reported off one of the side streets. A text from Jono, while on the school run, confirmed the grebe still in residence. Within ten minutes it was in the bag (tick # 65 for the Park). "Look out for Waxwing," I said, more in hope than expectation. First side road we come to there are 6 of the beauties feeding in a small tree (tick #66). What a morning! Of course before Jono could get there they'd buggered off, and I had cause to rue forgetting my camera - so here's a truly awful pick of Wanstead's first for yonks from last October.
A quick scurry down to the cricket pitch to count wagtails and a bit of trespass across the fairways to get back into the park, we finally catch up with a viewable Coal Tit near the grotto. That chuffed Steve. It was now surely time to chase gulls. He had other ideas and produced some bread. We fed the ducks!
A couple of Little Grebe edged along the side of Heronry giving me the opportunity to introduce another paragraph and a image of spurious context.
Back at Alex the Med was not showing well and Steve quickly got bored and returned to the Old Sewage Works. Five minutes later wandering through the sea of swirling white, I put it up. A good day.