30 March 2011

Migration in action

Wanstead Flats has finally delivered. After many many hours of recent patch dedication, the local birders (that's us) scored fairly heavily today. It started with Wheatears, the usual herald of spring, but this year supplanted by Little Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Sand Martin.....

Criss-crossing the Flats this morning, both Tim, Steve and I had walked past the large Hawthorn on the main path through the Skylark area at various times. It had been empty. However on my return home at around 8am, another early start (or so I thought) down the drain, I noticed a bunch of Meadow Pipits in this particular Hawthorn. I am nothing if not thorough, so raised my bins. Ah yes, Mipits. Lowering them, one bird made a brief sortie, and a flash of white passed upside-down though my optic nerve, and righted itself in my brain. Or I think so anyway, never was much good at ologies. That wasn't a, was it? It was a, wasn't it! Get closer. He shoots, he scores!! Albeit a good two weeks late, but there were two in with the Mipits, both females. They lingered just long enough for Nick C to get them, but unfortunately not long enough for Tim.

It was to get better though. Whilst I returned home, my Wheatear desires sated, Nick stayed out, bright-eyed, alert. Luck or skill we shall never know, but his shout of "Ring Ouzel!" down the phone had me pounding back onto the Flats remarkably quickly, and I was soon enjoying a flighty male as it fed on the playing fields, undisturbed by man or beast. Oh, apart from the joggers and dogs that is, who booted it from pillar to post until we lost it near Long Wood. The bird was in what may have to be renamed the Ring Ouzel Triangle, that is to say west of the Esso Copse, east of Long Wood, and north of West Copse. What exactly the draw of this area is we, not being Ring Ouzels, simply don't understand, but by far the majority of all records from Wanstead occur in this small area. It is tempting to suggest that the records involve the same birds turning up season on season, year on year, but we have no way of knowing.

What was already a fine day was rounded off with a further Wheatear, a male this time, and then Sand Martins over Jubilee and the Basin. Spring has finally started.

No comments:

Post a Comment