I wont be giving anything away by saying, yes we have a Stonechat. At bloody last. Used to be a January 1 bird, but it seems our stalwart probably croaked in the second bout of cold weather last year, or decided a warmer clime was more conducive to stonechatty things.
I was going to do so much today: Green Winged Teal (Connaught Waters), Scoter (W Girling), Nutchatches yadda yadda yadda. I didn't. Was going to bring home irrefutable proof of Mealy Redpoll on the flats, but that didn't happen because I got a better look at the rosy tinted individual that inspired those lustful thoughts. By that time I'd lost my will to live and the feeling in my hands. I thought Rainham? No the cold would worse, so I hid in Bush Wood. The sun came out briefly and I warmed up enough to make it to the little tea shop of happiness.
On the way their I met Earl, whom I'd first met a year ago at the Dusky Warbler gig, and had bumped into a week or so earlier when he was looking for our star birds - Lesser Spots. Still to make contact with them I chummed him down to the Dell.
Nothing like the activity of yesterday and no hint of a LSW (apparently showing well that morning!). One Waxwing trilling over head was about as good as it got. He says he'll be back.
Meanwhile I got a text from Tim saying he had found a Stoney in the brooms - a chance to redeem my weekend! First off a stop by Alex (now with a brand new Fish'n'Chip show opened opposite - shameless plug by way of hoping to get free chups). Gulls had returned after the football and giving them the customary courtesy one over I espied a young bird with a rather large aggressive beak....
... which doesn't really show very well in the sketch I made above.
Unfortunately before I could get my focus right a twat and his dog scared the whole bloody lot off. "It appears we've got in the way of this gentleman's photograph", he said.
Couldn't relocate as several people were throwing bakeries of bread out with the resulting wheeling mass of white screaming.
No matter I'll bag the Stoney and head home for a large pot of tea. On the way a number of thrushes side tracked me for a bit.
So still waiting for a good shot of Redwing
... slightly more discernible as a Mistle Thrush
The Stonechat took a bit longer, texted Tim. He replied north broom field wid Yellowhammer. Wid Yellowhammer? I looked at the north broom fields, which brought me too close for comfort to Long Wood and some shady looking types. Finally picked it up when I was on the south side at extreme distance where he said it would be. Bugger would probably be an inappropriate term to use here, so Fudgery Duck! Back I troll.
which after heavy use of photoshop looks like this...
... which gave the bird a rather worn plumage, which was certainly not the case.
Tomorrow the wind comes from the south and the temperature will push the mercury a whole 9 degrees. I sense Wheatear!
Rather than spoil that for now have a badly scoped Skylark. By the way the scores on the doors for dogs on leads vs free range: 1 - the rest. The new signs promised the corporation of London better be feckin huge.
Second thoughts, have a sunset.