8 April 2011

New species of goose pending

Another fantastic day on the flats once the sun began to warm the cockles, and rather than look at a particular log, I thought the best policy was to move around thus opening all sorts of windows of opportunity.

Met Steve in the broom fields who recounted his Wednesday night stake out of the flats to try and catch the Stone Curlew as it went roostwards. He hadn't seen that, as became apparent from his description of what he had seen: a "bird" about the size of a Jay with longish wings flitting between the copses quickly appearing and disappearing, jagging as if hawking for insects seemingly clapping its wings above and below. He is methodical, and his description went on a bit, but I have fairly short attention span, so I forget much of what he said, but from what I do recollect it sounded good for Nightjar. Oooh er! Wanstead courting controversy again. Texted Tim and Jono with the news.

Bit early was our shared conclusion (which is why you never got to hear about a reeling Grasshopper Warbler ar Rainham a month ago just by the Tilda factory - just too damn early, I wouldn't want to look foolish would I?).

The idea, however, had formed a seed in Jono's head and set him to researching earliest records of NJ's for Essex. Not good was the prognosis. But not deterred he came out later and risked life and limb at the edge of west copse for a repeat performance (not Long Wood no-one is that stupid). His reward, Noctules!

We've sent Steve down the library to check out footage of Nightjar, and we'll probably send him back again for footage of Noctules. However, this still remains intriguing. Noctules, the UK's biggest bat, is still pissing small - 1/3 the size of the bird and I have difficulty imagining anybody who has seen a bat mistaking them for anything else, but I am probably on thin ice here, so enough, for the time being.

The flats did give up a new species of goose (See below), which we will call the Coat-hanger Goose. It can be deduced from its strange neck that it doesn't migrate but hangs itself up in wardrobes until spring arrives. Either that or it's a scary mutant.

The Whitethroat or another was singing and showing rather well in the SSSI, and a Tree Pipit toyed with us briefly in the broom south of Long Wood. As I was showing Steve its location it flew off before the brain clicked into gear and said "get a shot idiot!"

I am now extremely knackered after virtually a month or more of early starts and my body is starting to rebel, so an early start tomorrow then!

...and finally the March bit of science, bit tardy so apologies

From the above we deduce we're on track!

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