18 August 2011

Spots, chats and 'tears

It's been a good week on the flats so far, and no doubt would have been fairly interesting today if I'd managed to get up for it. Last night I spent too long downloading a new app from Birdguides that could do away with need for a pager ever again. Should have been easy, but wasn't, and in the end I had to restore all the contents of my i-phone and by 02:00 in the morning I was back at square one and highly pissed off.

Of course it loaded up first time this morning, no problem. Arse!

First glance it looks rather good, however the test will come when T-Mobile/Orange's piss poor reception is anything less than good. So most of the country then!

Last week I purchased another bit of technology, with the idea of bringing you, dear reader, the sounds of nature of the flats and park. Rembird, a small very plasticy recording device, a point and record system which while it looks like something that's fallen out of a cracker, is meant to be the dog's doo-dahs for those "what the f***in hell is that?" moments. Early bumblings suggest that it is something that's just fallen out of a cracker.

It would have been handy if I'd managed to get the thing working yesterday as, while stumbling round the east end of Spotted Fly central (Longwood), I heard some interesting calls interspersed with warbles and other song types thrown in. It soon became apparent that the source of the sound was a group of yobby Jays, behaving in a very anti-scoial way like a group of hoodies with a Molotov cocktail outside Dixons, but it would have been nice to actually share the wide range of mimicry that was going on. But silence!

Barring that and personal injury sustained by two assaults by dogs: one a two-pawed attack on my personals by a collie, and the other some rat-shaped shit of a thing that launched itself and its fangs at my thigh - it's been a great week. Goaded by reports of all manner of tasty migrant action in London and in particular our west end counterparts at the scrubs, I couldn't let Wanstead's top passerine migrant badge be usurped.

Monday was beautiful when the sun finally started warming things up. Ring-necked Parakeets in a never ending stream from the south. Willow Warblers and Chiffchaff singing and calling, Lesser Whitethroat being amiable and visible, a Garden Warbler or two moving through the elder with numerous Blackcap. Stand in front of a group of bushes, especially if they have elder berries on show, and you'll find it hard to move, just in case something really exciting puts in an appearance: so basically the scrub to the east of the Alex, or that to the east of Longwood. And at this latter site I finally found the first confirmable returning Spotted Flycatcher. Three of them in the crown of one of the taller trees. Needless to say they didn't stay there too long and I spent the next ten minutes trying to refind them.

Then all hell broke loose, the Wheatear that had been perched on a log for most of the morning, became two (Stuart later finding six) and birds suddenly were flying everywhere, thanks to two eastern European women and their flock of ten unrestrained dogs. In amongst the melee of wings two Whinchat, so thanks ladies.

Tuesday was quieter, with just one Yellow Wagtail flying over, and a Tawny Owl calling from the Esso copse, or at least I was convinced it was an owl, but having heard the range of gurgles, warbles and melodies coming from the Jay's yesterday one never can tell.

Wednesday got better, so it could be the "every other day" rule applies. Three Whinchat this time, one a very differently plumaged bird, I presume one of this year's brood. No Wheatear, though Stuart found one later, and Spotted Fly very much in evidence. Interestingly they have appeared almost a week earlier than last year, and maybe we will have them for longer this!

Another flyover Yellow Wag, and a dark falcon from the south that dived into the canopy in Longwood, but suggested enough for it to be a Hobby, though I couldn't make out a white cheek, again I was wrong sided looking directly into the lightest part of the sky.

I haven't managed to get passed the flats yet, so who knows what's popping up in the old sewage works.

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