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10 December 2011
Now is Wanstead Park's time to shine
The mornings are dark, my bed is warm, and sometimes I am weak, but I know that if I don't go out, not only will I possibly miss something good, but I will be a real pain in the arse all day at work. But with less than four hours there's not enough time to cover the whole patch.
Luckily the flats are now quiet. The SSSI too dry for Snipe or Woodcock, the birch empty of Redpoll, and the brooms of pipits, larks and finches. That just leaves counting the Shoveler on Alex to see if we can push the record up further (40 suggests my note book for December 1st), or more recently intercepting a large flock of Egyptian Geese that have made a flyway over the Esso garage going north west, somewhere (15 of them yesterday). In conclusion its hard work on the flats now, so its to the park.
With Firecrest at one end and potentially interesting stuff at the other, with the Water Rail in the middle, I have to alternate my daily routes. I should really include the ornamentals at some point just in case. In case of Goosander, Mandarin and other possible goodies, but I don't.
The old sewage works are getting interesting again. Not only are there as many Song Thrush singing as in the spring, but finch numbers are picking up and even Bullfinch are becoming a regular fixture. Here too are not one but two Chiffchaff, still holding out against the prevailing weather and common sense. Having said that we'd probably seen the last of the warblers, I also noted a female Blackcap in Reservoir Wood. What I meant was last year they became a bugger to find, although undoubtedly present, somewhere.
I am still holding out for a Jack Snipe on the muddy bits of the Roding, or muddy bits anywhere, and there are a number of birds missing from last year that still could put in an appearance. Perhaps if it gets really cold. I would prefer really wet, and very windy, and warm.