30 November 2011

The second warmest November on record (apparently). The review


November: A good month despite the lack of winds from any direction other than the south, mild and dry with little in the way of northern bird movement barring Wood Pigeon (from Germany it is said).

The highlights:

Bullfinch(es) finally make it on to the flats

Wigeon long stayer, stays (till 11th) then finally goes

Male Teal displaying on Alex

Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher heard and added to the site list

Med Gull again and again

Woodcocks are back if very elusive

Water Rail return ticket

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker spotted after months of absence

Snow Bunting, London mega anywhere, here on the flats

First of the season's Brambling

Last of the Summer's Chiffchaff and Blackcap(?)



Lapwing record movement

Firecrest (Bush Wood) at last; 2 becomes 4, are there more?

2 Rock Pipit south over Alex

2 Shelduck (west over park)



The highlight for me has to be split between finally catching up with the Firecrest, which are now becoming a bit of a draw although increasingly hard to find, and the Snow Bunting. With reports from localities to the west (Redbridge) and the east (Walthamstow) there was a chance that a flyover bird might call and coincide with me tramping across the flats. Not good odds it has to be said, however I reminded myself of what to listen out for just in case, it had been a month or so since my last SB encounter in Shetland. The weather, too, looked stacked against great views of anything smaller than a large gull.

I had just passed the vismigging spot between Long Wood and the broom fields when I heard an unusual call: trrrrit teu. And again. I finally located the source of the call, a largish bunting flying up from the grass to the east of the centre path. Through the bins it appeared to be just that a largish predominantly grey bunting. I replayed Snow and Lapland for comparison. To me it was clearly the former, but the lack of much white on the individual, that had now disappeared off over the Esso Wood, worried me slightly. Tim texted back over my concerns, saying that first winter females don't show much white. I of course expected much white, but this indicates to me how little I pay attention when observing Snow Bunting. The stand out birds drawing yours eyes to them rather than the dowdier members of flocks. Checking the Collins on my return I could see how the little white on 1wf could have been completely reduced by the light and murk. Subsequently it appears that the Walthamstow bird was a female, whether a first winter is unclear. Also the same or another bird looked to be touring suitable sites in east London, pitching up at Rainham and Crayford later in the month. A picture? The camera was deep in the recesses of my bag to protect it from the damp. So arse!

And so to the rest of the month.

1st

Wanstead Flats: 3 Bullfinch (patch mega - first I've seen here), 17 Goldfinch, 9 Lesser Redpoll, 3 Siskin, 19 Chaffinch, 16 Greenfinch, 6 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting, 110 Redwing, 91 Fieldfare (all west), 16 Song Thrush, 40 Blackbird, 3 Mistle Thrush, 9 Meadow Pipit, 6 Pied Wagtail, 4 Skylark, m Blackcap, Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest, 100 + Common Gull, 23 Shoveler, 2 Teal, f Wigeon, 1 Wigeon/Teal cross, 7 Gadwall, Red-breasted Goose, Stock Dove, Sparrowhawk (54 sp) (Nick Croft/Tim Harris/Steve Thorpe)


2nd

Wanstead Flats: Yellowhammer (07:15-ish: west, presumably to Ally Pally), 2 Reed Bunting, 30 + Goldfinch, 4 Linnet, 28 Fieldfare, 64 Redwing (south west), 5 Song Thrush, 10 Skylark, 12 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, several thousand Wood Pigeon (south), 3 m Teal, 10 Shoveler, Kestrel (Nick Croft).

Wanstead Park: 2 Chiffchaff, 8 Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 23 Siskin, 9 Linnet, 2 Skylark (north), 23 Redwing (east), 20 Fieldfare (north), 51 Tufted Duck (Heronry/Perch), 16 Pochard (Heronry), 17 Gadwall, Shoveler, 2 Little Grebe, Heron, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft).


3rd

Wanstead Flats: 26 Skylark (21 NE), 8 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, 101 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 21 Lesser Redpoll, 21 Goldfinch, 1 Linnet, 3 Goldcrest, 30 Long-tailed Tit, 25 + Shoveler, m Teal, 600 + Wood Pigeon (south), 2 Greater Black-backed Gull (Nick Croft/TimHarris).

5th

Wanstead Flats: Calling Ringed Plover south over flats/Capel point (17:00), Adult Mediterranean Gull (judging by my pictures a different bird from Monday), f Wigeon, 4 Teal (3m), 12 + Shoveler, 7 Egyptian Goose, 30 + Redwing (north west), 22 Fieldfare (west), 10 Song Thrush, 9 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 12 Skylark, 2 Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft/J Lethbridge)

Wanstead Park: Woodcock (flushed from the dell (15:30), Water Rail (west end Perch), f Wigeon (Perch), 55 Gadwall, 33 Tufted Duck, 13 Pochard, 3 Teal (2f), 2 Egyptian Goose, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (flying from cemetry to stables, first since c. May), 13 Mistle Thrush, 4 Redwing, 10 + Song Thrush (osw), Kingfisher, 11 + Goldcrest, 2 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch (Old sewage works), 15 Lesser Redpoll, 7+ Siskin, 3 Lttle Grebe, 6 Grey Heron, Stock Dove, Peregrine Falcon (unsuccessfully stooping on a small bird behind the little tea shop of happiness), Sparrowhawk - 55 sp (Nick Croft).

6th

Wanstead Flats: 2000 + Wood Pigeon west, 41 Fieldfare, 28 Redwing, 16 + Song Thrush, 40+ Blackbird, 10 Mistle Thrush, 24 Lapwing north, 2 Snipe (TH), 11 Meadow Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 70 + Lesser Redpoll (45+ in the SSSI - TH), 23 Chaffinch, 20 + Goldfinch, f/juv Bullfinch, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, 30 Herring Gull south in one flock (Nick Croft/Tim Harris/Steve Thorpe)

Wanstead Park:100+ Lesser Redpoll, 30 + Siskin, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, 55 Lapwing north, Water Rail, Kingfisher, 3 Wigeon, Shoveler, 20 + Gadwall, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, 10 + Goldcrest (Nick Croft/Tony Brown/Tim Harris/Steve Thorpe)

7th

Wanstead Flats: 1st winter f Snow Bunting (calling as it flew north from grassland east of centre path), Yellowhammer (west), 50 + Lesser Redpoll, possible Brambling in with Redpoll, 12 Chafinch, 13 Goldfinch, 10 Greenfinch, 116 Fieldfare, 65 Redwing (both mostly north), Mistle Thrush, 5 Song Thrush, many Blackbird, 14 + Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, Stock Dove, 5 Collared Dove, several thousand Wood Pigeon west and north, 3 Teal 21 Shoveler, f Wigeon still Alex, 20 Lapwing (north), Kestrel, 5 Skylark (Nick Croft)

8th

Wanstead Flats: Mediterranean Gull in gull roost, 8 Teal (4 displaying males), 4 Gadwall, Wigeon still, 10 + Shoveler, Little Grebe, 40 + Ring-necked Parakeet, 11 Meadow Pipit, 7 Pied Wagtail, 2 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 8 Song Thrush, 4 Mistle Thrush, 60 + Lesser Redpoll (SSSI feeding on birch seeds, 1 with grey rump and very much greyer/paler than the rest), 52 + Goldfinch (large flock of 38 + birds feeding in trees north of flats), 9 Greenfinch, 9 Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, 2 Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Blackcap (Nick Croft)

9th

Wanstead Flats: 60 + Lesser Redpoll (SSSI - including the grey rumped bird, which appears larger than its dowdier cohorts, more work needed), Siskin, 4 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 10 Song Thrush, 20 + blackbird, singing Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, 2 Teal, 20 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, f Wigeon still, 2 Kestrel, 2 Grey Heron, Little Grebe (Nick Croft)


10th

Wanstead Flats: 2 Snipe, 200+ Common Gull, 3 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush, 40 + Lesser Redpoll (SSSI), Siskin, Linnet, 10 Gadwall (south), 2 Teal, f Wigeon, 17 Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Chiffchaff (SSSI), 4 Skylark, 23 Meadow Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 51 Tufted Duck, 35 Gadwall, 22 Pochard, Shoveler, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Heron, 17 Fieldfare (north east), 4 Mistle Thrush, Kingfisher, 7 Goldcrest, 2 Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Bullfinch, Siskin, 3 Lesser Redpoll (Nick Croft).




11th

Wanstead Flats: 23 Lapwing (north east over Alex), 13 Teal (10 Alex 6m 4f, 3 east), 24 Shoveler (1 jub), 1 Gadwall, Tufted Duck, f Wigeon, 68 + Ring-necked Parakeet (north), 8 Meadow Pipit, 12 Pied Wagtail (7 on new mown area in grassland), 9 Skylark, 3 Fieldfare, 8 Song Thrush, 5 Mistle Thrush, 2 Lesser Redpoll (SSSI flock flown off north), 2 Siskin, 20 Greenfinch Sparrowhawk, 300 + Common Gull (Nick Croft)




13th

Wanstead Flats: Mediterranean Gull over Alex (PD), 7 Gadwall (1 Jubilee), 22 Shoveler, 3 Teal, f Wigeon, 11 Greylag Goose, 50 Coot, 12 Moorhen, 20 + Meadow Pipit, 10 Pied Wagtail (9 on new mown grassland), Grey Wagtail, singing Song Thrush, f Blackcap (TH), 3 Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Linnet, 2 Siskin, 7 Lesser Redpoll (30 Richmond Rd - TH), Heron, 6 Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Tim Harris, Paul Davis, Nick Croft)



Wanstead Park: 52 Gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 61 Tufted Duck, 32 Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 2 Kingfisher, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Kestrel, 8 Fieldfare, 8 Siskin, 6 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff (Tony Brown). 2 Firecrest (Bush Wood in with party of tits and goldcrest), Water Rail, 2 singing Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Little Grebe, 5 Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk, 20 + Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, Skylark (over), Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)


15th

Wanstead Flats: 3 Gadwall, Pochard, 22 Shoveler, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, 10 Skylark, 14 Pied Wagtail, 14 Meadow Pipit, 5 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, 4 Song thrush, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Siskin, Reed bunting, Kestrel (Nick Croft) Yesterday Oystercatcher heard calling overhead in the fog (J Lethbridge)


17th

Wanstead Flats: 2 Rock Pipit (over Alex south), 23 Meadow Pipit, 11 Pied Wagtail, 39 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 40 Ring-necked Parakeet, 64 Goldfinch (flock of c. 40 Capel Point in plane trees), 23 Lesser Redpoll (north east), 14 Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, 5 + Skylark, Common Snipe (south over Long Wood), 4 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 2 Tufted Duck, m Pochard, 23 Shoveler, Little Grebe, 2 Goldcrest, Kestrel (NIck Croft)

18th

Wanstead Flats: 91 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, 4 Song Thrush (one singing), 3 Mistle Thrush, 8 + Meadow Pipit, 4 Pied Wagtail, 14 Skylark, 23 Lesser Redpoll, 3 goldcrest, 500 Wood Pigeon south, Stock Dove, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 29 Shoveler, 7 Gadwall, 2 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Pochard (Nick Croft)



Wanstead Park: 2 Firecrest (Bush Wood), 4 Goldcrest, 57 Gadwall, 21 Pochard, 46 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Little Grebe (Nick Croft), 3 Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, 6 Fieldfare (Steve Thorpe)



19th

Wanstead Flats: 41 Fieldfare, 2 Redwing, Chiffchaff, 8 Meadow Pipit, 5 Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark, 24 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 6 Teal (males displaying again), 2 Tufted Duck (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge)

Wanstead Park: Firecrest (Steve Thorpe), 20 Redwing, Stock Dove (Nick Croft).


20th

Wanstead Flats:13 Teal, 30 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted Duck, 18 Mute Swan (all Alex), 18 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, 3 Goldcrest, singing Song Thrush (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Park: 3-4 Firecrest Bush Wood (Sally Hammond/Helen Hewland/NC et al), 16 + Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Lesser Redpoll (15 old sewage works - Mike Messenger), Siskin, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, 25 Common Pochard, 70 Tufted Duck, 47 Gadwall, 6 Teal, Shoveler, 2 Egyptian Goose, 2 Kingfisher, Grey Heron, 3 Redwing, 13 Fieldfare, c.30 Song Thrush inc. 3 singers (Old sewage works - Mike Messenger) (Nick Croft)


21st

Wanstead Flats: 11 Pied Wagtail, 12 Meadow Pipit, 2 Lesser Redpoll,3 Siskin, 3 Goldcrest, 22 Shoveler, 2 Teal, Pochard f, 2 Tufted Duck, 7 Gadwall, 14 Mute Swan, Heron, 2 Cormorant, 4 Song thrush (1 singing in Long Wood), 2 Mistle Thrush, Kestrel (Nick Croft).

23rd

Wanstead Flats: 22 Shoveler, 4 Teal (male), 2 Gadwall, 2 Pochard, 5 Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, 8 Skylark, 4 Mistle Thrush, 3 Song Thrush (1 still singing Long Wood), 2 Fieldfare, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Park: 4 Shoveler, 44 Pochard, 56 Tufted Duck, 48 Gadwall, Water Rail, 50 + Siskin, 40 + Lesser Redpoll, 10 Linnet, Bullfinch, 3 Goldcrest, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, 6 Stock Dove, 2 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare (Nick Croft) Firecrest still in Bush Wood yesterday




25th

Wanstead Park: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Perch pond), Water Rail (Steve Thorpe), 4 Firecrest (Bush Wood)


26th

Wanstead Flats: 20 Lesser Redpoll, 9 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 3 Goldcrest, 25 Shoveler, 4 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 2 Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, 2 Skylark, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (J Lethbridge/N Croft)

Wanstead Park: 3 Firecrest (Bush Wood), 6 Goldcrest, 47 Pochard, 67 Tufted Duck, 61 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, Egyptian Goose, 6 Lesser Redpoll, Little Egret, 6 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

27th

Wanstead Park and Flats: 3-4 Firecrest (Bush Wood) hard to find first thing then showed well c. 09:30, elusive in the evening two calling birds finally located. 10+ Goldcrest, 121 Gadwall, 40+ Tufted Duck, 13 Teal, 13 Egyptian Goose (The Basin), One Tufted Duck showing a bright pink piece of plastic on one side of its chest (don't know whether this is a tag or the bird is entangled) (Nick Croft/Stuart Fisher/Paul Davis et al).

28th

Wanstead Flats: Brambling (SE over SSSI), 3 Fieldfare, singing Song Thrush, 2 Shelduck (west over park), 27 Shoveler, 4 Teal, 5 Gadwall, 3 Tufted Duck, f Pochard (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Park: Water Rail, Little Egret, Kingfisher, 20+ Song Thrush (old sewage works, many singers), Fieldfare, Redwing, singing Mistle Thrush, 43 Gadwall, 44 Pochard, 3 Shoveler, 60+ Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose, Bullfinch, Lesser Redpoll, Siskin (Nick Croft)



27 November 2011

Firecrest locations


With one or two people already looking for these rather smart birds, I thought I'd help out with a map. The stars represent where the birds have been found most frequently. This evening they proved somewhat elusive but we finally managed to get 2 birds at the northern star site. Good luck to any visitors.

Firecresting


Forced myself out with a severe cold this morning and got to the Flats for a change. My check of the Jubilee Pond was curtailed by an unpleasant incident nearby involving police trying to stop a self-harmer. I then went over the SSSI to the Broom Fields, a flock of 10 Fieldfare flew west then I met up with Nick walking along the path and we decided to go up to Bush Wood for the Firecrests noticing 3 or 4 Lesser Redpoll near the SSSI on the way.

We wandered around Bush Wood a bit, chatting without finding them and then decided to split up, of course he found them whilst I was looking at Goldcrests and I had somehow turned my phone off so I didn't get his texts, however I found him in the end and had great views of 2 of the birds foraging in Holly.





We then decided to walk through the park and have a coffee at the teashop of happiness, there were a lot of dogs about trying to restrain their owners. After a nice coffee we checked out the Perch pond, no sign of the Water Rail, I counted some Gadwall and then we made our way to the Ornamental Waters and watched a small flock of Siskin with a couple of Goldfinch. Further along there was a Little Egret perched on a fallen tree on the channel, hidden behind branches.








I decided to head back via the Basin and found it full of birds including several Gadwall and 13 Egyptian Geese on the Golf course. Total of 121 Gadwall on entire site, probably more though.


26 November 2011

Wanstead catch-up



A few things I neglected to add in my last post. Spoke to the wardens today who said that 2 Mink had been trapped in the last few months, but that further trapping was being postponed for the moment.

It also appears likely that the money coming from the police muster station will go towards repairing the Jubilee pond - good news for, er! people who repair shoddily made lined ponds.

This week Stevey T got a Lesser Spot at the top (west) end of Perch, while waiting for the Water Rail to make an appearance.



Pied Wagtails have taken to the newly mown bits of the flats, with ten plus birds being seen on occasions...



A flurry of finches in the old sewage works...




... and that's about it!

Firequest II



With four Firecrest resident in Bush Wood, and happily in one small area of Bush Wood, I knew it wouldn't be long before I finally got the little chaps to pose long enough for the shitty 1000D to focus on something more photogenic than the nearest twig. The weather's been shitty too, apart from the last two days when I couldn't be arsed to get out of bed. Nearly didn't make it today either as the land of nod held me in its grasp.



Finally roused and stumbling towards the flats it looked good for some high quality snapping.









Perhaps next time!







13 November 2011

Firequest


How to look for Firecrest:

Firstly look in places they have been seen before, but not very often. Make sure it's near the tea shop of happiness so that disappointment can be quickly remedied with a cup and a cake.

Use a lure

Completely disregard the advice given by your peers, and the obvious

Nope! Not a Firecrest

Repeat futile endeavour


Nearly, but not a Firecrest

or go to Bush Wood.


Easy when you know how...

You were expecting a picture? That'll take longer!