2011 revisited just for one more time and a quick look at December and my musings on the year as a whole and what I think might have been the best bits for those concerned.
So I'll start with the best bits
Jono: A fish eating raptor gains top spot, with a Stone Curlew, photogenic sandpipers (both Wood and Common) and maybe even the Green's that he managed to get out of bed for and hoof it down to Alex as they were flushed by a doggie. Possibly a Little Ringed Plover gets the nod too! Obviously Wheatear would figure big time, and ouzels and maybe the fact that he beat his former record total for the patch, again! Who knows meant to ask all concerned for comments at the Annual Wanstead Birder's Piss Up, but was too ill and drunk to care.
Tim: Firecrest, closely followed by Woodlark. LRP again and the number of Redstart paying a visit. Maybe though the day the Red Kite JL and I got over the Alex was picked up by Tim and a group he was leading round the OSW!
Stuart: Finding the Woodlark? Hearing the only Pheasant of the year? Goshawk over Heronry while enjoying a tea and a slice. Grasshopper and Sedge Warbler finds? All-in-all Stuart needs to visit the flats more often in 2012
Natalia: We need you out jogging in the mornings for the gen of what's on the ornamental waters (as we can't be arsed to do it), it works, as in Goosander, Egyptian Goose chicks and other stuff.
Steve: I am guessing that the Green Sandpiper flushed from the Roding would be up the top of his list, but credits go for tracking down the Little Owl before it finally gave up on Wanstead and hopefully found somewhere more to its liking, and with company.
Paul D: I would hazard a guess at Marsh Harrier (seen over the Old Sewage Works), another amazing raptor find following the Black Kite in 2010. Probably not best to talk to him about Firecrest though!
Thanks to all the rest of the birders who have helped make the task of birding the flats more enjoyable: Sally, Helen, Tony and Eve and anyone else I've forgotten.
At the end we were 4 sp down on last year with notable absences in the form of: Wryneck, Merlin, White-fronted Goose, Turtle Dove, Dunlin, Gannet, Golden Plover, Lapland Bunting, Short-eared Owl, Wood Warbler. On the credit side we did add: Kittiwake, Caspian Gull, Arctic Tern, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Grasshopper Warbler, Snow Bunting, Water Pipit and of course Stone Curlew.
This year it is going to be tough, I predict no Little Owl, no Pheasant, no Waxwing and quite possibly all of the above. The only crumb of comfort I can draw on is how useless and wrong my predictions usually are.
Back to December. The highlights were:
Firecrests still in Bush Wood but becoming increasingly (frustratingly) harder to find
5 Water Rail in the Park (record 3 seen in one day)
5 Chiffchaff recorded on one day in the park
Green Sandpiper on the Roding
... quiet really
Wanstead Flats: 30 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 8 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, f Pochard, 10 Greylag Goose, 10 Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stock Dove, Lesser Redpoll, Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Firecrest (Tim Harris/NC), 3 Goldcrest (1 singing), Water Rail, Kingfisher, 2 Egyptian Goose, 50 Gadwall, 53 Tufted Duck, 44 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 5 Siskin, 11 Redwing, Coal Tit (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 35 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 8 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, 2 singing Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Chiffchaff (old sewage works), Grey Wagtail, Goldcrest, 20+ Song Thrush, 5 Redwing, Fieldfare (all OSW), 5 Lesser Redpoll, Kestrel, 64 Tufted Duck, 67 Gadwall, 37 Pochard, 4 Shoveler, Egyptian Goose, Little Grebe (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 34 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 2 Teal, 8 Tufted Duck, f Pochard, Little Grebe, 578 Common Gull (Tim Harris/Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 2-3 Firecrest (Bush Wood south of Quaker cem on westernmost path), possibly another 2 in Reservoir Wood, 8 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff (old sewage works), f Blackcap (Reservoir Wood), feeding Redwing (Bush Wood), 8 Shoveler, 88 Gadwall, 43 Tufted Duck, c. 40 Pochard, 20 Teal, 6 Heron (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)
Wanstead Park: Chiffchaff, Little Egret, Kingfisher, Bullfinch (Steve Thorpe)
Wanstead Flats: 30 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 4 Tufted Duck, 13 Egyptian Goose (flew NW towards the basin), 17 Mute Swan, 3 Fieldfare, 3 singing Song Thrush, singing Mistle Thrush, 5 Meadow Pipit, Stock Dove (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Chiffchaff, Little Egret, Kingfisher, 3 Bullfinch, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 5 Siskin, Coal Tit (Reservoir Wood), 6 Goldcrest, 90 Gadwall, 65 Tufted Duck, 39 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, singing Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Grey Wagtail, f Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Steve Thorpe)
Wanstead Park: 3 Firecrest (Bush Wood, associating with Long-tailed Tit), 7 Goldcrest, 5 Stock Dove, Coal Tit (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)
Wanstead Flats: 31 Shoveler, 1 Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 15 Egyptian Goose (nw over Esso garage), 5 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Bullfinch, 36 Pochard, 53 Tufted Duck, 60 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 2 Egyptian Goose, Little Grebe, 2 Grey Heron (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 28 Shoveler, 4 Tufted Duck, 2 Gadwall, 4 Egyptian Goose, Fieldfare, 2 Skylark, 2 Pied Wagtail (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 2-3 Firecrest (Bush Wood; Tim Harris/Barry Bishop/NC), 6 Goldcrest, 2 Bullfinch, 5 Siskin, 10+ Lesser Redpoll, 20+ Goldfinch (finch action down the old sewage works), Chiffchaff, Coal Tit (Reservoir Wood and Bush Wood), 10 + Redwing, 6 singing Song Thrush, 1 singing Mistle Thrush, drumming Greater Spotted Woodpecker (Bush Wood), 22 Pochard, 46 Tufted Duck, 41 Gadwall, 2 f Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, 30 + Ring-necked Parakeet in one flock going south before dusk (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 30 Shoveler, 5 Tufted Duck, 6 Teal, 12 Egyptian Goose (north west) + 2 Alex, 4 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 3 singing Song Thrush, singing Mistle Thrush (City of London Cem)42 Ring-necked Parakeet (north), 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, 3 Goldcrest + Coal Tit (C of L Cem), Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Green Sandpiper north up the R Roding , Water Rail, Grey Wagtail, Teal (Steve Thorpe), Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, 2-3 Kingfisher, 20+ Chaffinch, 30+ Goldfinch, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Lesser Redpoll (all Old Sewage Works), 20 + Siskin, Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, 40 + Gadwall, 40 + Tufted Duck, 2 f Shoveler, 30 + Pochard, 2 Egyptian Goose, 10 + singing Song Thrush (OSW) (Nick Croft/Steve Thorpe), Firecrest (Bush Wood), 20 Lesser Redpoll (Shoulder of Mutton) (Tim Harris)
Wanstead Flats: 34 Shoveler, 7 Tufted Duck, 15 Egyptian Goose (north west), 5 Gadwall, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Old Sewage Works: 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Bullfinch, 20 + Goldfinch, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Reed Bunting, 20+ Song Thrush (6-10 singing), Redwing, Fieldfare (Tim Harris/Steve Thorpe/Nick Croft), f Wigeon, 4 f Shoveler (Perch) (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 30 Shoveler (27 Alex, 3 Jub), 5 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 5 Egyptian Goose (NW over Esso garage), 17 Mute Swan (Alex), 1 redwing, 2 Fieldfare, singing Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipit, 5 Herring Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Green Woodpecker, Greater-spotted Woodpecker, 10 Greenfinch and snow (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 456 Common Gull, 190 Black-headed Gull, 186 Canada Goose, 48 Mallard, 24 Shoveler (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 4 Firecrest (Bush Wood), 5 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 28 + Lesser Redpoll, 6 Siskin, 2 Bullfinch, 8 Teal, 83 Gadwall, 42 Pochard, 48 Tufted Duck, 119 Mallard, Kingfisher, Water Rail, 3 Heron, Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Steve Thorpe/Natalia Benajeh et al)
Wanstead Flats: f Wigeon, 13 Shoveler, 3 Reed Bunting, Linnet, 20 + Goldfinch, 7 Fieldfare, 19 Ring-necked Parakeet (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 4 + Chiffchaff (old sewage works), 3 Goldcrest, 2 Water Rail, 79 Gadwall, 34 Pochard, 42 Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose, 5 Lesser Redpoll, Siskin, Pied Wagtail, Fieldfare, 4 Redwing (Nick Croft), 1 Chiffchaff (pump house), Grey Wagtail, Sparrowhawk (Steve Thorpe)
Wanstead Park: 3 Water Rail, Little Egret, Kingfisher, 35 + Lesser Redpoll, 10 + Siskin, Bullfinch, 2 Coal Tit (Nick Croft)