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26 February 2012
Buzzard blocker un-blocked; and the ugliest duck in the world
With the ice gone things have settled down a bit, but there's increasing excitement as Jono's Wheatear clock counts down the days, hours, minutes and the seconds to the moment "the" birds are back. Last year Wheatear was # 95, so hopefully we've got a lot of interesting birds to come in the meantime.
Two new additions to the list this week were my Green Sandpiper on the Roding (my first in the park), which I was aiming to get a shot of before some arse golfer flushed it from the other side of the river. Golfers are now very firmly in the top ten of my "Things the world would be better off without..." list just below dogs and their owners of course. The second was the first of the year's Great-crested Grebe on the Basin, it wasn't there today, but I think we might get more...
Steve might have had another Goosander on Friday (aw come on enough already!), but today I managed to get my first and second Buzzard, after missing out last weekend in the park.
"Good day for raptors", Jono's text had suggested earlier in the morning. I couldn't disagree, but was having difficulty moving after yesterday's tramp from Camber Sands to, and around, Dunge. I have discovered though that sometimes the early bird is not the only one that gets the worm. Met up with Mr L and we lay on our backs contemplating the kettling gulls over head waiting for Buzzard.
There's one, says JL, and right enough the bird has done the decent thing and is circling hundreds of feet above our heads. A rather vividly marked one it appears through "big-bins" (unfortunately we couldn't make it into a Rough-legged as one was reported over Upminster later). I watched it gracefully sail northwards, then it tucked its wings in slightly and picked up speed and was lost to view somewhere over Leytonstone.
Now the problems with being on your back is that your field of view is somewhat diminished, and there was the chance we might miss something. However the next bird, coming west to east was lower and also did the decent thing of passing straight over the top of us.
After Jono left to go and see the muppets, I wandered off to Bush Wood to check on the Firecrest, since no one else had bothered this month. Surprisingly I found one quite quickly in the spot I had originally found them back last year. Just a word to the wise, we will not be posting any further news regarding these birds just in case...
Steve had got a Woodcock in his morning stroll round the Old Sewage Works, so I thought I stay on after dark to see if I could get one in the park, after having scored one on the flats last weekend. Er no! but a bat! Presumably a Pipistrelle. What with Red Admirals flying around and now a bat, it is officially Summer.
I finished off at the Shoulder of Mutton playing owl lures to no effect. Interestingly it appears this small pond is where all the local Tufties gather at night and even in the dark I could see over 50 males swimming about grunting and churring.
Finally found this amazingly ugly duck on Alex on Thursday. For once the fairy tale did not come true...