28 June 2012


After the clouds rolled away, came back, rolled away again, it really wasn't such a bad day.  Bit humid, but the bees were humming, grasshoppers stroking their legs, birds singing, dragons and damsels on the wing all over the place.  Three Siskin called as they flew west over Long Wood - unusual.

I refound the 2 grebe chicks that had been misplaced by Steve and I on Monday  (that they had already been refound by someone else yesterday is neither here nor there).

Heron doing meditation

After 4 pleasant but wholly undemanding hours I was wandering home trying to resend a tweet regarding grasshoppers when I noticed these*:

A message from Paul Hawkins: @wansteadbirding What eye stripe?

ArlyRes (concurred): Eyestripe on Garden Warb?

to which Brownstonecow (AKA Mr Brown) said: I'm not sure @wansteadbirding has mastered the Q&A on twitter...**

To you all: Correct!

Not from Wanstead, but borrowed from another superb blog, which I can categorically say, without fear of correction, never makes mistakes!

Though to be fair it does have a very feint eyestripe, probably not its most prominent feature I grant you (getting stringy), but in my defence (stringier) it was heading towards me, soooo maybe I got the eye rings blurred (STRINGY!) as it flashed passed!  Otherwise it did look good for a GW, er, and I did raise my concerns regarding the "eye-stripe" at the time, but having consulted the BG app, and later the Collins  I was, er satisified.

OK probably desperate. We should have had the little buggers by now. Nobody's meant to be reading this blog anyhow, especially not the tweets. Blimey!

And in a flash it was gone.  We'd better get some in the Autumn migration or it could make a dramatic return!

So another groveling blog is ended, picked up delicately from the path and tied in a plastic bag to the nearest bush.

You're not going to like my Lesser Kestrel,Spotted Sandpiper, Ring-necked Duck, Baltic or Bonapartes Gull....

*    A tweet regarding a Garden Warbler from a couple of weeks back
**  I'll get that young Mr Lethbridge (who's down with this kind of mode of communication) to give me a few tips

smug git

25 June 2012

A green wall has risen across the flats

Day two of the construction of Fort Rozzer and I managed to pass without being arrested. I was following the sound of our Willow Warbler that decided to sing briefly this morning for the first time for a week or so.  The second bird has gone silent, or just gone. I caught sight of it as it flew high over towards Cann Hall road back from where I had been.  More confiding were the 2 Lesser Whitethroat at the east end of Long Wood, chasing each other through the trees. Still not much to write home about, and you guessed it, this is a bit of a filler.

Down in the park the Reed Warbler chuntered a bit in the reeds on the side of Shoulder of Mutton.  Young Little Grebe cried for food -I only counted 2 out of a possible 4 that should be there.  The same applied to the Great-crested Grebe on Heronry; 3 adult birds and only 1 chick, hopefully I missed the other 2 behind the island. Some Black-headed Gull were hawking over the water by the tea shop where the terns should have been, some already losing their spring plumage. A good day for dragonfly and damsels but not a lot else, but the sun shone.  That made a change.

Two Sparrowhawk chased each other over the old sewage works and did a bit of displaying and that was about it.  A full week at work lies ahead.  Roll on the weekend.

Lastly an apology to Mr Beale for comprehensively getting his name wrong in my reply to his helpful comment.  If anybody wants me I'll be sitting facing the wall.

23 June 2012

Blood suckers in Wanstead

Don't know what kind of leech this is, but what I do know is what an impressive animal.

21 June 2012

Martins 'n' mud

Still have no idea where our House Martin's nest is, and really too lazy to find out, but here's evidence of frantic nest building activity as they collect mud from a puddle in the car park off Aldersbrook Road. Whether this extension work or new nests apathy can't tell us, but the good news is that there were 4 birds busying themselves in the task.

Correct these are Meadow Pipit and have nothing to do with the piece in anyway.  Look on it as a bonus!

19 June 2012

Don't go down to the woods today, or Wednesday

Nothing whatsoever of any interest happened today. Spent some time looking for the Willow Warbler in the SSSI without any luck.  Met a guy out looking at the grasses.  I've met him before, probably last year at this time, but can't remember his name.  He takes samples of the plants and takes them home and dissects them to photograph. When I met him he was looking for hairy sedge, which is a plant, not a request in Long Wood. At the time I was trying to peer into the Cat and Dog pond to see if any amphibians had managed to survive.  Nothing but interesting bubbles, probably of methane.

Stick my neck out, I am going Black-tailed Skimmer on this one...

In the park I met another guy picking up litter, while I was trying to snap a rather curious scene where it appeared two large"flies" (ID being looked into by Professor Tim) were eating a spider's catch of a small damselfly.  The spider was either oblivious to it, or decided better than to get involved.  I thought at first the flies (or truth be told I thought moth), had been trapped along with the damsel, but when a second joined the first I could see they appeared to be making a meal of the spider's meal.

Anyway back to the guy picking up litter.  Not a local he had come to Wanstead from Croydon, not to pick up after the local fuckwits (and here again I am assuming this), but when I met him he had two large bags full.  We had quite a good discussion on the malaise of society, after which I bought him a coffee.

Down in the old sewage works I met a third guy, with bins, looking at Banded Demoiselle. He had been looking for Egret, so learning that there was FA about I didn't bother going any further.  A crisis had occurred involving a missing pack of Rizla so I had to retrace my steps.

Spent a bit of time pointing and clicking at the Common Tern as it fished. An F stop to me is what you have at the end of a f-sentence, and I am told that ISO do excellent sushi. I am happy in my ignorance.

Just sitting on a log in the broom fields, watching the Swift and House Martin, yet another guy comes up and introduces himself as KBA, an African rap artist.  He could probably hear my inward sigh: "not a-f***ing-gain!".  Had to listen to KBA's solos on U-Tube, and while not bad, were not quite the solitude I had been hoping for.

And it wasn't even Wednesday

OOOOh a two headed duck. You can, should you wish, turn this picture upside down and it will appear the same. Magical!

17 June 2012

It's June, but all is not quite lost, perhaps!

June's is a struggle.  A struggle to get up, a struggle to get good weather, a struggle to see any good birds, a struggle to see any birds.  But even now, you never quite know.  If I stayed in bed of a morning I would only think I had missed something good and so I struggle out and don't miss anything because it's not there, or perhaps I just got up too late.

It's not all bad though: there's the Willow Warbler(s) still singing in the SSSI, crazy Whitethroat everywhere, even the Lesser Whitethroat decided to sing in the sunshine this morning. Swifts screaming, Skylark and Meadow Pipit in the long grass  - the flats looked beautiful again - the only draw back being having to share it with others.  In the rain over the past few weeks I've been virtually alone in the park, on the flats and down by the Roding.  Heaven!

Reedy's got a partner on the Shoulder of Mutton, and the Little Grebe have a chick a piece.  On the main lake a new Great-crested Grebe slumbered, hidden from view of the resident pair and their 3 youngsters (and how they've grown!), the Tern are a daily occurrence and the tea shop opens when it's not raining.  What's not to like.

And sometimes something special: a Peregrine over the golf course, calling Hobby, 3 Kestrel over the flats... er that's it...

Saw a baby frog today. Or if it was a toad. Saw a baby toad today.

Oh and a Smooth Newt in Angel pond.

And that really is it!  Roll on August.

 Oooh a squirrrel with a blonde tail!