Friday was a bit like hard work. I was down by the Alex, while Dan who had started there worked the east end of Long Wood. Not a lot of anything until I got the chup chup chup etc. of a lone Crossbill rising out of the City of London burial grounds and heading off east. Dan countered with Yellow-legged Gull on the footy pitches, scared off by a dog and top-trumped with a Wheatear on show on said football pitches. My 2 Garden Warbler, and Lesser Whitethroat no match for a Wheatear at anytime, although my LW was stunning.
Almost as good as my Wood Lark last year, no need for a desription here
No tit flocks, or rather no Long-tailed Tit flocks and our Spotty had gone - I think I saw him fly off east yesterday.
Saturday and I was a bit knackered and it took a text of a Kingfisher at the Alex to get me past the coffee. Jono and Dan were already at the visimig point with a Whinchat, Wheatear (then 2) and a shed load of Common Whitethroat.
We split up, Jono to get some pics of the chats, Dan to the Alex and I kept in the shade at the east end of Long Wood. Then I got bored and wandered along the shady path to the north of the trees. A spotty flew to a perch above me and then was gone. The others came looking for it, and Dan later found it back on station at the east end.
It was getting a bit warm now and we split again, I wandered into the park to load up on cakes and coffee. Walking down the side of Perch I stopped for a bit in the Water Rail area, no sooner had I stepped out on to the shore two duck exploded through the trees. The one I could see had well marked line across the wing. Tufties don't go in here, Mallards would have just sauntered off, Gadwall are too well marked. Left me thinking of Garganey. Now I would have to go around the ornamentals to see if I could find them if they had pitched down in the vicinity.
I found nothing doing a circuit, only a young Hobby flying out of a tree on one of the islands in the fortifications and their constant calls. I was just admiring a Heron stood in the western arm of the lake when a small bird - hadn't seen many of them - flew into an oak on the northernmost island. Luckily it had landed on a bough. It was a flycatcher, but not quite right for a spotty. Won't be needing to go down to West Ham park this year either. Pied Fly in probably the worst place it could be. It perched up for about a minute and then disappeared into the foliage. It was shady and cooler were I was so I thought I'd sit it out, just in case anybody else turned up to see it.
Sometime later Stuart turned up, but we couldn't find the bird again, not surprising, needle haystack comes to mind.
For his effort I bought him a tea and we watched first a Hobby catching insects over in the distance, then a large flock of Black-headed Gull, around 200, pitched up and took over.
Just time for a wander round the old sewage works, where it seemed every other bird now fancied themselves as a flycatcher. Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffies, Blue Tit, Great Tit, and Robin were all giving it a go.
What we are lacking is a good burnt area, what's wrong with the youth of today. The gorse by the brick-pits, which were torched over the winter have been heaving with birds. A few more tasty patches and who knows what be found. Wanstead is however, on fire!