3 September 2012

Why Wanstead?

Always a bit embarrassing when you publicly state something and then nothing happens, or in the case of a Wryneck, the subject appearing to have snuck off during the night. Since not  many had turned up during the week, I considered posting instructions as merely a formality and good manners.  Ten or more expectant faces greeted me as I reached Wryneck corner.

There weren't so many when I returned from the scrub 30 minutes later with not much to show.  Clear skies, cold northerly wind, I'd probably have wanted to go south myself.  On the other hand it did appear we had a fall of Dunnock, oh yes! Dunnock - there were stacks everywhere.  Not everyones idea of a migrant mega, granted.

Also on the increase were the number of Whinchat, plus a new female Redstart in at the Alex, so maybe the Wryneck hasn't gone, he might have just got up early and decided on a change of scene.   Or before that annoying arse comes round to boot me out of the tree.

On the way back home I gave Long Wood the last once over from the broom field looking for Spotted Flycatcher. A potential bird was spied doing a vertical movement on the south side of the copse. I then got a bit of a bar on the wing.  Took me a further 30 minutes to get a good view to confirm our 5th or 6th Pied.  Common as muck.

It's a bit sad that the Wryneck has gone (or has it? Saturday I espied a patch of barring in the Wryneck tree!!), but frees up more time for the rest of the patch. I wish it well on its travels.  Good news though in that it is rumoured that males were recorded singing on territory in the UK once more this year.

So why is Wanstead so good?  My theory: have a look at the image below taken by the shuttle.

Below I've added a few salient features. Left the Lee Valley, Walthamstow Reservoirs, Hackney Marshes, to the right Wanstead Flats and Park. Islands of darkness in the sea of light.

Obviously birds don't fly at an altitude of 20 odd miles, but you get the idea. Add to that the long ribbon of green that is Epping Forest, the line of reservoirs of the Lee valley, both highly visible north/south routes, while another school of thought has put forward the north/south routes of motorways as an aid to navigation. There you are, a bit of science!

Normal guff will resume shortly.

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