I think we've got off to a bright start, helped by the snow towards the end of the month which brought in a few goodies. However, serious absences have been noted: where the hell have our Rails got to? More worryingly we should have had some kind of report of Lesser-spotted Woodpecker by now and we still wait for the first Peregrine to fly over or Med Gull slumming it with its garrulous cousins on the flats. On the plus side the first Little Owl for nearly two years was spotted on the 1st, in the dark, later confirmed to have been calling since just after Christmas. A couple of Brambling reports, we usually manage these in the Autumn, an early Yellowhammer, Waxwing of course, and the cold weather delivery of Smew, Goosander, Woodcock, Snipe, Golden Plover and a lot of Lapwing. Then there was another that got away; was it a Serin or a really dowdy Canary. It might have been present in the old sewage works the following day but again little to add to its successful ID. As for the remainder it was their moment as they were dutifully added to the list on new year's day and will now barely receive a mention till next year.
What with the cold weather good for movement and the need to watch the skies for something interesting birds like Firecrest were not really looked for after initial sightings, though Dan still managed to bag one by the Dell, which could mean a 3rd bird or just the one from the Alex relocating.
Duck numbers fluctuated wildly due to the lack of open water over much of the patch, but I think it's fair to say the Gadwall numbers have been higher than in recent winters, while Pochard's have been going the other way. The lone Wigeon was joined by 2 more on the Alex, though it might not have known about it, frequenting the park as it's done.
With the Roding still very high any chances of interesting waders have been negligible here, though Woodcock and Snipe have been seen in the old sewage works, mainly towards the Manor Park allotments end (I've unilaterally annexed the land beyond the Gates of Mordor in the name of continuity!)
Little Grebes have all but disappeared from the site during the freeze; 3 stoically sat it out in the diminishing open water of the Heronry, but most have hoofed of to the Roding and moving water. Great-crested Grebe were handily still on the basin on the 1st.
No Chiffhaff this year, but Blackcap have been reported in gardens around the patch. I think we might get some later! Nuthatch are still in evidence, which is looking good for the first breeding in years and maybe a comeback. We however, remain Treecreeperless.
A few Skylarks have braved the grassland, supplemented by a few flyovers, and outnumbered by the fluctuating Meadow Pipit with highs in the 20s. As for the thrushes, there were very few Fieldfare and Redwing up to the cold snap, big movement during and a lot of birds (mainly Fieldfare) feeding on open grounded just after, and very few now it's got warmer. The Hawthorn-apple-pear tree was a good idea for the camera-wise, and even had a party of Waxwing briefly before - you know what! We will be doing this again come the next freeze.
A couple of Buzzard, one which I though looked quite interesting - but absolutely no one else did, and that just about covers it. Here are the highlights and then the filler....
- Waxwing: 34 and counting
- Woodcock: sightings everywhere bar where I predicted them to be
- Snipe: a record 7 in the SSSI boggy bit
- Golden Plover: just the one, so far
- Goosander: last year's bogey bird for me expunged
- Smew: a red-head briefly on the Roding
- Firecrest: worthy of a mention (Bush Wood, and one in the Dell)
- Brambling: one on site for a couple of days
- Yellowhammer: early bird
- Owls: Little and large (Tawny)
Wanstead Flats: Little Owl at 16:43 (first sighting for nearly 2 years), 1-2 Snipe, 2 Redwing, 7 Fieldfare, 10 + singing Song Thrush, singing Mistle Thrush, drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 + Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Reed Bunting, 47 Gadwall, 11 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, singing Stock Dove, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 4 Goldcrest, Great Black-backed Gull (Tim Harris/Jonathan Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 17 + Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, 6 Goldcrest, Coal Tit, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 150 + Gadwall, 60 + Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler (Jonathan Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan/Paul Davis/Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: Yellowhammer calling south over brooms, 3 Reed Bunting, 8 Siskin south, 10 + Chaffinch, 40 + Goldfinch, 35 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Redwing, 5 Mistle Thrush (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Wigeon juv back on Heronry, 94 Gadwall, 62 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 2 Teal, 4 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 48 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 13 Tufted Duck, 12 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 4 Reed Bunting, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Firecrest (in the Dell), Nuthatch (Res. Wood) (Dan Hennessy).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Snipe, 20 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 3 Skylark, 6 Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, 25 Gadwall, 15 Tufted Duck, Pochard, 4 Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Grey Wagtail, Kestrel (Bob Vaughan), Little Egret (Chris Legge), Firecrest (briefly in Bush Wood), 6 Goldcrest, Coal Tit, Meadow Pipit, Cormorant in breeding plumage, Little Grebe, 100 + Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull north to roost, 94 Gadwall, 57 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, Wigeon, Pochard, 2 Stock Dove (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Firecrest, 1-2 Nuthatch, Coal Tit (J Lethbridge)
Wanstead Flats: Common Snipe, Reed Bunting, 3 Shoveler, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 7 Siskin, 2 Bullfinch, 7 Goldcrest, Woodcock, 2 Mistle Thrush, Tawny Owl calling from Reservoir Wood, 50 + Herring Gull north to roost (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: Common Snipe, Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting, 5 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 2 Shoveler, 9 Gadwall, singing Mistle Thrush (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Stock Dove singing res wood, 3 m Teal, 90 Gadwall, 51 Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler, 8 Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, Grey Wagtail, Siskin, Lesser Redpoll, pr Bullfinch, 3 Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead (Belgrave Road): Waxwing (per J Lethbridge)
Wanstead Flats: 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Meadow Pipit, 14 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 5 Shoveler, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 100 + Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 10 Pochard, Wigeon, m Teal, 33 Goldfinch, Siskin, 5 Goldcrest, 2 Pied Wagtail (Nik Croft)
Wanstead Flats: Fieldfare, 4 Goldcrest, Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park (Bush/Res Wood): 27 Gadwall, 2 Egyptian Goose, Nuthatch, Firecrest again behind Belgrave Heights, 5 Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Wigeon (J Lethbridge)
Wanstead Flats: 2 Snipe, 2 Reed Bunting (J Lethbridge), 11 Gadwall, Sparrowhawk, 2 Fieldfare, 20+ Goldfinch, 8 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Wigeon, 150+ Gadwall, Teal, 2 Shoveler, 11+ Pochard, 60+ Tufted Duck, 8 Siskin, Kestrel (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 36 Lapwing west (9 on police scrape), 7 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Reed Bunting, 20 Goldfinch, Fieldfare, Redwing, 4 Goldcrest, Collared Dove, 11 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 93 Lapwing west over Old Sewage Works & Perch pond (TB/NC), Nuthatch (Bush Wood & Res Wood), Bullfinch OSW (BV), 118 Gadwall, 10 Pochard, 60 + Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler, Little Grebe, Siskin, Redwing (Tony Brown/Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)
Wanstead Flats: 21 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, 10 Tufted Duck, 27 Greylag Goose, 3 Fieldfare, Redwing, 3 Mistle Thrush, 3 Skylark, 11 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Snipe, Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 2 Teal (JL), 7 Shoveler, 90 + Gadwall, Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe, Siskin, 2 pr of Bullfinch (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge).
Wanstead Flats: Woodcock flushed from beneath bush east end of Long Wood at 11:30 (NC), 2 f/juv Wigeon Alex, 15 Gadwall, 1 Pochard, 10+ Tufted Duck, 5 Shoveler, 2 Reed Bunting, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Fieldfare, Redwing, 5 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge).
Wanstead Park: f Smew on south end of Roding flew south round bend, pr Bullfinch, 14 Lapwing (north) (Bob Vaughan), 50+ Gadwall, 30+ Tufted Duck, Pochard, 5 Shoveler, 2 Egyptian Goose, Sparrowhawk, Siskin, 2 Little Grebe (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 5 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 10 + Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, 10 + Tufted Duck, 4 Fieldfare, 2 Mistle Thrush (Nick Croft) Woodcock, 2 C. Snipe, 15 Meadow Pipit SSSI (Jonathan Lethbridge)
Wanstead Park: Kingfisher, 40 + Lapwing south before the snow, 50 + Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 1 Teal, Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 5 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, Redwing and a dead dog in the Roding (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Goosander over Long Wood then west over SSSI (NC), Golden Plover over jub (BV), 121 Lapwing, 2-3 Snipe, 193 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 2 Linnet, 3 Reed Bunting, 23 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Wigeon, 10 + Gadwall, 10 + Tufted Duck, Pochard, 7 Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 4 Goldcrest (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge/Dan hennessy/BobVaughan)
Wanstead Park: 3 Lapwing, 60 + Gadwall, 12 Shoveler, 11 Pochard, 40 + Tufted Duck, 3 Teal, 6 Siskin, 3 Little Grebe, Little Egret, Fieldfare, Redwing, 6 Goldcrest, Nuthatch, dead dog in Roding (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan)
Wanstead Flats: Woodcock, 6 Lapwing, 60 + Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 17 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark, Goldcrest, Linnet (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan/Marco Johnson/Dan Hennessy)
Wanstead Park: 2 Snipe, 7 Teal, 80 + Gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 6 Siskin, Goldcrest, Fieldfare, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan/Marco Johnson)
Wanstead Flats: (0745-0830) 23 Meadow Pipits in brooms plus c.10 flying W, 150 Fieldfares in the brooms, 5 Redwing (Tim Harris, Josh Selfe). Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 17 Waxwing (briefly on hawthorn in broomfields where I've strategically placed apples), 3 Lapwing, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Josh Selfe). 4 Reed Buntings (Dog & Cat - Bob Vaughan).
Wanstead Park: Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 3 Lapwing, Little Grebe, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft/Josh Selfe).
Wanstead Flats: 'possible' Serin (small yellowish finch with yellow rump, no discernible wing bars in the brief moment I saw through the bins, size of a linnet, and twittering rather linnet-like) briefly over Centre Path but didn't look like it was flying far - may have been associating with 15 Linnet new in today, also Snipe Long Wood, Lapwing, 60+ Fieldfare, 20+ Meadow Pipit, Skylark (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 10 Skylark south, 70 Gadwall Perch, 30+ Goldfinch, 20 Siskin, 2 Bullfinch (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 16 Waxwing over visi mig site, Brambling east, 2 Skylark, 50 Fieldfare, 3 Redwing (NC/Tim Harris), Buzzard south over Alex (probably the one later at Tower Hamlets Cemetery), 5 Shoveler, 2 Pochard (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Woodcock south end of Old Sewage Works, 6 Siskin, 60 + Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, Little Egret (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 7 Snipe SSSI (record for site), 100 + Fieldfare, 6 Redwing, 9 Meadow Pipit, 4 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, Pochard (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Reed Bunting, Teal, 70 Gadwall, Sparrowhawk, 10+ Redwing, 20+ Fieldfare, Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft). 7 Teal (3m 4f) - River Roding (Tony Brown).
Wanstead Flats: Brambling east (possible 2nd bird Alex), 10+ Linnet, singing Stock Dove, 100+ Fieldfare, Redwing, Kestrel, 4 Shoveler, Gadwall, Pochard (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Woodcock (old sewage works), Kingfisher, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch, 90+ Gadwall on Perch, 2 Shoveler, Fieldfare, Redwing (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 10 + Fieldfare, 3 Mistle Thrush, 10 + Tufted Duck, 5 Shoveler, Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: singing Coal Tit, 15 + Siskin, 2 Teal, 6 Pochard, many Gadwall, Grey Heron (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 5 Pochard, 6 Shoveler, 5 Gadwall, 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Fieldfare, 2 Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 100+ Gadwall, 60+ Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler, 7 Pochard, 2 Stock Dove, 2 Goldcrest, 30+ Goldfinch, 10+ Siskin, Bullfinch, Grey Wagtail, 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Redwing (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 60+ Gadwall, 15 Shoveler, 25+ Tufted Duck (all Alex), 3 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Kestrel, singing Chaffinch, Goldcrest (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: 100+ Gadwall, 9 Shoveler, 6 Pochard, 40+ Tufted Duck, trilling Little Grebe on Shoulder of Mutton (Nick Croft).