1 October 2013

September. Not shabby at all!

How about that then? A month any bird observatory on the coast would be more than happy with, without the seabirds obviously. Plenty of candidates for bird of the month, and possibly the year here. Amazingly we got a report for every day of the month and I don't recall that happening before, so a big up to all those who put in the hours, er minutes (yeah, you know who you are!) to make this quite a brilliant month. It started on a high and just about finished at the same level.  Even taking into account the decidedly piss poor showing of our stalwart (and favourite) birds: Wheater and Common Redstart, the quality matched the quantity.

The attendance register

Whinchat (80 bird days, and by far away the most prolific of the "big" migrants)
Yellow Wagtail (33 days, and probably the only count that we can say with any confidence was of individual birds)
Spotted Flycatcher (33 days, down on previous years I reckon)
Tree Pipit (11 days, a number of birds staying local for a few days, but still a good count)
Wheatear (9 days, all female/juv types: where are all the males?)
Common Redstart (7 days and well down on last year)
Pied Flycatcher (5 days and probably a couple of individuals involved, but still great to have them lingering on till quite late in the month. Mike Messenger also got one in the park at some point during the month)

All great birds, but came there better:

  • Green Sandpiper:1st Sept (finally the first bird of the year making its non appearance as it called flying across the flats)
  • Nightingale: 2nd-3rd Sept (but possibly longer due to a report I was given by a former groundsman in the park later on in the month)
  • Wryneck: 3rd-9th Sept.  My confidence in one turning up in London fully justified (phew) and one that I didn't have to travel far and dip.
  • Barred Warbler: 5th Sept.  Possibly the third sighting and luckily with a witness
  • Sedge Warbler:11th Sept.  We were expecting more after the number of spring sightings
  • Red-crested Pochard: 17th-24th Sept. Origins unknown (better not ask too many questions) and luckily departed before blotting its copy book too much further.
  • Common Snipe: 12 Sept. A ten bird record count from the flats.
  • Hirundine movement: 23rd Sept.  Small by comparison (600+) of some of the figures being seen elsewhere that day, but a pretty exciting morning none the less
  • Wigeon: 24th Sept - .  Ok not a fantastically rare duck, by one of my favourites so it gets the nod!
  • Jack Snipe: 29th Sept.  One of a small influx into London that day and only the third record for the patch
  • Redwing: 29th Sept.  Winter is coming

So goodbye to our warblers, and although there are one or two juvenile Common Whitethroat still lurking about, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden, Willow and Reed have all departed for clement climes. Chiffchaff still sing, but we've not had the numbers of previous years.  Blackcap are still sub-singing in the blackberries and elders. In their place the finches and buntings are returning and with them the migrant thrushes: the first returning Redwing moving through on the 29th. We've had Dunnock coming in too, not a bird you immediately associate with being a star migrant. Only one record of Goldcrest and none for the park!

The wintering ducks are coming back: Teal can be found on the edges of the Alex - don't know about the park as I don't usually get that far, and no one else can be bothered either.  Shoveler numbers are rising as are Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Common Pochard - we should be checking for Garganey and it's about time for another Pintail on the patch.

The Great-crested Grebe on the basin have managed to raise one chick, while the Little Grebe have all gone for the late brood strategy, I even found a small chick on the Shoulder of Mutton, that could have only hatched a few days earlier, just this last weekend.  The strategy appears to have paid off, haven't counted them properly for a while,but there are quite a few.

Also successful were the Hobby with one young seen round the nest site by the temple. There are now three Kestrel taking it in turn to be mobbed by the crows and parakeet on the flats, and Sprawk sightings are almost daily.  Only 2 Common Buzzard this month, and no Peregrine sightings.

In addition to the almost daily records of Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit have started moving through with numbers above 40 birds on a number of occasions. Pied Wagtail have taken a liking to the Police Scrape, while it appears I was hasty in saying the Greys had failed to raise a brood with a youngster in tow of the pair frequenting the Heronry. Birds are also moving around the flats in ones and twos.

Also back in the in-tray are the finches: Siskin heard on two occasions, Linnet are to be found in with the Pied Wagtail on the Police Scrape, a few more Chaffinches, but no Lesser Redpoll yet.  One or two Reed Bunting have returned, and an interesting bunting sp was picked up by the Alex but refused to give itself up in a half hearted attempt to identify it.

Meanwhile the gull roost is a bit thin on the ground still.  A high of 4 Common Gull and 50 + Black-headed Gull have been noted, while Herring Gull can be seen most days flying across with a few non-adults pottering about on the fields. Still waiting for Yellow-legged and Med, but if any of us could do juv-non adult YLGs we'd have probably scored by now.  No tern records for September.

In addition to the Snipe and Green Sandpiper, a couple of Common Sandpiper added to the wader tally, but no bigguns - still time there I would have thought!

The one big day of hirundine movement duly came and went: mostly Swallow and House Martin, but with a smattering of Sand Ms in the mix - the only ones seen all month.  Swallow movement was virtually daily, some even going the right way, and the resident House Martins were still feeding over the nest site till the end of the month.

That I think just about covers it


Wanstead Flats: 5 Whinchat, 2 Common Redstart, 3 Spotted Flycatcher, Green Sandpiper
W (first record this year), Snipe, 5 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 2 Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 2-3 Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 40+ Chiffchaff, 10 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler (Wanstead Birding) 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 3 Green Woodpecker, 5 House Martin (4W, 1 S), 1 Garden Warbler (Long Wood), 2-3 Spotted Fly (Long Wood), 6 Whinchat (Broom fields, all 6 in view simultaneously!!) (Richard Rae)

Wanstead Park Hobby, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Little Egret (one colour-coded red L/green R), Kingfisher, 2 Egyptian Goose, Coal Tit (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Redstart, 5 Whinchat, prob Nightingale
(bird between the size of a Robin & a Song_Thrush flew south out of Long Wood - pale below / warm-brown on top / fairly pronounced tail - colour? [Would love to say rufous but - from the views we had in the bright light - darker than the body- NC] / thrush-like flight), 2 Wheatear, 5 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Garden Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Kestrel, 2 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Skylark (Nick Croft/Dan Hennessy)


Wanstead Flats: Wryneck
east of Visi Migpoint & later in flight - no further sightings by 11:30 (James Palmer/Bob Vaughan); Nightingale (NC) same bird as yesterday, 5 Whinchat still, 2 Garden Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, Hobby through, 2 Common Buzzard, 13 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, 4 Meadow Pipit, 7 Yellow Wagtail, 5 Skylark (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Jonathan Lethbridge/Barry Bishop); no sign of Wryneck at 18:45, but 2 Spotted Flycatcher still, Redstart SSSI, Nightingale doing a bit of sub-song before going to roost (Dan Hennessy/Stuart Fisher/JL/BV)

Wanstead Park: Tree Pipit calling overhead (Dan Hennessy)


Wanstead Flats: Pied Flycatcher
(pub scrub), 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whinchat, Garden Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler (1 singing), Lesser Whitethroat, Hobby, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Common Sandpiper, 2 Swallow, 11 House Martin, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 15 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, Teal; also Wasp Spider on egg sac (Nick Croft/Tony Brown, Dan Hennessy, Josh Selfe, Bob Vaughan, Keith Marchant).


Wanstead Flats: good candidate for Barred Warbler
(again) in tree by vis-mig point, larger than C_Whitethroat in attendance, grey on back and head, darker primaries, distant view, pale front with speckling/barring under chin, since this has gone out on Birdguides as an 'unconfirmed report' – if you are planning to visit, please keep to the paths (NC/MJ); 3 Whinchat still, Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 16 Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, Skylark (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson); no sign poss Barred Warbler by 19:00, but Common Redstart SSSI, 3 Whinchat still, 2 Spotted Flycatcher (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: no sign of Barred Warbler, 2 Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail
, Grey Wagtail, 6 Meadow Pipit, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 10 Mistle Thrush, 3 Swallow, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 20+ Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Skylark (Wanstead Birding); Tree Pipit (BV) 18:10, Wryneck (BV) south of long wood near viz mig point (Bob Vaughan, Nick Croft, Jono Lethbridge per SF) Kestrel, Wryneck (obv also seen by a few others!!!), 1 Grey Wagtail (over brooms am) (Richard Rae)


Wanstead: Wryneck
south end of the enclosure till midday, 3 Whinchat, 2-3 Tree Pipit, 4 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, Garden Warbler, 6+ Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, 10 House Martin, 3 Teal, 10+ Gadwall, 3 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birders et al, BirdGuides); Wryneck briefly in flight between Vis-Migpoint and Long Wood 17:30 (David Bradnum)


Wanstead Flats: Wryneck
still present till 9am at least ranging between the enclosure at the east end of Long Wood and the broom up to 250m south along centre path, also 4 Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden Warbler, Coal Tit (David Bradnum et al)


Wanstead Flats: Wryneck
still this morning but elusive, Wheatear, 3 Whinchat, Tree Pipit, 4 Meadow Pipit, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler (Richard Rae/Wanstead Birders) 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 2+ Lesser Whitethroat, 3 whinchat (brooms), 1 Tree Pipit. (Richard Rae)


Wanstead Flats:
no confirmed sightings of Wryneck though a couple of possibles, 4-5 Whinchat, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, more Blackcap in, fewer Common Whitethroat, 20+ Chiffchaff , 10+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Common Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, 4 Gadwall (Tony Brown/Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 6 Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher,
2 Yellow Wagtail, 15 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 4 Gadwall, 2 Egyptian Goose, Snipe, Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Mike Dent)

Wanstead Park: Sedge Warbler (River Roding), 14 Tufted Duck, 10 Common Pochard, 5 Gadwall, 5 Little Grebe, Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Pied Flycatcher
(Keith Rayment); 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Whinchat, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 30+ Blackcap, 30+ Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 10 Swallow, 12 House Martin, 4 Gadwall, f Pochard, 30+ Dunnock, 2 Kestrel, 10 Snipe (Keith Rayment/Nick Croft/Tim Harris/Dan Hennessy). 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Skylark, 5+ Blackcap (enclosure area), 2 whinchat, 10+ Meadow Pipit, (Richard Rae)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Whinchat, f Wheatear, Spotted Flycatcher, Siskin
(first return of autumn; Ldn season-1st), 2 Linnet, 2 Bullfinch (h), 50+ Meadow Pipit (flock of 23), 7 Skylark, 2 Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, good numbers still of Blackcap and Chiffchaff, Teal, 8 Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, f Pochard, 12 Mistle Thrush, 2 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Swallow W, 10 House Martin (Nick Croft/John Whele); Tree Pipit (Limes, SSSI), 5 Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 50+ Swallow, 30+ Meadow Pipit (Tony Brown)


Wanstead Flats: 3 Whinchat, f Wheatear,
50+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Skylark, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 8 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 4 Egyptian Goose, 40+ Swallow, 13 House Martin (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 17 Pochard, 20 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 11 Little Grebe, 5 Grey Wagtail (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Whinchat, f Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher reported enclosure area, Spotted Flycatcher (Alex scrub), Reed Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10+ Chiffchaff (a few singing), 2 Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark, 8 Swallow, 5 House Martin, 2 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, Common Gull (Wanstead Birders). 1-2 Kestrel, 1 Common Gull (Jubilee Pond), 1 House Martin west, 3  Whinchat (1 n end playing fields on northern flats, 2 brooms), 1 Wheatear (playing fields on northen flats)  (Richard Rae)

Wanstead Park: Lesser Whitethroat, Grey Wagtail (Perch Pond) (Bush Wood - Richard Rae); 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kingfisher (Ornamentals - Bob Vaughan).


Wanstead Flats: 5 Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher,
40+ Meadow Pipit, Reed Warbler, 4 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 4 Pochard, Goldcrest (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: 4 Whinchat
, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Shoveler, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard (first since 2009), 10+ Common Pochard, 6 Gadwall, 10+ Tufted Duck, Little Egret, Grey Wagtail (Dan Hennessy/Jonathan Lethbridge/Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Pied Flycatcher, 4 Spotted Flycatcher, 4 Whinchat, f Wheatear,
4 Lesser Whitethroat, 30+ Chiffchaff, 6 Common Whitethroat, 20+ Blackcap, 8 House Martin, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Sparrowhawk with prey on ground mobbed by crows, 2 Kestrel, Teal, Shoveler, f Pochard (Nick Croft/Keith Rayment)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard still Heronry, Kingfisher (Dan Hennessy/Tony Brown)


Wanstead Flats: Pied Flycatcher
briefly then flew to Coronation Copse, 2 Spotted Flycatcher, 40+ Chiffchaff, 3 Whinchat, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 3 Skylark, 2 Gadwall, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Snipe (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson/Barry Bishop/Dan Hennessy)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard, Kingfisher (Dan Hennessy/Barry Bishop)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Whinchat, 1-2 Tree Pipit,
30+ Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 10+ Blackcap, 30+ Chiffchaff, 2 Shoveler, 7 Little Grebe, Mistle Thrush, 2 Common Gull, 3 House Martin, 3 Kestrel (Nick Croft) 2 Spotted Flycatcher (enclosure) (Richard Rae)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard still Heronry, 13 Pochard, 20+ Tufted Duck, 19 Gadwall, 8 Little Grebe, Little Egret, Kingfisher, 10+ Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 8 House Martin N, 2 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft) 1 f R C Pochard (Heronry Pond), 1 Kestrel, 2 Kingfisher (Heronry Pond), ca 5 Chiffchaff (The Avenue) (Richard Rae)


Wanstead Flats: Tree Pipit,
30+ Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, 15 Swallow, 20+ Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Reed Bunting (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats:
10 Swallow, 4 Skylark, many Chiffchaff and Meadow Pipits (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard still Heronry, though most Gadwall and Common Pochard elsewhere (Bob Vaughan).


Wanstead Flats: Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher
(both pub scrub), 600+ hirundine through S/SE from 09:00 onwards- 400+ Swallow, 200+ House Martin and 35+ Sand Martin, 40+ Meadow Pipit S, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Skylark, 30+ Chiffchaff, 4+ Blackcap, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 3 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 400+ Starling, Linnet (Nick Croft/John Whele); also 5+ Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Greenfinch, 8 Jay (and Spotted Flycatcher still pub scrub 12:45) (Matthew Cunningham).


Wanstead Flats: Wigeon
, 17 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, Teal, 3 Tufted Duck (Alex), 10+ Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 4 Skylark, Common Whitethroat, 10+ Chiffchaff, 8+ Blackcap, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Red-crested Pochard still Heronry, 10+ Pochard, 10+ Tufted Duck, 10 Gadwall (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Whinchat
, 40+ Meadow Pipit, 12 Pied Wagtail, 6 Linnet, 10 Goldfinch, 20+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, 3 Teal, 10 Shoveler, 13 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 2 Kestrel, 10 Mistle Thrush, 2 Common Gull, 2 Snipe, 14 Swallow through, 5 resident House Martin, 3 Skylark (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
2 Yellow Wagtail E, 10 Pied Wagtail, 30+ Meadow Pipit, 20+ Swallow E, 13 House Martin, 20+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, 1-2 Reed Bunting, 3 Linnet, 9 Goldfinch, 7 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 3 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 2 Egyptian Goose, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 2 Common Gull, 2 Skylark (Nick Croft/Richard Rae/Bob Vaughan/Paul Davis). 2 Cormorant, 1 Kestrel, 1 Common Gull (Alex), 250+ Woodpigeon on playing fields on northern flats, 15 Swallow S (Richard Rae)


Wanstead Flats: Yellow Wagtail
, 4 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 20+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, 6 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 1-2 Reed Bunting, 8 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 3 Teal, Common Pochard, Coal Tit, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 4 Common Gull (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Wheatear
(Jub), 21 Swallow through, 20+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, 15+ Meadow Pipit, 6 Pied Wagtail, 13 Skylark, Siskin, 4 Linnet, 10 Song Thrush, 8 Gadwall, Wigeon, 3 Shoveler, Teal, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birding)

Wanstead Park: 10 Little Grebe, 6 Swallow, 12 Gadwall, 28 Tufted Duck, 7 Pochard, Little Egret (Nick Croft/Jonathan and Henry Lethbridge).


Wanstead Flats: Jack Snipe (Alex), 2-3 Wheatear, 9-12 Redwing S, 10+ Song Thrush, Yellow Wagtail, 10+ Pied Wagtail, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 10 Swallow, 20+ Chiffchaff, 5+ Blackcap, Reed Bunting, 13 Gadwall, 7 Shoveler, Wigeon, 6 Linnet, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel (Wanstead Birding) 1 Common Gull (Jubilee), 3 Pied Wagtail over Fairground (Richard Rae)


Wanstead Flats: 56 Goldfinch - grps of c30 & 26 in plane trees at Jubilee & Angel, Reed Bunting, 4 Swallow, House Martin, 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, Common Whitehroat, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 10 Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, 3 Skylark, 10+ Song Thrush, 15 Shoveler, 11 Gadwall, 3 Egyptian Goose (Nick Croft) 2 Chiffchaff Alex (on island in lake) (Richard Rae)

Addendum to August

Wanstead Flats: Cuckoo on 25th August (previously just reported until 24th). (Richard Rae)

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