15 April 2014

Recent Patch Magic - featuring the amazing vanishing Shelduck

Thursday and Dan and I were on our way to Alex when Dan picked-up a bird flying fast and straight from one of the copses, he called Ring Ouzel. He thought he'd seen the white chest, all I saw was a silvery sheen to the wings of a longish winged blackbird. It flew on towards Long Wood so back we turned hoping the others had picked it up.
Dan went to look in the enclosure and I went further over. On circling back by the west of Long Wood I looked up and there was a blackbird with mica patterning on the wings, it turned and flashed it's bright chest and close as I could focus my bins there was a cracking spring male Ring Ouzel. I called the others over and although shy it eventually performed well.

Sunday was sunny and bright and full of prospect. A Common Whitethroat was new between Jubilee and the SSSI and a patch first for the year (though Josh may have had one the day before). A few hours later my enthusiasm was waning and I had an errand to run, so I unwisely left Nick at SOM. Of course when I got home I was having a shower when a text came in - "2 Shelduck Heronry" - "get here now". In deference to the weather I got dressed and in deference to the London Marathon I "ran" to Heronry.
Nick was standing at the waters edge with a coffee and looked moderately sheepish "They disappeared while I was at the Tea Hut, I looked round and they'd gone. They had been looking quite settled. I don't know where they went". My response began with a B. A quick look over Perch and I went back home, though somewhat more slowly. It had only taken me about ten minutes, should I have driven?

Tuseday morning was another beautiful day with the flats quiet and cold. The Lesser Whitethroat was rattling away in the enclosure, but nothing new. Alex? maybe I'll go via the park and Heronry, you never know....

Yay, two Shelduck smack in the middle of Heronry looking gorgeous! Patch tick! They looked settled and drifted towards the island, I went around the gorse hedge to get closer and there they were, gone. I wandered around the bank, no idea how they did it, they weren't very near the bank and I should have seen or hear them fly. They'd done it again, the amazing vanishing Shelduck.
(Technical note - it was necessary to get the bank in the frame to ensure no-one would doubt the site, otherwise the photo would perhaps have been up to the standards expected here).

14 April 2014

The March morasse

After a winter that wasn't we had high hopes for a spring rush in March.  It didn't materialise. I suppose we may get another bite out of the rather diminutive cherry we've been served up with this year, come the autumn, but I wouldn't hold your breath. It is going to be hard work and enthusiasm appears to be on the wane. It's still early, but it feels too late

The Jubilee pond looks worse than it did when it was a big hole and really not very inviting for waders, while Alex there is no discernible shore line that would encourage anything diminutive to potter about its margins.  Angel looks great and has even encouraged a couple of Little Grebe to take up residence amongst the Coot and Moorhen.  The police scrape has now dried up and the flocks of Linnet have dispersed leaving it to the crows.

The final winter thrush bade farewell by the end of the month, as did the gulls, and most of the winter finches.  Winter, Ha!  The lack of winter has meant we are having our worse start to the year since for ever and the expected deluge of migrants has yet to happen as they have all probably flown straight through to their breeding grounds.  The hardwork will continue


  • Curlew calling for Bob
  • Tim finally gets a Woodcock and is pleased
  • Pair of Rooks
  • Mealy Redpolls in the park
  • Sand Martin return on the 15th
  • Wheatear back on the 20th
  • 26 singing Chiffchaff on the 29th
  • Mandarin first for 2 years on 30th
  • Singing Yellowhammer on the 31st
  • Late Water Rail on the 30th 
  • Stu's Firecrest keep up appearances


Wanstead Flats: 10 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 20 Linnet (Tim Harris, Kathy Hartnett)


Wanstead Flats: pr Peregrine Falcon, f Kestrel, 5 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 5+ Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 4 Redwing, 8 Shoveler, m Teal, Little Grebe, 100+ Starling (on police scrape) (Nick Croft).

Wanstead Park: 2 Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, 6 Gadwall, Shoveler, 20+ Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, Siskin, 2 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Nick Croft).


Wanstead Flats: 10 Linnet, 6 Lesser Redpoll, 15 Goldfinch, 2 Reed Bunting, 8 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 3 Sparrowhawk, 4 Stock Dove, 30 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Heron W (Nick Croft).


Wanstead Flats: 13 Linnet, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 4-5 Reed Bunting, 8 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 5 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 20 Tufted Duck, Shoveler, 2 Egyptian Goose, 3 Little Grebe, 3 Blackcap (1 singing Belgrave Rd & pr off Capel Rd), 4 Stock Dove (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Rose Stephens).


Wanstead Flats: 10 Skylark, 5 Meadow Pipit (1 singing), 10 Linnet, 2 Lesser Redpoll, Reed Bunting, Fieldfare, 3 Redwing, 4 Shoveler, pr Stock Dove (Nick Croft/Tim Harris).

Wanstead Park: Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 2+ Lesser Redpoll, Kingfisher, pr Common Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 10+ Redwing, 6 Stock Dove (Nick Croft/Tim Harris).


Wanstead Flats: Chiffchaff, 6 Fieldfare, 4 Redwing, 6 Skylark, 10 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipit, 2 Egyptian Goose, Little Grebe, pr Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing m Firecrest, singing m Blackcap, singing Nuthatch nr Gilberts Slade, 2 Goldcrest, Grey Wagtail, 22 Redwing many in subsong, Siskin over, 8 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 2 Egyptian Geese over, 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Green Woodpecker, 5 Stock Dove - 0720-1000 (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: pr Pochard, 20+ Tufted Duck, Shoveler, 3 trilling Little Grebe, Linnet, 7 Skylark 3 singing & 4 others, 2 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Sparrowhawk, 5 Redwing (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: m Firecrest, 30 Redwing, Nuthatch, 8 Shoveler (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: Curlew SSSI 0700 (h only), 2 Chiffchaffs, Reed Bunting, c6 Linnet and Pied Wagtail police scrape (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: Common Buzzard drifting N, c4 singing Chiffchaff, Skylark, Meadow Pipit; Brimstones (David Lindo, Geoff & Kim Gramlick)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Rook patch tick (NC), 25+ Redwing, 2 Fieldfare, 5-6 singing Chiffchaff, c20 Chaffinch N, 9 Linnet, 6 singing Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipit 2 singing & 8 others, 25 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, c100 Woodpigeon N, 6 Stock Dove (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: 4-5 singing Chiffchaff, 11 Linnet, 5-6 Reed Bunting, 10+ Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 25+ Redwing, 35 Tufted Duck, 6 Shoveler, pr Teal, 6 Little Grebe, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 16 Lesser Redpoll (& 2-3 possible Mealy), 3 Little Egret, 3 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 6 Shoveler, Gadwall, Sparrowhawk, 30+ Redwing (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Dan Hennessy)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing Grey Wagtail, 15+ Redwing, 6 Shoveler, 58 Tufted Duck, Kingfisher, Nuthatch, Stock Dove, 10 Ring-necked Parakeet, singing Goldcrest, Coal Tit (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 4-5 Chiffchaff singing, 6 singing Skylark, 14 Meadow Pipit (4 singing), Pied Wagtail, 4 Reed Bunting, Linnet, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Shoveler, 20 Tufted Duck, 4 Redwing, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Park: 16 Lesser Redpoll behind tea hut (Dan Hennessy); singing Blackcap in Bush Wood (Tim Harris)


Wanstead Flats: pr Teal, 30 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Linnet, 6 Skylark, 7 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Chiffchaff ('Foggy' Bob Vaughan/Nick 'misty' Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 Kingfisher, 2 Pochard, Great Crested Grebe (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: 3 singing Chiffchaff, 3-4 singing Meadow Pipit, 5 singing Skylark, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 5 Reed Bunting, 5 Little Grebe incl the first on Angel pond, 3 Shoveler, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Park: 4 singing Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, Lesser Redpoll, Little Egret, 3 Kingfisher, Water Rail, Redwing, Grey Wagtail (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 1-2 singing m Blackcap, 3 singing Nuthatch (2 Epping Forest side & 1 Leyton Flats), pr Grey Wagtail, 5 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kingfisher, 8 Shoveler, 10+ Redwing, 2 singing Chiffchaff, Lesser Redpoll over, 11 Ring-necked Parakeet (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Sand Martin W over Alexandra Lake first thing (Tony Brown), 6-7 singing Skylark, 11-12 Meadow Pipit (3-4 singing), 3 Pied Wagtail, 3 singing Chiffchaff, Linnet, Siskin, 4 Reed Bunting, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, 48 Redwing N, Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 4 singing Meadow Pipit, possibly 7 singing Skylark, Fieldfare, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Linnet (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 2 Little Egret and Kingfisher along Roding; 15 Jay together in very noisy group moving round park (Barbara Miller); Woodcock (Tim Harris)


Wanstead Flats: 3 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 4 singing Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, Linnet, 3 Pochard, 9 Shoveler, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 8+ Skylark, Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 8 singing Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, 4 Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Redpoll sp, 10 Redwing (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 20+ Meadow Pipit (17 migrant birds in SSSI), 4 Chiffchaff (3 singing & presumed f calling Long Wd), Kestrel, 4 Mistle Thrush & nothing approaching a Wheatear - evg (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 2 Siskin over, 12 Meadow Pipit over, 3 Grey Wagtail by Eagle Pond, 13 Shoveler, singing Nuthatch on Leyton Flats & in court, 2 Goldcrest, 4 singing Chiffchaff, 4 Redwing (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 2m Northern Wheatear (Tim Harris/Jono Lethbridge/Bob Vaughan/Barry Bishop); still at 18:00 (Dan Hennessy/Nick Croft), 6 Meadow Pipit, 20+ Tufted Duck, 2 Shoveler, Little Grebe flying across brooms in twilight; bat sp (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: pr Northern Wheatear still on police scrape (Josh Selfe)

Wanstead Park: 2 Kingfisher R Roding, 2 Redwing (James Palmer)


Wanstead Flats: 2m Northern Wheatear on police scrape then W, 2 Redwing, 6 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipit, 8 Chiffchaff, pr Blackcap, Linnet, Reed Bunting, 20+ Tufted Duck, 17 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 4 Kingfisher, Little Egret, 12 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, 30+ Tufted Duck, 3 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, 6 Teal, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 5-6 Lesser Redpoll, probable Mealy Redpoll, 2 Redwing, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Buzzard, f Wheatear, 6 singing Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Bunting, 10 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 7 Shoveler, m Pochard, 20+ Tufted Duck (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: 5 singing Chiffchaff, pr Blackcap, 3 Linnet, 4 Reed Bunting, 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Little Grebe (incl 2 now on Angel - a bad move), Mistle Thrush collecting nesting material (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan).

Wanstead Park: 8 Lesser Redpoll, 6 singing Blackcap, 8 singing Chiffchaff, Little Egret, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft/Mike Messenger).


Wanstead Flats: 9 Shoveler, 5 Little Grebe, 6 Chiffchaff (5 singing), singing Blackcap, Kestrel, 5 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft/Dan Hennessy).

Wanstead Park: Kingfisher, pr Teal (Bob Vaughan).


Wanstead Flats: 2 Reed Bunting, 5 singing Chiffchaff, 7 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 2 Shoveler, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 2 Grey Heron (Wanstead Birders).

Wanstead Park: 2 Great Crested Grebe (Heronry) (Dan Hennessy).

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 3 Nuthatch, 6 singing Chiffchaff, 4 singing Blackcap, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 18 Shoveler, pr Gadwall, 2 Meadow Pipit, 5+ Redwing over, 5-6 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, 2 Coal Tit, Goldcrest, c6 Stock Dove, Little Egret SE (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Park: Coal Tit, pr Kestrel, pr Nuthatch in Bush Wood (Tim Harris); Little Egret, pr Egyptian Goose (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: 21 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 3 Linnet, singing Stock Dove, 4-5 singing Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff (4 singing) (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 2 Reed Bunting, Linnet, 2 Redpoll sp, 5 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 26 singing Chiffchaff, 3 singing Blackcap, Little Egret (Dan Hennessy)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Buzzard SE, 3-4 Sparrowhawk, 10 Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, 2 Reed Bunting, 6 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 6 Stock Dove, 10 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: drake Mandarin Duck (first for 2 yrs), 2 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Black-backed Gull, Kingfisher, 2 Common Buzzard E, Water Rail, 9 singing Blackcap, 10+ singing Chiffchaff (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: singing Yellowhammer then E, 3 Reed Bunting, f Wheatear, 4 Fieldfare, 17 Tufted Duck, 14 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, m Gadwall, 6 Little Grebe, Kestrel (Wanstead birders)