27 June 2015

Finding Nemo

What the fudging duck is this....

Couldn't find anything to match on the web, but plenty of serving suggestions!

17 June 2015

Gulls become the good guys

Two examples of how good even gulls can be sometimes. Scenario 1 had a Peregrine shepherded around the Alex and over my head...

... while on the Shoulder of Mutton Bob was observing a Lesser Black-back actually fishing, and in doing so helping to make a slight dent in the Signal Crayfish population. Plenty more where that came from sadly.

8 June 2015

Snakes and Ladies

A bit of an influx of Painted Lady over the weekend, with two on Saturday and three in the Old Sewage Works on Sunday, I am just surprised there were so few other butterfly about,  Meanwhile at the Little Tea Shop of Happiness, while having a less than fantastic raptor watch ("0"), I suddenly noticed this beauty.  It must have come through the very mouth of the sluice that I was sitting on!

"Oh look an eel", said some informed member of the public, and "Oh! A water snake!" another.  Happily all were very impressed by the little snake as it came ashore and swam along the edge of the lake.  My only concern that if it did make a break for the grass it would end up being a stick for one of the stupid dogs, or beaten with a stick by one of the dog's stupid owners.  Luckily it went into one off the large splits in the concrete curtain to wait it out for quieter times.

It was special, nearest I've been to one since my school days.

7 June 2015

May(be) could have been better

It was always going to be a slight anti-climax after a record-mullering April, but May was a tad rubbish. Since virtually everything came via April, we would have at least expected some of our favourites to have lingered on into May. Alas no! No Wheatear at all and only one female Whinchat to keep us happy until August.

... and so to the scraping of the proverbial barrel highlights:

  • James H contributes 2 Common Tern (the only ones so far!) over Alex on the 17th
  • The only Whinchat, a female in the Old Sewage Works (only my second ever here) on the 16th
  • Cuckoo slips  on to the list on the 27th
  • Jono and I play raptor top trumps: a six species special on the 17th*
  • Gary Hewitt wins bird of the month with his flyover Great White Egret on the 24th while out jogging
  • Stu gets a wayward Lapwing on the 14th
impressive yes?

Not only did all our favourite birds evaporate, all the interesting warblers stopped singing, which is good as it means they were getting down to business. The Garden Warbler was seen carrying nesting material and by the end of the month Common Whitethroat were fledging.  The Willow Warbler was still singing, but not as much by the end of the month, though we don't know whether that is good or bad in his case, but Reedy finally got his act together and the reeds at the Shoulder of Mutton to his liking and promptly pulled.

Swallows kept on coming through beyond the end of the month, our House Martin are a full compliment of between 8–10 birds, and a few Sand Martin popped in and out again.  Swift numbers rose, mostly on the grottier days, of which there were plenty.

Four Gadwall made pretend that they were interested in settling down, but it was a lie and they had all gone by month's end (though I suppose they could be on the ornamental waters if someone could be resolute enough to go and check!).

For only the second time in recent times a six raptor day was had: 3 Red Kite, 7-8 Common Buzzard, 2 Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk.  One of the better days of the month it also featured nearly 40 Swallow, 8 House Martin and a few Sand Martin moving north. In our way of top trumps I win as I saw all mine in the park.

In other news our twitter account was briefly followed by Kelly Clarkson (who?), who apparently is a winner of American Idle or some such twaddle and has big hits. She soon realised the error of her ways and un-followed before I could give her an update on Coot on Angel the next morning. Her loss!

That's enough, now go away till August.

Wanstead Flats: Hobby, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Swallow, House Martin, Swift, 5-6 Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, pr of Reed Bunting, singing Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 3 Egyptian Goose (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan).

Wanstead Park: 25+ singing Blackcap (OSW), 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Gadwall, fledged Long-tailed Tit (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Flats: 30 + Swift, 20 + Swallow, 3 House Martin, Sand Martin, Garden Warbler with nesting material, Willow Warbler still, 5-6 singing Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting, 12 Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Dan Hennessy/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 20 + Swift, 10+ Swallow, 3 House Martin, 2 Hobby, 3 Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 2 Little Egret, 2 Gadwall, 4 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, singing Goldcrest (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Red Kite (12:38), Hobby East, 280 Swift through SW (most in afternoon), c40 Swallow N, 2 Sand Martin, 14 House Martin, Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 4 Black-headed Gull over, also early am: Fox carrying dead cock Pheasant (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 20 + Swift, 5 Swallow, 2-3 Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, 3 singing Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: singing Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Nuthatch, Kingfisher, 4 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall, 10 + Swift (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Common Buzzard, 50+ Swift through, 13+ Swallow through, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler (Stuart Fisher) Hobby (Mike Messenger)

Wanstead Flats: 50+ Swallow west, 6 House Martin, 3-6 Sand Martin, 10+ Swift, Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, pr of Reed Bunting, 2 Egyptian Goose, Kestrel, 5 Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, 4 Skylark (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 2 Gadwall, Egyptian Goose, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Swallow through, House Martin, 10+ Swift, singing Goldcrest, Goldfinch/Linnet hybrid (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: territory count: 5 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 55 Wren, 15 Dunnock, 21 Robin, 26 Blackbird, 10 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 21 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 19 Common Whitethroat, 9 Chiffchaff, 24 Great Tit, 2 Chaffinch, 6 Greenfinch, 4 Goldfinch (T Harris)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Lapwing over from West then turned North 7:10 am (2nd site record for me), Common Whitethroat, 2 Swallow, Sparrowhawk, Little Egret N, Great Crested Grebe (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 2 singing Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, 2 Swallow, 7 House Martin, 10 + Swift, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Common Buzzard, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 5 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 3 Gadwall, 3 Little Egret, singing Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Linnet, Swallow, 30+ Swift (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, pr of Reed Bunting, Swift, 4 Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Skylark, Kestrel, m Pochard, Egyptian Goose, 5 Black-headed Gull (Nick Croft/Jonathan Lethbridge)

Wanstead Park: Lesser Whitethroat, 10 House Martin, 6 Swift, pr Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 3 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: f Whinchat (Old Sewage Works - only my 2nd record here), Hobby, Kestrel, 4 Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 5 Egyptian Goose, Kingfisher, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 40 + Swift, Swallow, several House Martin, plus Muntjac (my first record) being chased by a fox, Noctule, prob Duabenton's and Pipistrelle (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Tern west, 40+ Swift, 6+ Swallow, 10+ House Martin, Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, 2 Kestrel, m Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Reed Bunting, pr of Pochard (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 3 Red Kite, 7-8 Common Buzzard, 2 Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, 30+ Swallow north, Sand Martin, 8 House Martin through, 50+ Swift, Little Egret, 2 pair of Great Crested Grebe (one with 3 newly hatched young), 2 Little Grebe, 2 Gadwall, singing Goldcrest, Lesser Whitethroat (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Flats: Hobby, 2 singing Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Garden Warbler, Egyptian Goose, 3 Little Grebe, 6 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 3 Skylark, 2 Swallow (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, 20 + Swift, 8 House Martin, 2 Swallow, Kestrel, 3 singing Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 pr of Great Crested Grebe (one with 2 chicks), pr of Little Grebe, Kingfisher, singing Goldcrest, 30 + Swift, pr of Hobby, male Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, 40+ Swift, 2 Kestrel, pr of Little Grebe with 2 young (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: Great Crested Grebe with 3 young + 2nd pair, pr Little Grebe, Kingfisher, 30+ Swift, House Martin, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 5 House Martin, 10+ Swift, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 2 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 pairs of Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 8 Egyptian Goose, pair of Gadwall, f Common Whitethroat carrying food, Kestrel, 20+ Swift, House Martin (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: late news of Great White Egret flying west (Nick Croft per Gary Hewitt)

Wanstead Flats: Willow Warbler, singing Goldcrest, Swallow, House Martin, 20 + Swift, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Egyptian Goose, pr of Pochard, Reed Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Kestrel, House Martin, 30 + Swift, 6 Great Crested Grebe (2 young), Little Grebe, 2 m Gadwall, singing Goldcrest (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Cuckoo, Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 30 + Swift, 2 Kestrel, 3 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 6 Little Egret (at dawn, together on Roding at northernmost point of the park), Nuthatch (Malcolm Hibberd).

Wanstead Flats: Buzzard, Kestrel, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, Lesser Whitethroat, 40 + Swift, 4 House Martin (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: singing Reed Warbler, 2 x pr of Great Crested Grebe (one with 2 chicks), 3 Little Grebe, Little Egret, 20 + Swift (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, 3 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Swift (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Swallow, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Hobby, Kestrel, 2 Egyptian Goose, Pochard, 30+ Swift, 3 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Common Whitethroat with young (Nick Croft).

Wanstead Park: pr of Reed Warbler nest building, second bird singing, 6+ House Martin, 40+ Swift, 1-2 Little Egret, 2-3 Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, 2 m Kestrel (Nick Croft).