Pic: Gaucho Bob
Nice duck for all that.
So I won't be scooping maximum finders and bonus points in the Patchwork Challenge. Here I am getting stuffed. What was the Inner London League has now morphed into the Inland South Mini-league, pitting me against the likes of Ham Wall, Somerset (the small matter of Hudsonian Godwit) and some other noteworthy patches–none of course within four miles of the centre of of our capital. My nearest geographical rival, Graham White (aka The Grumpy Naturalist, aka Billy bloodworm) at Rye is also well ahead of me and causing me to think that perhaps Rye isn't as dull as I think. To be beaten by someone of his caliber is no disaster, but considering that with his ecological work overseas and in this country probably means he birds his patch considerably less than me–perhaps I should be more embarrassed.
It's that time of year again. The time of year when I put off doing the hours needed to get the Bird Report out. This year I have unilaterally decided to go for a screen show format, rather than one that looks like it could be printed out, but never will be, but in the spirit of true democracy I open up the decision of what goes on the cover to the wider blog space audience.
It looked like the decision had already been made for us from way back in the early weeks of January and the pretty black and white duck, which proved popular to bird starved London ornos. Wheatear (been done), Wryneck (done), Golden Plover, Skylark, Lapland Bunting all covered (and in the case of the last bird not recorded–yet!). So what other contenders were there: my Short-eared Owl didn't even get a nod from my colleagues in the early fashion parade (jealousy), and even Jono's sublime Redstart shots got only the one vote! So it looks like a one horse race, but that's because I had forgotten Allen, or at least considering most of the images I got–was trying to forget our short stay Red-legged Partridge. Jono of course did the job on the game bird. As for the Slav, it's down to whose slav is it anyway Mr Brown's or him again!
If any of our many visitors this year would like to add a piece on their experience of, what without question, is London's best site for passerine migrants (Redstarts, Whinchat, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher), they would be very welcome.
So to the contenders:
The quality of the above may have been compromised somewhat by me copying the images off the blog
A selection of JL's
"Allen" – Jono Lethbridge
Back cover shot (one of mine)
Another of mine, probably in need of capturing the sympathy vote
JL's Redstart. I know some are the wrong shape!
I did this
And just look what you're missing out on
Finally, as we always bang on about how good our patch is, when it's good, I thought I'd give you my take on the other great sites that London has to offer, especially as in a few year's time some of them will be no more (unless we fight to stop developers trashing them!). Obviously you can't lump somewhere like Rainham in with Staines Reservoir for example, so I've tried (in my own feeble way) to categorise them.
Gravel workings or former industrial sites
Barking Bay (now done for)
London Wetland Centre
70 Acres Lake (Lea Valley)
Just a bit of fun and probably missed a lot of good places too!