10 May 2016

April: Not much to show for all the effort

Only one day with out a report is the testament to how much work Bob and I put in this month, and with 14 new species, how utterly lacking in reward it all was.  Tony B smacked in a good percentage of those that were found on his weekend forays, but hey that's the thing about working a patch–sometimes it's good, sometimes it's very good, but for the most part it's a thankless routine. We miss Dan and his pre-school blizzard through the western flats and the park–Bob and I tried to compensate by splitting up–him taking the park, OSW, while I took the flats.  We might cross somewhere along the way as we tried to cover all the possibilities. With 89 species in total, which is just one down on the brilliance of last year it didn't feel anything other than a very lacklustre month.

It felt colder than March, and the strong westerlies grew tiresome as we waited for a change in the weather.We ended up on 106, well down on 2011, '13, '15–hmm odd years!–and with not much to come: Common Tern, Pied Flycatcher, Tree Pipit and any of Wryneck, Jack Snipe, Yellow-legged Gull, Golden Plover, Woodlark–it's not looking good, but then we always say that.

No waders except a surprise and surprised Snipe flushed from the Shoulder of Mutton, no mass movement of Mipit, very little movement at all come to think of it.  No good warblers, no lost partridge, no flyover diver, almost no Whinchat. What we did have, in common with most of London, was a good Redstart month with a high of 9. Wheatear disappointed, but they always do unless we are wading in them.

There are 3 pairs of Great Crested Grebe in residence on nests (Shoulder of Mutton and the Basin), Little Grebe are confined to Alex and Shoulder of Mutton with around 6 pairs (one bird on Perch)–at the time of writing the SoM GCGs have one chick.  Our wintering ducks dwindled and were gone by early May (Teal, Shoveler), while a pair of Gadwall held on in the Ornamentals.  Up to 8 Pochard and twice that of Tufted Duck are playing their usual game of will they wont they breed.  Shelduck became more frequent and we've given up counting the Egyptian Goose as there numbers are increasing, especially on Jubilee.

The wintering gulls too have moved off leaving just the resident Lesser blacks and a motley collection of young Herring Gull who move around following the bread. The last Fieldfare were spotted in the first week of the month, the Redwing having already departed.  Another poor spring for Ouzels with a female on the flats and more surprisingly a rather fine male on the path between SoM and Heronry.

After a slow start with just Chiffchaff making the running, Blackcap numbers began to grow and on the the 13th were joined by both Whitethroat, with a few Willow Warbler sprinkled around the place,  The Willow-Chiff is back in the SSSI this year, which by my reckoning is it's 3rd year at least (how many miles has this little bird traveled in that time?), the Garden Warbler was back in Motorcycle Wood by the end of the month, Stu having beaten us once again with this wonderful singer. He's was still getting singing Firecrest round by Snaresbrook Court, while a singing bird was found in the Brickpit copse, which may or may not have been the overwintering bird from Long Wood.  The winter's Goldcrests departed leaving our small number of residents. Both Reed and Sedge Warbler sang from the Alex, the latter lingering for a number of days at the end of the month and even into early May.

Two or more Linnet are holding on and fingers crossed they might decide to take the plunge and breed, there are, however Greenfinch everywhere.  Goldfinch numbers too are still good, yet we still don't know whether they breed on site–one bird was seen carrying nesting material.  Reed Bunting too–there are 2 males and one female–are looking like they may nest again.

All the hirundines were present and correct by the 3rd with a House Martin passing through on a pretty good raptor watch day (Osprey, 6 Common Buzzard, 2 Red Kite, Peregrine Falcon, 4 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk) from a reclined position in the SSSI.  Swift arrived by the 21st.

No mass movement of Mipit and only 3 (outside chance of 4) singing males, while a trickle of Yellow Wagtail started on the 9th, as for Skylark 5 singing birds is our best estimate, but with only 8 birds counted that's not good.

Then there were the "must try harder" birds in the form of a probable female Garganey flying out of the ornamentals, and an interesting grey warbler down by the Roding, which I initially estimated to be the size of a whitethroat, showing a nice white super, and very white underparts. It fed continuously as it flitted quickly through the canopy before flying up the river.

Wanstead Flats: Large raptor to north being bothered by crows, possibly a second bird going south distantly over western flats, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 2 Redpoll, 6 singing Chiffchaff, Blackcap singing briefly, 6 Meadow Pipit through north, 3 Pied Wagtail, 8+ Skylark, 20 + Tufted Duck, 8 Shoveler, m Pochard, 5 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Fieldfare, 2 Swallow, 6+ Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, 6+ Meadow Pipit, 6+ Skylark, 2 Stock Dove, 3 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 5 Little Grebe, Linnet, Siskin, m Reed Bunting (Tony Brown/Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Wanstead Womble)

Wanstead Park: 1-2 Buzzard, 3 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Swallow, 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Coal Tit, singing Goldcrest, 10 Shoveler, 10+ Tufted Duck, pr Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, Linnet, Siskin, 6 singing Blackcap, 10+ Chiffchaff (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats: singing Firecrest (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: Osprey c15:00, 6 Common Buzzard, 2 Red Kite, Peregrine Falcon, 4 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk, Common Redstart, Wheatear, House Martin, 3 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 6 singing Chiffchaff, singing Blackcap, 3 Linnet, Siskin, 10+ Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark, 5 Pochard, 10 + Tufted Duck, Teal, 5 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Flats: 3 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 10+ Chiffchaff, 2 singing Blackcap, Willow Warbler, 6 Meadow Pipit, 8+ Skylark, 20+ Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Kestrel, m Sparrowhawk, 2-3 Linnet (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: male Common Redstart (Long Wood area), Northern Wheatear still south of Alex in the Ditch of Despair, 6 Swallow, 5 Linnet, 6 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, Peregrine Falcon, 3 Kestrel, 20 + Tufted Duck, 10 + Chiffchaff (Tim Harris/Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: m Common Redstart still near Long Wood, singing Willow Warbler, 10+ Chiffchaff, 3 singing Blackcap, 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 20+ Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 12 Shoveler, 5 Little Grebe, 2 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 14 Shoveler, 2 singing Blackcap (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: m Common Redstart showing well on south side of Long Wood (Deiniol Owen); 3 singing Chiffchaff, singing Willow Warbler, Blackcap, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 6 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 26 Chiffchaff (mostly singers), 20 Blackcap, 3 Willow Warbler, singing Goldcrest (+ 2 other birds), 20+ Jay, 2 Grey Wagtail, 15+ Stock Dove, pr of Little Grebe, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron, 32 Shoveler, 13 Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, 2 singing Mistle Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Siskin (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: male Common Redstart still (relocated to cleared area in birches SSSI), singing Firecrest, singing Willow Warbler, 10 + Chiffchaff, 9 Blackcap, Swallow, 3 unidentified hirundine west, 6 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 2 Shoveler, Little Grebe, Redpoll, 5 + Linnet, 2 Kestrel (Wansted Birders); Common Redstart still approx 3.45-4.00 but now in two small hawthorn near brooms path. (G. Gram).

Snaresbrook/Leyton Flats: Swallow NW, 9 Linnet N, f Reed Bunting, 2 Willow Warbler (one on territory in birches), 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Sparrowhawk (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: Redstart still in SSSI, Sand Martin (Tony Brown), Swallow (James Heal) Lesser Redpoll (Stuart Fisher) 4 other Common Redstart (4m 1f all told), Yellow Wagtail, 3 Swallow, 10 + Chiffchaff, 5 + Blackcap, singing Willow Warbler, 5 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Red Kite, Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, 2 Shoveler, 5 Little Grebe, Goldcrest, Greet Black-backed Gull (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 3 m Common Redstart, 10+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, 3 Little Egret, 2 Sparrowhawk, 9 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 2 Pochard, 4 Little Grebe, pr of Great Crested Grebe, Nuthatch (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: 2 male Common Redstart, m Wheatear, Rook, 2 House Martin, 3 Swallow, 4 Sand Martin, Red Kite, Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 5 + Linnet (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Flats: Ring Ouzel (Twitter), 2 m Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 10+ Chiffchaff, 10+ Blackcap, singing Willow Warbler, 4 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 6 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 5+ Linnet (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft/Marco Johnson)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing Firecrest, Treecreeper, Nuthatch (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 4 Common Redstart (3m/1f), 7 Northern Wheatear (5m/2f), Yellow Wagtail, Willow Warbler singing, House Martin, Red Kite, 6 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark, 10 + Chiffchaff, 10 + Blackcap, 2 Pochard, 10 + Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe, 3 Kestrel, 2 Redpoll (Nick Croft/Jon Lethbridge/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Park: singing Willow Warbler (Tim Harris)

Wanstead Flats: f Common Redstart, Shelduck, 1-2 Lesser Whitethroat, singing Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, House Martin, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 4 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, 2 Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Linnet, 5 Redpoll (Nick Croft/John Whele)

Wanstead Park: singing Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 7 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 2 Little Grebe, pr of Great Crested Grebe, singing Coal Tit (Nick Croft/John Whele)

Leyon Flats: Sparrowhawk, Willow Warbler, Blackcap (f) and several Chiffchaffs & Greenfinches (Simon Worsfold)

Wanstead Flats: 3 singing Lesser Whitethroat, singing Willow Warbler (of the chuff-willow variety), 10+ Chiffchaff, 10+ singing Blackcap, House Martin, Swallow, 8 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, 10+ Meadow Pipit (9 north), 7 Skylark, 3-5 Linnet, 4 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson)


Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, Siskin, 3 Linnet, 4 Swallow, 4 House Martin, 3 Meadow Pipit north, 5 Skylark (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Rook, singing Willow Warbler, 3 Sand Martin, 13 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, Little Egret, 6 Shoveler, 10 + Tufted Duck, pr Great crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: Sedge Warbler, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Shelduck, 8 Shoveler, Pochard, pr of Teal, 3 Swallow, 2 House Martin, Common Buzzard, 10+ Meadow Pipit north, 5 Skylark, 3 Linnet (Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: 9 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, singing Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, f Common Whitethroat, Kingfisher, Little Egret, pr Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/James Heal)


Wanstead Flats: m Redstart, m Wheatear, 6 Swallow, 11 Sand Martin, 3 singing Chiffchaff, 3 Common Whitethroat, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Shelduck, 4 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 2-3 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, 5 Linnet, 3 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: House Martin, 8 Swallow, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 3 m Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Little Egret, 3 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Leyton Flats: 1 Willow Warbler (Luca Robinson)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Northern Wheatear, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Swallow, singing Willow Warbler, 5 Pochard (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Shelduck, Yellow Wagtail, 5 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler and mixed singer Willow Chaff, Common Buzzard, Wheatear, Green Hairstreak (Bob Vaughan/Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Little Egret, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Swallow, 8 Teal (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead (Nightingale Lane): Singing m Blackcap in garden early this morning, Tawny Owl also heard last two evenings probably coming from old Wanstead hospital grounds at Hermon Hill (G. Gram).

Wanstead Flats: 6 Swallow, Sand Martin, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 singing Common Whitethroat, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Pochard, 3 Shoveler, 10 + Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, 4 Skylark, 3 Linnet (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats: 3 Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: f Common Redstart (Peter Brinton); 2 Swift, 4 Swallow, 2-4 House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Shelduck, 5 Pochard, 4 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, singing Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, singing Linnet, 2 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 3 House Martin, 3 Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 singing Common Whitethroat, Little Egret, 4 Great Crested Grebe 2pr, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Great Black-backed Gull (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats: Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 5 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 singing Common Whitethroat, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 4 Swallow, singing Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Coal Tit, pair of Linnet, 2 Kestrel, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 4 singing Lesser Whitethroat, 5 singing Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 2 Little Egret, 2 Teal, Shoveler, pr Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Reed Bunting, White-cheeked Turaco going strong, 2 Grass Snake (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Flats: Reed Warbler, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, Wheatear, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, Swallow, House Martin, 3 Siskin, pr of Linnet, Gadwall, 3 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, 5 Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Hobby, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 3 Swift, 2 House Martin, 2 Teal, 3 Little Egret (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: f Common Redstart, Hobby, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 2 House Martin (Wren/NE London RSPB Group); Peregrine Falcon, 2 Shelduck, 4 Pochard, 3 Shoveler, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, several pairs of Linnet (hopefully they might breed for the first time in many years), 5 + Lesser Whitethroat, Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Little Egret, 3 Shoveler, 6 Stock Dove, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Common Whitethroat, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: female Common Redstart still sw corner of Alex, singing Sedge Warbler, singing Willow Warbler (willow-chiff bird), 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Common Whitethroat, Swallow, 2 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 2 Teal, Pochard, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, pr of Linnet (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Sedge Warbler still singng on Alex, 5 Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, Swift, 6 Linnet, pr of Reed Bunting with nesting material, 2 Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Pochard, 3 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: male Ring Ouzel between Heronry and Shoulder of Mutton before being flushed by non local beardy-birder, 3 singing Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 singing Common Whitethroat, 3 Little Egret, 2 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, Common Snipe (only the second record of the year) (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: singing Willow Warbler, 5 Common Whitethroat males, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, 2 Skylark, pr of Linnet, f Reed Bunting, 2 Kestrel, 4 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: singing Willow Warbler, 6 singing Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, pr of Coal Tit, Nutchatch, 2 Great Crested Grebe (a pair but now on separate lakes), 3 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 2 Kestrel, Mink on Roding (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Snaresbrook/Leyton Flats: f Pheasant flushed from Court grounds, singing Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, 8+ Blackcap, 2 Willow Warbler (plus one mixed singer), 5 Chiffchaff, pr Shelduck, pr Peregrine NW, Mistle Thrush (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 2 Shelduck, 3 Yellow Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, pr Linnet, f Reed Bunting, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, 4 Kestrel (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: singing Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 singing Common Whitethroat, Siskin, 6 Stock Dove, pr Great Crested Grebe (reunited) (Nick Croft/bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: f Whinchat (at last!), Garden Warbler (Motorcycle Wood), Sedge Warbler, 10 + Common Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 100 + Swift through, 5 Sand Martin, 2 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Common Buzzard, 4 Kestrel, 2 Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Pochard, 4 Little Grebe (Tony Brown/Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: Hobby, 2 Kestrel, Lesser Whitethroat, 10 + Common Whitethroat, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Little Egret, pr of Gadwall, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, Swift, Swallow (Nick Croft/bob Vaughan)

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