12 April 2017


Currently we are enjoying the worst start of any year that I can recall, can we blame the destruction brought against the best birding sites by the CoLC?  Of course we can, but its probably only a small factor in the poor showing of birds.  The lack of feet on the ground is the overriding problem, having said that there have been very few birds in the 'raised earth' areas, but at least it takes much less time to realise that–we can now survey the best birding areas in a fraction of the time it used to!

Meanwhile, thanks to a missing person in the area, tracts of the park have been wacked in the ongoing search.  This is the only time that dogs might have had any use and presumably they used them, so presumably the person  is not missing there!

It looks like Stu had the best of the month, with a Caspian Gull on the 3rd and a Waxwing on the 19th, while not included any more on our year list, they are included in the Wanstead 2000 Bio Survey.

The bread eating monster lingered on Jubilee (Red Crested Pochard) until the 3rd at least and the smart male Wigeon on Shoulder of Mutton till the 5th, otherwise Gadwall numbers never came back and for the rest it was as you were from February.  A few Shelduck made it on to the list by the end of the month.

Tony scored the first London Wheatear, its been a few year's since we last won this accolade on the 11th and by the end of the month we had a bout 10 birds through, with 4 reported by Marco on the 18th.  Stonechats had a good passage with 9 birds reported by Tony on the 4th and a smart rubicola form on the 25th.

Chiffies were singing from the middle of the month, joined by Blackcap and the first Willow Warbler by the 29th, a Rook the same day helped to give some respectability to a rather disappointing March.

A few Red Kite, too few, 3 actually, by month's end were the raptor highlights.  April has a lot to make up for, let's hope the expectancy is rewarded!


Wanstead Flats: Red-crested Pochard
still, 8 Pochard, 31 Tufted Duck, 11 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 3 Teal, c230 Black-headed Gull, c750 Common Gull, 9 Herring Gull, 4 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 4 Reed Bunting, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Wigeon, 28 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 39 Shoveler, 8 Tufted Duck, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 2-3 Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, 3 Goldcrest, Nuthatch, singing Stock Dove (Nick Croft)


Leyton Flats: Woodcock outside back of Court at 13.30 (Stuart Fisher)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 2nd cy on Eagle Pond early afternoon, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Fieldfare (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 9 Stonechat
(something of a record for these parts), 10 Meadow Pipit (Tony Brown); 21 Meadow Pipit including the first songster of the year, 7 Skylark (3 singing), Reed Bunting, 23 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 5 Gadwall, f Teal, 9 Shoveler (no sign Red-crested Pochard), 13+ Herring Gull, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Firecrest (Reservoir Wood), 2 singing Goldcrest, Coal Tit, 9 Teal, m Wigeon, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe (James Heal)


Wanstead Flats: 3 Stonechat, 14 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, 2 Reed Bunting, c40 Herring Gull, 4 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 6 Shoveler, 14 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 32 Shoveler, m Wigeon, 2 Gadwall (Bob Vaughan); Peregrine Falcon over stables, Kingfisher, singing Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Meadow Pipit north, 9 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 4 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Firecrest heard near Leyton Flats car park early morning (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: Northern Wheatear (m) London year-1st (Tony Brown, Jonathan Lethbridge)


Wanstead Flats: 36 Meadow Pipit (a ground patch record for me), 6 Skylark, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 9 Gadwall, 4 Pochard, 16 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe (James Heal)

Wanstead Park: 1 Chiffchaff (Bob Vaughan); 5 Gadwall, 49 Shoveler, 13 Teal, 19 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret (Tim Harris and the WeBS count surveyors from the Wren group)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Firecrest, Goldcrest, 24 Redwing, singing m Reed Bunting, 4 Great Crested Grebe (1 pr Eagle & 1 pr Hollow Pond), 14 Shoveler, 15 Gadwall (Stuart Fisher)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Siskin S, m Blackcap briefly in subsong, 2 Coal Tit, 8 Song Thrush, singing m Reed Bunting on Leyton Flats, 5 Great Crested Grebe (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 4 singing Chiffchaff, Stonechat, 5 Linnet, Redpoll, 2 Reed Bunting, 10 Meadow Pipit (2 singing), 3 singing Skylark, 2 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Teal, 4 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 Red Kite, Buzzard, 10 Teal, 4 Gadwall, 10+ Meadow Pipit north, 5 singing Chiffchaff, Siskin, Little Egret, Coal Tit (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 2 m Wheatear, Fieldfare, 6 Song Thrush, 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 4 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, Little Grebe, 4 Linnet (Nick Croft/Rob Sheldon)


Wanstead Flats: 4 Wheatear (Marco Johnson); 3 singing Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark (James Heal)

Wanstead Park: singing Blackcap (Rob Sheldon)


Snaresbrook: Waxwing over at around 7.45, Treecreeper calling, 3 Siskin S, Redwing (Stuart Fisher)


Forest Gate:
several House Sparrow colonies between Sebart Road and Capel Road on south side of Wanstead Flats (Harry Harrison)


Wanstead Flats:
3 singing Chiffchaff, singing Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, pr of Stock Dove, 14 Shoveler, 3 Teal, 8 Gadwall, Pochard, 4 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 3 singing Blackcap, 4 singing Chiffchaff, 18 Shoveler, 17 Teal, 6 Gadwall, 12 Tufted Duck, pr Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe, 2 Stock Dove, Nuthatch, 4 Redwing (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: Male Stonechat - Rubicola
(Tony Brown)



Wanstead Flats:
5 singing Chiffchaff, 3 singing Skylark, 9 Meadow Pipit (4 singing), pr of Kestrel, 40+ Herring Gull, 13 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 5 Pochard, 10+ Tufted Duck, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 7 singing Chiffchaff, 2 singing Blackcap, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Mistle Thrush, 3 Stock Dove, Kestrel, 2 Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk one displaying and another later, 11 Tufted Duck, 38 Shoveler, 16 Teal, 5 Gadwall, 2 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
20+ Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 4 singing Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 8 Gadwall, 3 Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Linnet (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Rook,
4 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Meadow Pipit, Fieldfare (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: singing Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, 2 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 2 Little Grebe (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: f Wheatear


Wanstead Flats: 2 Shelduck
(Bob Vaughan), 4 Reed Bunting, Linnet, 3 Meadow Pipit, 27 Mute Swan, 2 Gadwall, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

10 April 2017

Muddy little ringos

Not often nowadays that I need to put anything on the blog, nothing exciting appears to be happening. Today things changed for the better with Bob nailing the first returning Lesser Whitethroat in the SSSI, though Tim thinks it might have been there yesterday, quickly followed by Sean K reporting a Common Whitethroat in the Old Sewage Works.  I chipped in with a stunning male Redstart in the remaining scrub east of Alex, which showed briefly then not at all.  Always the same with the first bird, always a bit of an arse.

A good day to clear up a few migrants then, which I duly did–first in the OSW, which took me into the parkHeronry has been drying out for months and the exposed mud has looked for waders, but this is the park of low expectations so I nearly missed the Little Ringed Plover,  surprised to find a second, and frankly gob-smacked to find a third.

Rare spring passage migrant, occasionally seen on the banks of Alexandra Lake in March or April. The most recent records were on April 1st 2013, on Police Scrape, of a female that stayed for almost a week, and of 2 birds over Long Wood on 12th May that year. 2 juvenile birds reported on the 29th June, 2015 flushed from the shore of Alex