25 December 2018

The top ten birds of Wanstead 2009–2018: 10

So I asked my colleagues to ponder what were our best birds of the last 10 years based on our reports (see http://wansteadbirding.blogspot.com/p/bird-reports.html), now obviously there's only a few of us that have done the full sentence, however, I thought my worthy chums would put self-interest aside and show due diligence.  If surveys generally are anything to go by I should have known this was a none starter–they went with what they saw, or found, so giving a skew towards the more recent. That aside I think we still have a top ten worthy of any inland site, and especially in London.

Here's the short-list I gave them to choose from:

Dartford Warbler, Wryneck, Garganey, White-fronted Goose, Mediterranean Gull, Nightingale, Ring Ouzel, Yellow-browed Warbler, Lapland Bunting, Ortolan Bunting, Rustic Bunting, Waxwing, Stone Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Hawfinch, Woodlark, Smew, Kittiwake, Osprey, Blyths Reed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler, Firecrest, Red-legged Partridge, Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Greenshank, Caspian Gull, Goldeneye, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Slavonian Grebe, Hooded Crow, Great Grey Shrike, Red-backed Shrike, Water Pipit, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl.

However voted were cast in addition for: Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker, Little-ringed Plover, Goosander, Pied Flycatcher, Garden Warbler,  Jack Snipe, Hirundine, Song Thrush, Lapwing, Pheasant, Rook, Quail, Brambling and Barred Warbler* (thank you Marco).

And that's not including those that didn't make the short-list: Marsh Harrier, Merlin, Black Redstart, Whimbrel, Greenshank, Raven, Bewick Swan, Gannet, Grey Plover

Bob suggested his Black-necked Grebe and Honey Buzzard seen well before writing was invented, and missing the point of the whole exercise completely even though I'd talked about it to him on a couple of occasions (OK one of which was when he was slightly worse for wear at the Christmas drinks!).

In this exercise each vote carries just the one point and where the scores are matched I adjudicate to give a position.  Simple!

So here we go then.

No. 10 Lapland Bunting                 16–17th October 2014

As part of a national influx in October 2010, a single calling male flew over the Flats on three dates.
A female in the grassland to the south of Alexandra Lake from the 16–17th October 2014

As I was the sole observer of the 2010 bird(s), I assume the votes belong to the 2014 bird.

Sean K: "first one I’d seen for many years … the others were on Norfolk coast !"

Tony B: "I was at work when I received news of a bird in the grassland near Alexandra Lake, so after work I drove straight to the Flats (no bins or camera) and found the bird again in the long grass – who needed bins anyway, as I managed to approach the bird to within just a few feet! "

Richard R, who helped me pin down the bird to the area of the Ditch of Despair, also has it as one of his top 10 of 10 and then there's me.  I chose it in my top ten as it's a great London bird, especially as it stuck around for a couple of days in a particularly busy part of the patch. It was the first time I had heard the prrrp! call as it flew out of the birches on the shore of the Alex and pitched down in the grassland to the south.  Richard was the only one free to come and see it, and I remember he took an age to get there, in which time it had been flushed by a doggy and had flown all the way to the copses before, to my relief, returning to hide itself in the grass. When Richard did finally arrive, I knew the general area it had pitched down in and slowly we moved  in on it. It was happy letting us approach, and we thought we'd done quite well, but then Mr Lethbridge got hold of it the next day (http://www.wansteadbirder.com/2014/10/mega-twitch-mega-twitcher.html) from which I lift this:

"... to have [Lapland Bunting] pootling around in the long grass all day is simply amazing. Of course I was at work and having to vicariously enjoy a succession of low-listing London glitterati trekking over to the Flats to enjoy stunning views. By three in the afternoon I was more-or-less a broken man, and by about quarter past four I had cracked, made my excuses, and was en route home, typing furiously on my Blackberry. Although I had no bins, the school run car does conceal a pair of cheapies, and with this parked close to the tube it wasn't long until I was in action in the long grass.

Dan and Tony had fortuitously relocated it approximately ten seconds before I arrived, and with its last known spot pinned down, we all enjoyed great views more or less immediately. Well, except Dan who had brought his Fisher Price binoculars by mistake. Tony hadn't even managed that, but with laser-like vision gained from a week on Shetland was still enjoying cracking close-ups. The three of us drank it up... "

Makes you wonder why he didn't vote for it!

Maybe only a bunting (and we do rather well with these with 6 species now on the list), but a great bird none the less.

* One from my bin of not proven, in this case seen by myself and Marco towards the end of its stay.  

1 comment:

  1. That was a great bird. I should have voted for it ahead of the crappy Stone Curlew.