1 January 2019

The top 10 birds of Wanstead 2009–2018: No. 3

No.3 Rustic Bunting     17th–21st October

Only the 3rd record for the London recording area

First in 1882, second at Beddington on the 9th February 1993

A result of cause and effect, luck and a couple of cans of K cider!

There are days when you think its going to be good, and if it is then you say you knew it was going to be good. Today it felt like it was going to be good

Grey and drizzly, love it!

Rob S  had disappeared when the Short-eared Owl appeared from the east and began circling high over the brooms.  He wasn't answering his phone either.  Luckily the owl lingered, avoiding the interest of the local corvids, and when Rob finally appeared I signaled wildly at him to look up.  He finally gathered I hadn't succumbed to madness and got his first SEO on patch.  He was happy.  I introduced him to Gregg's too, and he was happy at that too!

He tells me he still needs Wigeon–no worries there are some in the park.  He heads off for the shameless tick..  I choose the Alex for a bit more viz mig.  Things are still moving and so I am just happy standing there. A Yellow-browed calls! or was it the guys squeaky bike that passes me. Over an hour later the warbler goes a bit mental for few seconds.  Kerching!  Takes me another hour or so before I get a quick glimpse of it in the drowned willows.  Job done.

Its getting a bit late now and I am getting a bit knackered, and thinking that it would be it for today I am ready for home. Back by Coronation Copse there's a few wagtails feeding on the footy pitches. some looking good for White. A few snaps will confirm this later, or would have done if a doggy hadn't flushed then before I was set. On their way off the pitch one takes a dip at a bird I hadn't noticed on the grass.  Mipit natch!  It lands a bit further off and pops its head up to have a gander, showing off a rather pronounced white super.  

I check the back of the camera. Ah!

I need to see the bird again or at least go home and check my pics on the PC. Its getting late now and I am thinking "f*cked up again!".  I check the camera against the Collins app, there's a creeping feeling going up my neck, "double feck!". So I plump for the twittersphere to have its say...

Sean K: "Thought I'd have to go to Finland for one of those!" 

James H: "First seeing Nick’s Rustic Bunting just after dawn before work before it became such a show-off"

"Many people will have woken up early full of nervous anticipation about whether the Wanstead Rustic Bunting will have stayed for the weekend; that nervous energy exemplified by a guy who dropped to his knees when he finally saw it (I’m not scoffing, I remember how I felt on Thursday when I saw the bird)."

Tim H: "Beautiful bird with the sun on it"

Tony B: "This was a complete surprise and not on my radar! After initially dipping the bird on day one (ran out of light) it was with some relief to see it the following day and then well over the weekend."


Rob S: "Just for the rarity factor, and the unlikeliness of this species turning up on the Patch"

Gavin Haig: "I can imagine the astonished delight provoked by the discovery of this little beaut."

Jon Dunn, RBA 24th October: "Some 15 Little Buntings nationwide included two birds on St Mary’s (Scilly) on 20th at least, but these were not the main bunting event this week by any means. That accolade has to go to the Rustic Bunting found in London at Wanstead Flats on 17th-21st – a superb London record..."

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