6 July 2011

Flat on my face again!

Words have a tendency to turn and sink their teeth in your arse.

After extolling the virtues of holidays in May I may have said that since none of Wanstead's finest and myself had been around in May, we might have missed anything good that was about. Chuckle! I wrote that in full and certain knowledge that May had been crap and nothing had been about. The error of my ways was brought home to me today by Captain Tim, out twitching the Common Sand on Alex, who said by way of an aside: "Oh, and did you know Paul [Raptor*] Davies, had a Marsh Harrier over the park in May?"

No I bloody didn't! Nor did Jono, or Stuart - both equally as gruntled as me at the news. But on the plus side a patch tick is what it's all about, and perhaps when they turn Walthamstow in to a huge water park we'll get more!

And yes there was a ever so flighty Common Sandpiper on Alex, and after Monday's hideous attempt at immortalising the Alex's first touch-down Lapwing we're back to real quality imagery. Ahem!

Another Tern over Heronry (wrong place, I need it for the flats now), a Kingfisher and 2 Little Egrets on the Roding, not a bad morning,and one that got better as I espied Wanstead's first Marbled White. Which would have made a great shot if I hadn't fallen in a ditch when trying to snap it!

* Paul "Raptor" Davies in honour of him finding not only the Marsh Harrier, last year he got the Black Kite

1 July 2011

The second half kicks off...

The year half gone, but probably the best bit still to come. Time to appraise my targets, set so rashly at the beginning of the year.

My year list; still about 20 below last year, but pootling along nicely. Life list; not as hoped over the 300 by my birthday, so a fail there. London list; tantalisingly short of target and with a few dodgy sorts that need to be expunged. And finally the most important one of all, the Wanstead list; on the up, but still much to be done and a work in progress.


Next June: A few Kites, Hobby and some Shelduck. A Common Tern, anti climax on the grebe front, and some fledged Reed Warblers.

June done.

One of these was not seen by the bowling green anywhere near Wanstead

July already looks better. Today I got to see the fledged Willow Warblers in the SSSI: could be four could be more. For a bird on the decline in the south this is good news, but it was touch and go. The heavy rains worried me over their survival, and the amount of food being carried by the adults looked pitiful, though what they lacked in beakfuls was more than made up by their industry. Strange to think I had only managed to convince myself there were two birds just a few weeks ago, and only found the nest site this week, and now they've fledged.

It's been a pretty dire year for our predatory birds. It looks like the Little Owl has gone, Kestrel numbers and sightings are way down, Sparrowhawks appear to be less numerous, and as for breeding Hobby - fingers crossed.

After hearing what could possibly pass for young sprawks, I got some evidence to suggest a nest when I managed to snap an adult male perching in a tree. It was only when I uploaded the pictures I noticed he had a twig in his beak, and as all keen followers of Springwatch will know, raptors will bring nesting materials even when there are young in the nest.

Just round the corner a Grey Heron flew low over my head and tried to crap on me. But missed! That would have been lucky, and judging by the volume expelled, painful.

While i wandered slowly towards the little tea shop of happiness two Bullfinch flew down the north side of Heronry, the first I've seen since the winter. Shame there were only the pair though.