31 March 2012


While Bradders and Jono have migrated oop North to search for Santas grotto and do a bit of birding on the way, we've been searching for our own mythical creatures it would appear. No sudden rush of migrants. A few more Chiffchaff and Blackcap, the oodle doodle bird is back - it's strange vocal flourish can be heard quite a distance from Long Wood, one female Wheatear and that's about it. Winter birds are still hanging on too. A handful of Fieldfare have taken a liking to Coronation Copse, but by the end of the week there were just 2, and possibly the last Redwing flew north from Long Wood early on in the week. Not that anywhere else is faring any better.

The Green Sandpiper showed distantly south of the gates of Mordor, until flushed by golfers and Steve refound the Mandarin in the fortifications.

Now I am in a quandary, to go off patch for some Summer stuff, or wait for it to pitch up here. After all the first confirmed Willow Warbler finally gave itself up by the Shoulder of Mutton this morning (Friday) could the deluge begin? Better birding weather could be just around the corner.

Even raptor watching has dried up since the high of last weekend, I could only pick out a distant Buzzard as I trod home on Monday. However some strange calls on Thursday, which suggested Goshawk when compared with tapes on Xeno Canto, only yielded a glimpse of a large hawk flapping and soaring slowly over Herony's southern woods.

On the plus side there is a pair of Great Crested Grebe now on Heronry, and they are displaying, on the down side side the mink was also seen on the margins of the lake attracting the braver ducks to take a look. Hopefully Jordan can get this little bugger before he can do any damage.

27 March 2012

Monday stuff

Another beautiful day only marred by the fact that its the start of the working week.  With the clocks changing I imagined having the flats to myself.  Wrong!  The dog walkers had either forgotten to put their clocks back or they are just really annoying.

Still no martins, no wheatear....  one buzzard, some showy sprawks and something really quite strange going on by the Shoulder of Mutton.


25 March 2012

An all too brief weekend

Saturday and I was due to pick up an old lady from Liverpool Street, so had to make the most of the morning. Rushed down to the flats to find them, or rather not find them, where they should be. A blanket of fog met me as I crossed Capel Road, happily coinciding with a Yellowhammer making its way north into the soup calling as it went. It wasn't too long before I could make out things as I made my way down the central path, but it did appear that things were not quite in the places I had left them.

A couple of Linnets and another one, little else so I rushed down to Alex. Maybe, like last year some waders had got stuck waiting to gain their bearings again. Zip bar a couple of Teal, yes got that one wrong they are still here, and a rather photogenic Heron. I am rather pleased with these.

Some Chiffies, now up to 6 singing birds, and a Blackcap. Tried the Jubilee just in case some martins were there. Nothing but a pair of Gadwall. Interestingly the water levels are receding quite rapidly, and with drought restrictions in place or coming soon, it doesn't look like they will be able to pump water in any time soon. So hope for waders, disaster for the birds reliant on the pond.

Then I had to go. Turns out the old lady was my mother. What a dutiful son I am.

Sunday and Mr Fisher scores with a Rook - patch mega - initially I read it as Rock Pipit. I need a rest. Early doors tomorrow and I reckon Hoopoe.

22 March 2012

Parrot porn

A wheatear-less day yesterday, but there'll be more.  Monday there were still 2 birds, down to 1 on Tuesday.  Not surprisingly the Stonechat had moved on overnight Sunday, I might have to wait till the autumn to catch up with one of these.

So I had to make do with some migrant action in the form of new Chiffchaff, "new" Blackcap, and Parrot co-joining in west copse (news just in that Bucks Mike might have seen a Little Owl disappearing into this copse today - Thursday - too late to organise a massive twitch).

The Parakeets were doing it again in west copse, the only acceptable form of co-joining permited in our woods thankyou.

2 Peregrine have been seen circling over the flats scaring the remaining gulls - most of the Black-headed gulls appear to have moved on, though there are still reasonably numbers of Common - one with a feather missing out of its wing, the other an apparent first winter bird.

I was convinced I had a Willow Warbler calling from the east end of Alex in rat wood.  I put some time into tracking the elusive little bugger. Sounded good, had pale legs, but the wise heads aren't convinced it being so early and all.

There were 2 Chiffies close by so comparisons could be made.  I think I'll get another one soon, so no tantrums.  As it happens some git on the London Wiki deleted my entries again yesterday, so I don't imagine a small warbler tick frenzy.

Jono has just called to say that a pair of Great crested Grebe are prospecting and nest building on the Basin, while the other two singletons await their dates on Perch and Heronry respectively. 

Steve got the Mandarin again in the fortifications, but otherwise Teal are hiding out in the Park only and Gadwall numbers are way down.

A mattress turned up on the shores of Alex, Mango were seen bobbing up and down on the river, and an overshoot deck-chair put in appearance north of west copse.  I had an anglers chair on the side of the model aircraft field so its shaping up to be an interesting Spring.