Managed to get out early for once. Still after sunrise and not before the dogs had descended on the flats, but since I had work commitments the previous day it was good to be out. A quick circle round the Angel on the look out for misplaced sandpipers my heavy eyes picked up crow activity across the flats near Long Wood. A Short-eared owl was circling, seemingly with no intention of letting the crows detract it from its aim of finding a roost. Another one clawed back by
By the time Dan hoofed it over from Bush Wood the owl had gone down somewhere and my interest had been given over to a singing Sedge Warbler (the first Spring record and singing record). Even Jono got out of bed for that. While Dan scoured the brooms for the owl I walked Jono back to his house and went to look for Redstart in the SSSI. Bob caught up with me here while I was peering into an empty tree. As he walked off home the owl appeared again over motorcycle wood where it tried, unsuccessfully to go to roost again. The resident crows weren't having it. I shouted to Bob and his SOE duck is broken. We watched as it gave us a little fly past and went off east to try Long Wood again.
That's the third bird this year - a bird we thought we'd be lucky to see once every few years or so - and the closest yet. It probably was hunting here most of the night.
Back on my travels I picked up 2 Swift over Long Wood, only 3 needed for the ton up on the flats and the day felt right to do it. It didn't happen, but might have done if it hadn't been for the curse of my life - work!
A quick breeze through the park made quicker by the news of a Wood Warbler at Stoke Newington - a real arse of a place to get to quickly by public transport. So I decided to find my own. Maybe next time!
The female/1st winter Restart was still flycatching on the east side of Long Wood as I returned and while scanning the horizon I picked up a large raptor about to be mobbed by crows. Looked like a sprawk until I saw it dwarfed the chasing corvids. Didn't look right for a Buzzard, but I am not going to write the "G" word as they don't exist round here.It was way off over Bush Wood, so far in fact I couldn't see it with the naked eye, but was on its way my way, until the pesky crows deflected it north.