29 August 2015

Autumn migration 2015, week 4; August 24–29th

And then there were Redstarts...

OK so Ally Pally notched up a Wryneck, again, can't argue with that, but while they had the quality bird, we had quality and quantity and they mostly stuck around all week.

Some of the birds that aren't quite top drawer, or would be any other time: 2 Common Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Yellowhammer (thanks to Paul Hawky for delivering on that one), Siskin, a couple of Sand Martin and the last of the Swift (probably) and the Little Owl calling at 15:00 this afternoon (weird and yet still didn't get to find it, but on speaking to a dog walker–the shame of it–he said Esso Copse is a good bet early doors).

The following were taken by a young lad called Jonathan Lethbridge who used my camera while I was away sourcing coffee: not bad as a first attempt, maybe a little soft on the focusing


Early morning misty Whinchats

It looks like it will be a good autumn for Redstart, Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher and Pied, but Wheatears–without the 13 + on Tuesday–it would be our worst autumn for ever.

27 August 2015

Tree Pipit

The Tree Pipit: a little brown job? Absolutely not, this year's show-off individuals have been giving us great views and what's not to like....

25 August 2015

"WOW what a list for London"

Wanstead Flats: 5 Common Redstart, 6 Whinchat, 13 + Wheatear, Pied Flycatcher, 7 + Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, 2 Meadow Pipit, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 Pied Wagtail, 15 + Willow Warbler, 2 Garden Warbler, 10 + Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, 3 Swallow, House Martin, Linnet, 3-4 Sparrowhawk, 4 Kestrel, Gadwall, 5 Egyptian Goose (Wanstead Birders)

We've had better days, but not so many and with such glorious weather, but can't fault the anonymous remark on The London Bird Club wiki page. Today the rest of London caught up a bit, for, up until today, no where else had got a Redstart, none yet appear to have Wheatear (very odd), and as for the commoner migrants, such as Willow Warbler–not even a mention.

Poor old Richard, assuming Jono's mantle of "left before everything kicked-off", missed virtually everything with his early morning vigil. I arrived just as he was leaving, and as five Wheatear apparently had the same idea.  Together though we cobbled together six Whinchat and another three white arses before he had to take his leave. John W was slightly more lucky with his timing.  We stood for some time trying to work out how many Spotted Flycatcher were buzzing about the high oaks at the east end of Long Wood, seven was the best guess we could agree on, plus what to me looked like a Nightingale zipping through the canopy–a bird I am pretty sure has been thwarting me for over a week now with it's brief glimpses. We moved positions to get closer to check for Pied Fly, but the activity in the crowns stopped abruptly as it had started.

Moving round the outside of the enclosure birds were rocketing everywhere.  A Pied Fly did pop up briefly on a branch in front of us, but was gone for the rest of the morning. We did not know this so followed its route into the enclosure. John picked up a Redstart.  Better, but still a bugger to see, like all the others before it, a flash and gone. Dan turned up; the SSSI was heaving with phylloscs, he reported., but then suddenly the enclosure was filled with Redstarts, or precisely one elder on the south side was. Four birds in one bush, and happily for those who turned up later, a showy group.

I could have quite happily stayed here all day, but there is more to the patch than just Long Wood, and knowing full well I would see bugger all elsewhere I walked off to the Alex, after doing one last circuit of Long Wood (Redstart #5 at the west end flycatching).

As predicted the Alex was quiet, one Garden Warbler, a couple of Willow Warbler and a Lesser Whitethroat all I had to show for it–though I did get a further eight Wheatear on the way, so can't really complain.

Back in the enclosure a couple of Redstart were still in evidence and I managed a Tree Pipit on the way home. With the weather set to be a bit shabby tomorrow, could be that Thursday is another good day, whatever I'll be there...

23 August 2015

Autumn Migration, Week 3: August 16-23rd

As always, after a quiet Sunday, Monday things happen; the first Common Redstart–a rather spanking looking male, buy you'll have to take my word for that as yet no one has pinned any of the buggers down for a picture–and the first returning Tree Pipit.  By Tuesday there were three Tree  Pipits of a slightly more photogenic nature than the now two Redstart.

Yellow Wagtail numbers were on the way up, while Willow Warbler became less conspicuous.  The Reed Warbler duo were back in the elders on the north side of the enclosure and Garden Warbler were intermittent.  The two Whinchat became one with the young bird disappearing leaving the adult to stay put the week in the pub scrub. Three Wheatear is a rather small return so far, but Spotted Flycatcher numbers are fairly good so far–up to five birds by the end of the week.

Other notable birds were a Bullfinch over on Friday, Stu had three Siskin on Leyton Flats, and still some Swift hanging on by the end of the week.

Unsettled weather for next could be good, could be wet...

could be one more of these...

20 August 2015

Kick off

Aah one of those days! Started slowly and really kicked off when poor old Jono had left for work.  He did get the Tree Pipit, three of them schreeping around long wood, and some bloody excellent views too as one amiable bird let me hammer of a hundred shots or so as it clung to a birch. However, the day really started as I returned back to the Enclosure after escorting Mr L off the premises.

No sooner as I stepped through the middle break in the hedge line, than a female Common Redstart flew from Long Wood and into an oak, from there a quick flit to the brambles here she started feeding, that is until a dog walker came and spooked her, never to be seen again today.

Clouds of Starling wheeled away between the grass the elders and the brambles, down the ride a Garden Warbler vied for attention with two Reed Warbler, probably the lingering pair from last week.

Down at the west end of Long Wood a Spotted Flycatcher perched out on a branch, not the friendly type it hoofed it to the north side as I approached. I followed it round and back again, giving it a bit more of a wider berth. A Tree Pipit joined it, then a Whitethroat, then a smart male Redstart, ding dong!

After they had disappeared a second spotty joined the first on the north side, later to made into three birds by Dan. What with two Wheatear, the long staying Whinchat, and five flyover Yellow Wagtail a pretty good day.  Could have been better for now is the time of mysterious birds that evade identification through a quick glimpse as they move into the canopy or never quite come into sight: today a possible Nightingale in the west part of Long Wood as it moved from bush to tree.

Got to feel positive about a Wryneck in the next few days/weeks!!

The two young ladies who emerged from Long Wood (don't they know it's Wednesday?) and asked to have their photo taken and for it to be tweeted out.  So a bit of good PR, makes a change from slagging everybody off!