10 April 2016

Redstart to the month

Male Redstart have been seen every day since last Sunday (3rd April), on Friday I suspected their might be 2 birds, Saturday there were probably more than the 9 found (including 1 in Tim H's garden).  Today unsurprisingly they were thin on the ground, I didn't make it to the park as I was tempted by a Razorbill at Rainham soon to meet it's auk-maker, but I suspect they had all sallied forth in the night too.  On the plus side Mr Lethbridge found the first male Wheatear of the year, which was very good, which was also not friendly which was not so good. What has happened to them? Where have they gone? Are there any more coming?

Usually we get lots of Wheatear and few 1-2 day Redstart.  This year the reverse is happening, which makes me think that they migrate along more defined routes rather than a random broad front, which only needs a bit of a cross wind to move them away from their usual paths.  Redstart have been popping up all over London, whereas Wheatear haven't really. mind you I haven't noticed any big falls of the latter on RBA, so maybe they are just late.

9 April 2016

March migration side-step

So March? That could have been better!

82 species for the month, well down, I reckon, on what we should expect for the of year and the early spring–ha! it got colder and windier from totally the wrong direction.

Migrant March didn't even kick off till the last week of the month–22 days of hopes dashed, patch birding at its cruelest! March winds favoured the west of the British isles, as last year, and that's where the Wheatear, Sand Martin and other things migratory, ended up.  Our (only) Wheatear (a female) squeaked in just before the end of the month beaten by Swallows and more predictably Sand Martin. As I write it is still the only Wheatear we've had.

Bird of the month: Bob Crow's Hooded corvid–an illustrated record that brought congratulations from none other than Bob Watts, chairman of the London Rarities Committee–an excellent find, which also brought up the ton for James H on patch.

Having broken the glass ceiling March got a bit better.


  • Cat & Dog's wintering Stonechat held on till the beginning of the month, while other birds were seen on the 19th, 24th, 27-28th
  • The Firecrest stuck it out in the west end of Long Wood till the 13th then seemingly went AWOL, while Stu had more success with his birds at the Crown Court and Gilbert's Slade
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker heard on Lincoln Island (Ornamental Waters) on the 13th
  • Just the 3 Woodcock sightings, we would have expected more, but 2 on the 24th
  • Water Rail: a bird was seen carrying nesting material, or just as messy eater, on the Shoulder of Mutton on the 20th, but have subsequently not been seen
  • Mipits on the move: 2 days of 30 + birds moving north on the 22nd and 29th
  • The first (3) Sand Martin on the  24th, and Swallows 2 days later
  • While Stu beat us to Red Kite for the year, they became slightly regular after the 24th
  • A young Rook on the 24th and 2 adults the next day, which actually landed before being pestered off by the local crows
  • Of course Bob's Hooded Crow on the 23rd, which, unlike the Rooks, was largely ignored by the local crows round Alex.  A far cry from the treatment last year's bird received from them in the SSSI
  • The last Redwing, a flock of 100+, noted going west on the 26th
  • First winter Mediterranean Gull on Alex on the 27th
  • 2 Shelduck on the 30th and Jono spots an acceptable Yellowhammer (to him at least)
  • Finally a female Wheatear brings the pining to an end on the 30th    

Chiffchaff numbers began to rise towards the end of the month, mainly in the park, and even a few Blackcap were noted singing.  Siskin numbers were on the way down not helped by them spreading out from their usual haunts in the dell and the alders in the park.  A few Redpoll lingered till April, while the fair finally did for the poor numbers of Linnet in the area of Jub.

Skylark numbers did rise, slightly, and we now have 8 + birds, still way down on last year.  The signs have been replenished and screwed down to deter even the most determined, disgruntled dog walkers and Tim has ideas in the pipeline to help educate the morons.

Teal and Shoveler made the most of the low water levels, but with repairs done to the Heronry it is now being refreshed and bang goes our hopes of a wader fest.  The pair of Great Crested Grebe thought about a pad on Perch but then thought better of it and returned to SoM, and here are the only pairs of Little Grebe–though 2 birds were at opposite ends of the Perch at the end of the month.  A few can still be seen on the Roding, not ideal for them but a short hop to Heronry if they want.

The gulls have all but gone, bar the ugly creche of Herring Gull on Jubilee, and a few pairs of Lesser Black-backs waiting for the Coots to start providing their annual buffet. A number of Great black-backs have been seen going over most days and small flocks of Black-headed Gull get you interested before revealing themselves to be Black-headed Gull.

Come on April! While we are not expecting a repeat of the magic of last year, we've bigged you up as the second best month of the year, so it's up to you–don't let us down.

Wanstead Flats: 2 singing Skylark, 13 Shoveler, 4 Pochard, 2 Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose, 2 Little Grebe, 100+ frogs in Angel pond (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 24 Teal, 30 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 10+ Siskin, 20+ Goldfinch, 20+ Redwing, 2 Goldcrest (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: 19 Shoveler, 8 Egyptian Goose, 17 Shoveler, 6 Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 5 Redwing, singing Blackbird, 4-5 Skylark (3 singing), Meadow Pipit, Redpoll, 15 + Greenfinch, Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing Nuthatch in court grounds, Coal Tit, 2 Siskin, singing Grey Wagtail (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: Stonechat still Cat & Dog (JH), 4-5 Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 2 Redwing, 9 Shoveler, 8 Egyptian Goose, 5 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 2 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: Water Rail, 14 Teal, 6 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, Gadwall, 10+ Redwing, 2 Chiffchaff, singing Goldcrest, 14+ Siskin, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel (Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Flats: Chiffchaff, 3 singing Skylark (Tony Brown); 8 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 16 Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose, 2 Linnet, 2 Grey Wagtail (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 18 Teal (Heronry), Tufted Duck (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: 2 singing Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, pr of Stock Dove, 9 Shoveler, 13+ Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 4 Egyptian Goose, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 1 Water Rail, 1 Siskin, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Egyptian Geese (G.Gram); 2 Water Rail SE corner Shoulder of Mutton, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, 48 Shoveler, 26 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Goldcrest, 16 Redwing (Nick Croft); Nuthatch, 4+ Goldcrest in Bush Wood (James Heal) f Blackcap, Coal Tit (Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Nuthatch, 40+ Tufted Duck, 12+ Shoveler (James Heal)

Wanstead Park: Water Rail, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 13 Teal, 6 Shoveler (Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats/Snaresrbook: Firecrest in hollies by path to Gilberts Slade, singing Treecreeper, 3 Nuthatch, Siskin, Redwing calling, Green Woodpecker, 5 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 4 Egyptian Goose, 7 Shoveler, 3 Mistle Thrush (Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Park: 14 Teal, 4 Shoveler, 6 Tufted Duck, m Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, Siskin, pr Coal Tit, singing Goldcrest (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead (Nightingale Lane): M Blackcap in garden, 6 Goldfinch (G.Gram).

Leyton Flats: Red Kite mobbed by crows at around 13.15 (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 4 Reed Bunting, 5 Pochard, 5 Tufted Duck, 7 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 6 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark (James Heal/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: pair of Great Crested Grebe, pair of Little Grebe, Little Egret, 8 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 19 Teal, 3 Pochard, 3 Siskin, 2-3 Redwing, 5 singing Song Thrush, 3 Goldcrest, Kingfisher, Chiffchaff (James Heal/Bob Vaughan); 40+ Redwing in the City of London Cemetery (Rose Stephens)

Wanstead Flats: Firecrest (still Long Wood), Redpoll, 2 Siskin, 2 Linnet, Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark,, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 3 Kestrel, singing Stock Dove WeBS 5 Pochard, 24 Tufted Duck, 9 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 9 Egyptian Goose, 4 Little Grebe, 534 Common Gull, 60 + Black-headed Gull, 8 Herring Gull, 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling from Lincoln Island (Ornamentals), Common Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 4 Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Siskin, Redpoll, WeBS: 58 Shoveler, 16 Teal, Little Egret, 6 Little Grebe, pair of Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret (Wren Group/Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Firecrest, singing Treecreeper, 4 Redwing, 2 Shoveler, Sparrowhawk, 8 Stock Dove (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: singing Meadow Pipit (+ 3 others in brooms and 8 north), 4 Pied Wagtail, 3 Skylark (1 singing), m Redpoll, Siskin, 8 Chaffinch north, 15 + Goldfinch, 6 Fieldfare, 5 Redwing, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, 22 Tufted Duck, 9 Pochard, 15 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 2 Egyptian Goose, 4 Little Grebe, 2 Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Flats: Singing Meadow Pipit, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 50 + Shoveler, 16 Teal, 8 Gadwall, 10 + Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 10 + Siskin, 2 Redpoll, pr of Reed Bunting, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Grey Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit north, Water Rail (SoM), 10 + Redwing (Nick Croft/Mike Messenger)


Wanstead Flats: 2 singing Meadow Pipit (+ 4 others), 5 Pied Wagtail, 3 singing Skylark, Kestrel, 18 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 6 Tufted Duck, Pochard, 13 Egyptian Goose, 2 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Flats: Woodcock west over Esso Copse, singing Meadow Pipit (+4 others north), 3-4 singing Skylark, 4 Fieldfare, 3 Mistle Thrush, singing Goldcrest, 7 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 3 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 3 trilling Little Gebe (Nick Croft/John Weil/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: pair of Great Crested Grebe nest building Perch, 2 Little Grebe, 8 Gadwall, 66 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 24 Tufted Duck, 2 Pochard, 2 Egyptian Goose,  30+ Siskin, 20+ Greenfinch (including 16 in one bush), Goldcrest, 15 Fieldfare north, 40+ Redwing, 3 Grey Wagtail, Little Egret (Nick Croft/John Weil/James Heal)

Leyton Flats: 2 Firecrest, singing Treecreeper, 2 Nuthatch, Great crested Grebe, m Shoveler (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 1 f Stonechat, 9 Meadow Pipit, Chiffchaff, 2 Peregrine (Tony Brown) 5 Skylark, 10+ Meadow Pipit, Sparrowhawk, 7 Linnet, 5 Redwing (James Heal)

Wanstead Park: Kingfisher, 5+ Redwing, Sparrowhawk (James Heal)

Wanstead Flats: 16 Shoveler, 16 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 7 Egyptian Goose, 3 Little Grebe, 7 Linnet (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 Water Rail (one seemingly carrying nesting material!), Little Egret, 59 Shoveler, 6 Gadwall, 11 Teal, 20 Tufted Duck, 2 f Pochard, 2 Goldcrest, singing Coal Tit, Siskin, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Flats: Buzzard, pr of Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 13 Meadow Pipit through north (2 singing residents), 5+ Skylark, 12 Shoveler, Little Grebe (James Heal/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Park: singing Chiffchaff, Sparrowhawk, 17 Teal, 2 Shoveler, pr of Great Crested Grebe, pr Little Grebe, Stock Dove (James Heal)

Wanstead Flats: 30 + Meadow Pipit through north (2 singing birds on territory), 4-5 Skylark, Reed Bunting, Linnet, 2 Kestrel, 27 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 16 Shoveler, 8 Egyptian Goose, 8 Little Grebe, small flocks of Black-headed Gull moving through high SE (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Large raptor circling over Bush Wood (seen from flats) showing a fair amount of white on underside (most likely pale Buzzard), 3 Sparrowhawk, 6 singing Chiffchaff, Redpoll, Little Egret, 6 + Little Grebe, 2 pr of Great Crested Grebe (2nd on Basin), 2 Coal Tit, 47 Shoveler, 13 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 15 Tufted Duck, 2 Egyptian Goose, singing Mistle Thrush and Goldcrest, 8 Stock Dove (Nick Croft/James Heal/Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats: singing Firecrest (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: HOODED CROW on tree at Alex (Bob Vaughan/Twitter) shunned by the other crows it remained aloof and skittish moving around the trees and then flew south west after about 30 minutes, 10+ Meadow Pipit through north (2-3 singing birds), Grey Wagtail, 6 Pied Wagtail, 5+ Skylark, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 2 Redpoll, 5 Linnet, Siskin, 2 Redwing, 6 Pochard, 10+ Tufted Duck, 8+ Shoveler, 15+ Egyptian Goose, 3 Little Grebe (Bob Vaughan/James Heal/Nick Croft); some of the above plus Peregrine W, 4+ Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, 3+ Coal Tit (Ian Stewart). Congratulation from Rarities Committee on photographed Hooded Crow (Bob Watts, Chair).

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing male Firecrest, singing Treecreeper, 2 Nuthatch, Redwing, Fieldfare, 18 Meadow Pipit N, singing Reed Bunting on Leyton Flats in rush pasture, Grey Wagtail, 4+ Siskin, pr Shoveler, Lesser Redpoll over, Pied Wagtail, 5 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush, 107 Carrion Crow, 4 Jackdaw (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 3-5 Sand Martin, 2 Red Kite, Rook, 2 Woodcock, m Stonechat, 9 Fieldfare, Redwing, Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 2 Linnet, singing Chiffchaff, 27 Egyptian Goose, 23 Tufted Duck, 5 Pochard, 10 Shoveler, 10+ Meadow Pipit through north, 7+ Skylark, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Flats: 5 Buzzard, 3 Red Kite, 2 Rook, 3 Sand Martin, 2 singing Chiffchaff, 10 + Meadow Pipit, 7-8 Skylark, 2 Redpoll, Siskin, Coal Tit, displaying pr of Sparrowhawk, (+ 1-2 more). Gadwall, Pochard, 4 Little Grebe, 8 Redwing (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: unidentified large raptor north (all the others were heading the other way), Peregrine Falcon, 3 Sparrowhawk, Little Egret, calling Water Rail, 6 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 18 Teal, 18 Tufted Duck, 15 Shoveler, 10 + Redwing (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats: 2 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Nuthatch, Treecreeper, singing Reed Bunting (Stuart Fisher)

Wanstead Flats: 3 Swallow, Peregrine, 100+ Redwing west, 2 Redpoll, 12 + Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, 23 Egyptian Goose, 17 Tufted Duck, 7 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, 3 Little Grebe, 8 Shoveler (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Nuthatch, pr of Great Crested Grebe, pr of Little Grebe, m Pochard, 3 Shoveler (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: 1w Mediterranean Gull, m Stonechat (Tony Brown)

Wanstead Flats: m Stonechat still, 6-8 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Chiffchaff, 11 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 8 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, Kestrel, m Reed Bunting (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Buzzard west, Peregrine Falcon, m Sparrowhawk, Siskin, Redpoll, 8 singing Chiffchaff, m Blackcap, Coal Tit, 48 Shoveler, 15 Teal, 3 Gadwall, 27 Tufted Duck, 5 Grey Heron, pr Great Crested Grebe, 2 x pr Little Grebe, 2 Grey Wagtail (Nick Croft/bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: 30 + Meadow Pipit through north (1 singing bird), 6-8+ Skylark, Linnet, 30 Egyptian Goose, 30 + Tufted Duck, 4 Pochard, 2 Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, 3 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk, 3 singing Chiffchaff (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: Nuthatch, Coal Tit, singing Blackcap (Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Flats: Northern Wheatear (yay!), Yellowhammer, 2 Shelduck, 3 Swallow, Peregrine Falcon, 30 + Tufted Duck, Pochard, some Egyptian Goose, 3-4 Kestrel, 3 Sparrowhawk, 30 + Meadow Pipit through (2 singing residents), 6+ Skylark, m Reed Bunting, 3 singing Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Redwing (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Marco Johnson/Jono Lethbridge)

Wanstead Flats: Siskin, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 5 Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 10 + Meadow Pipit, 9 + Skylark, 3 Chiffchaff (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Marco Johnson)

Wanstead Park: Red Kite, Swallow, 7+ Chiffchaff singing, singing Blackcap, Siskin, Redpoll, 11 Shoveler, 10 + Tufted Duck, 2 Teal, pr Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, Coal tit (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Mike Messenger)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing Firecrest near Court, singing Blackcap, 3+ singing Chiffchaff, 2 Siskin, 2+ Nuthatch, 2 1st yr Common Gull, 20 Black-headed Gull, Little Egret NW, 2 Great crested Grebe, Common Buzzard N, 2 Shoveler, 6 Meadow Pipit, 2 Goldcrest, Coal Tit (Stuart Fisher)