28 August 2016

August 2016: Week 4

Going up Common Sandpiper, going down everything else!

Just when we thought it was going to be very good it went bad, and when thought that was bad it got worse.  Friday flattered to deceive with 2 new birds for the year–a fly over Golden Plover, and finally our very own Pied Flycatcher (however hard we made the ID on that!). Everything looked primed for Saturday and the long bank holiday weekend but then it tanked.  Out of 7 Spotted Flycatcher there was 1 left, visiting birder, Bruce Carson reported 2 flycatchers at the viz mig one of which was the Pied.  So he did better than the rest of us, because we couldn't find it.

The week had started with promise with 2 sub adult male Redstarts giving us the run around, then a Whinchat mid-week, while Spotty numbers grew day by day.  I picked up the 2nd Tree Pipit of the week, following Tony Bs bird on Sunday last, part of my 3 tick day–happy to have a few more of those before the end of proceedings.

Meanwhile it is Common Sandpiper that are wader flavour of the year.  We'd already had a better than average year for these perky little birds, and this week we added at least another 4 to that growing list, while last year's wader wonder, Green Sandpiper, have still to put in an appearance.

A good Yellow Wagtail week with the high point of 7 on the deck, their numbers are still probably down on last year too (none today).

Thank pingu I am not working tomorrow as the weekend has been a bit of a downer apart from these two beauties there was nothing really worth getting out off bed for...

and for you gull lovers, shoot me down over this Yellow-legged Gull if you will

22 August 2016

August 2016: Week 3

Shifting slowly through the gears, a few stalls, but a bit of forward momentum going into week 4.  Spotted Flycatcher present all week, if not showing all week, fluctuating numbers of Willow Warbler–dependent on finding the roaming Long-tailed Tit flock in the SSSI, only 1 Garden Warbler, but the first Whinchat(s) and by the week the first record of a Tree Pipit for the year and only the second Wigeon,

The patch race is becoming interesting again with a right tussle for Bronze and for top prize.  Bob's closing the gap. Tony and Jono are nip and tuck for third place, with TBs strike rate around about 2–3 (visits against numbers of birds) while Jono is at 97, so probably doesn't need to appear on the patch again to reach 110*.

And maybe we'll get a few more of these in the coming week...

* A bit of license here for comical effect

15 August 2016

August 2016: Week 2

With an added bit of Week 3, for in truth August hasn't really set the pulse racing yet, but that might all change over the next few days.  The harbinger of good times–a Spotted Flycatcher–picked up in the willows in the SSSI.  I love 'em.

Much more approachable and dare I say it, with bags more character that it's black and white cousin–but some of them wouldn't go a miss either.

10 August 2016

Happiness is...

... the first returning Wheatear of the autumn

That may get Mr Lethbridge out, but maybe not.  Up to 77 species for the month, already past a feeble February and joyless June and level with jestless July. I reckon 100 species for the month is do-able and, with my freedom from debenture in September, on the cards then too.

Meanwhile, if you can find a Long-tailed Tit flock, Chiffchaff numbers are on the up and with them Willow Warbler with some looking sparkling in their yellowness.  Soon they'll be joined by flycatchers–can't wait!

8 August 2016

July: who cares its now August!

The first week of August done and already we're passed February and June's meager offerings and the days are beginning to get interesting again.  Slowly but surely, interesting.  But before that a small matter of putting July to bed.

A month of mainly small things, but no less for that–so a few more pictures of plants and bugs, but that should be the end of it for this year...  ... unless!

So what of the birds?

The first Treecreeper for nearly two years and a nice patch tick for Mr Heal. and it might be two birds.  Presumably young birds from north of Hollow Ponds, so let's not get too excited just yet and remember the gene pool,

Treecreeper pic by Bob Vaughan

Returning Sedge Warblers–yup two birds is a record!

Other returning warblers including increasing numbers of Willow Warbler and the first Garden Warbler of the autumn.  Could be that one chiff-willow may be the one from the SSSI as Tony B heard it's fairly distinctive version of WW song.  Tony also picked up the first sightings of Lapwing of the year (the only other being a calling bird heard at night),

Returning Common Sandpiper (with 3 reported on the last weekend of the month from the Perch pond and another couple of sightings).

A single  Common Tern sightings for the month, they are becoming increasingly harder to come by on the patch over the last two years (although I've clawed that one back this weekend with two birds–one a young bird of the year).

The first autumnal passage of Yellow Wagtails, OK two birds

77 birds for the month and the only way is up for the next three months, however, at some points it got so samey that even I can;t couldn't be bothered to submit my reports.

The Great Crested Grebe gained its independence and wings and quickly departed.  The adults are now on to a second brood on Heronry.  Presumably the birds on the basin have managed a brood, but since no one goes there, I could be wrong.  Little Grebe are with young on Alex and the Shoulder of Mutton, where Reed Warbler numbers peaked at around 8 with young birds from the two pairs spreading out around the pond.

A Tufted Duck brood appeared on Jubilee Pond of all the places they could have been, and with a difference–that being an adopted Mallard chick.  I didn't fancy it's chances as at least its siblings can dive when danger threatens, however it has proved far more resilient while its brothers and sisters have been whittled down to just 3.  Otherwise I think Mallard have done well this summer but no Pochard success.

At least one of the local Peregrine were successful the progeny of which has been giving the the crows a hard time on a number of occasions.  No Buzzard or Kite which is understandable as none breed too near.

While the ugly creche of young and sub adult held up during the month, the first Common Gull returned to Jub, and Black-headed Gull numbers increased significantly.  Yup it's that time again when the apparent lack of larid knowledge comes glaringly into focus and we try and pick out the  young Yellow-legs.

As for the Wanstead Challenge I am not sure what the total is, but my contribution a nationally rare hover (below), which I could tell you it's name, but I'd have to go through the twitter feed–suffice to say I had to give a map reference and time of sighting to the National Hoverfly people. Life is too short and I need to go and see some birds...

My contribution to the year-long bio-blitz, a national scarce hover fly


Wanstead Flats: Reed Bunting with young
, Coal Tit with young, singing Willow Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat, Hobby, 6+ House Martin, 10+ Swift, singing Skylark and Meadow Pipit, 10+ Ringlets (Nick Croft/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Park: 2 singing Reed Warbler plus young birds calling, Nuthatch calling, 2 Great Crested Grebe on Heronry – no sign of young on Shoulder of Mutton, 2 Little Grebe, Gadwall, Little Egret, few Swifts (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
Hobby, 6+ House Martin, 10 + Swift, 2 singing Meadow Pipit (4 birds), 2 singing Skylark, 3 Little Grebe, Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 4 Reed Warbler (2 singing males), singing Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, Kestrel, House Martin, Swift (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
Male Reed Bunting, 6 + House Martin, 5 + Swift, singing Skylark, Meadow Pipit, 3 + Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: at least 7 reed Warbler (Shoulder of Mutton), including 3 males singing, Nuthatch, Great Crested Grebe nesting on Heronry, 3 Little Grebe, Pochard (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
14 House Martin, 10+ Swift, 2 adult Little Grebe with 2 young, f Pochard, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, singing Skylark (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 8+ Reed Warbler (3 singing birds), 2 House Martin, 10+ Swift, Kestrel, Little Egret, 2 Great Crested Grebe nest building, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats:
20 + House Martin, 100+ Swift coming through at 05:00, 4 Pochard, 2 singing Meadow Pipit (4 birds), 2 singing Skylark (3 birds), singing Goldcrest, 10 + Black-headed Gull through (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Common Tern on Heronry briefly at 06:00, 3 Nuthatch calling loudly by Grotto (Rob Sheldon), 3 singing Reed Warbler (4 birds), young Great Crested Grebe took its first flight round Shoulder of Mutton, 2 adults on Heronry, 3 Little Grebe, Gadwall, Pochard, singing Goldcrest, Kestrel, 30 + Swift (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Juv Peregrine
hunting over Alexandra pond and landed on pitches, 7 House Martin circling over several parts of the Flats, 2+ Skylark singing, Meadow Pipit singing, Fledgling Gt Spot Woodpecker in Copse. Also, Purple Hairstreak in Long Wood. (James Heal)


Wanstead Flats: young Peregrine Falcon,
Kestrel, 2 singing Meadow Pipit (one carrying food), 3 singing Skylark, young Reed Bunting, singing Goldcrest, 5 Little Grebe, 13 House Martin, 20 + Swift (Nick Croft/Peter Brinton)

Wanstead Park: 7+ Reed Warbler (3 singing), 3 family groups of Goldcrest, 3 adult Great Crested Grebe (pair mating on nest), 3 Little Grebe, Little Egret, 20+ Swift, 3 Gatekeeper (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
Sand Martin, 10+ House Martin, 30+ Swift, Little Egret, 4 singing Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Skylark, fem/juv type Reed Bunting, singing Goldcrest, Pochard, 3 Little Grebe, 3 Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft/Peter Brinton)


Wanstead Flats:
3 singing Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Skylark, 10 + House Martin, 30 + Swift, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: what sounded like a Greenshank called once (Shoulder of Mmutton), 2 Little Egret, pair of Little Grebe with young, pr of Great Crested Grebe, Nuthatch calling, 2 singing Reed Warbler, House Martin, 50 + Swift (mostly over Ilford), Ruby Tiger (Nick Croft)




Wanstead Flats:
Garden Warbler doing alarm/contact calling, 16+ House Martin, 50+ Swift, 40+ Black-headed Gull anting over brooms then the park later, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 3 singing Meadow Pipit (4 birds), Skylark, Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: at least 7 Reed Warbler still on Shoulder of Mutton (3 ssinging birds), Coal Tit, Hobby heard, Pochard, 3 Little Grebe (Nick Croft)



Wanstead Flats:
At least 6 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, House Martin, Swift, 4 Little Grebe 10+ Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 Coal Tit, 4 Goldcrest, singing Reed Warbler, Nuthatch, 3 Little Grebe, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 2 House Martin, 10+ Swift (Nick Croft)



Wanstead Flats: 2 Lapwing,
2 Little Egret, 4 juvenile Black-headed Gulls, Reed Bunting, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, both Chiffchaff and Blackcap with recently fledged young, 3 Yellow-bellied Sliders (Terrapin) Jubilee Pond (Tony Brown)


Wanstead Flats:
Yellow Wagtail east, singing Meadow Pipit (2 birds), singing Skylark (3 birds), plenty of Chiffchaff but very few Whitethroat, Kestrel, 4 Little Grebe chicks (3 adults), 6+ House Martin (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Kingfisher, Nuthatch calling (up to 3 birds), Reed Warbler grunting,  2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Little Grebe chick (3 adults), Great Crested Grebe on nest, 2 House Martin, 30+ Swift over Ilford (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
First returning Common Gull of the Autumn, 2 Swallow west, 6 + House Martin, 5 Swift, 10 + Chiffchaff, singing Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Kestrel, 6 + Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft/bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 3 Reed Warbler, calling Nuthatch, 2 singing Coal Tit, 50 + Swift over Ilford (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper, 2 Sedge Warbler, 20+ Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 15+ Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, 12 Gadwall, Shoveler, m Pochard, Tufted Duck with 4 chicks plus adopted Mallard chick, 4 Little Grebe chicks (+ 4 adults), singing Skylark (4 birds), singing Meadow Pipit, Hobby chasing House Martin (6+) without luck, m Kestrel, Common Gull, 2 1w Lesser Black-backed Gull and stroppy parent who kept buzzing me, 10+ Swift (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats:
singing Willow Warbler and young bird (first autumn returns), Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet, 4 House Martin, 4 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Sean Dillon)


Wanstead Flats: 1s f Peregrine Falcon
giving the crows a doing over (again!) for about 20 minutes, Hobby, 15+ Common Whitethroat, 10+ Chiffchaff, Linnet, House Martin, Meadow Pipit, singing Skylark, 3 Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck mother flew off from Jubilee while I was there leaving her 4 young to fend for themselves + the mallard chick  (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Yellow Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 + Chiffchaff, Swallow, 6+ House Martin, 4 Swift, Sparrowhawk with prey, Kestrel, Shoveler, Gadwall, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark (Tony Brown/Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: 1s Treecreeper, Kingfisher, 2 Sparrowhawk, 10 + Swift, 4 House Martin, Jersey Tiger (Nick Croft/James Heal)


Wanstead Flats:
2 Garden Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10+ Chiffchaff, Linnet, Skylark, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Richard Rae)

Wanstead Park: Common Sandpiper (Rob Sheldon); 1s Treecreeper still Bush Wood (could be 2 birds) (Bob Vaughan) 3 Common Sandpiper reported on Perch