2 March 2017

Escape from February

While I wait for anything, anything at all, on the London bird news front, just time for a quick look back on February–officially the most hated month on the planet.  With staggering few reports this shouldn't take long.

The big news this month was the City of London Corporation's revenge on the flats which had had the audacity to evolve nicely over the last 40 years. They consulted with the environment's greatest ally–The Countryside Alliance Buzzard Killing Natural England to come up with a plan to trash all that was good in the name of amenity.  They also had a new toy they'd been itching to give a run out, which rips as it shreds as it bulldozes, which has left gaping wounds all over the (formerly) best birding sites.

On a brighter note four new species were added to the year list, which makes this one of the less awful Februaries and a fair to middling start to the year.

  • Short-staying Pheasant sets up stampede to the Old Sewage Works
  • Another Lapwing
  • Flock of geese defy identification
  • Adult Mediterranean Gull, though not Valentino, 
  • First adult Yellow-legged Gull for over a year
  • Bread eating monster duck (Red-crested Pochard) moves in on Jub
  • First returning Stonechat, and our wintering bird takes its leave

Whre the hell have all our Gadwall gone to, we should have hundreds but some days its hard enough to get into double figures.  Shoveler are on the up, Teal holding steady and there is even a male Wigeon pottering around Shoulder of Mutton, but Gadwall AWOL.

A good month for Meadow Pipit with a high of 21 recorded at the end of the month and even 11 Skylark noted near the Alex one day.  Bad though for Redpoll and Siskin with only singles seen, and even the Linnet have appeared to move on.  Well thankfully it's Wheatear time and everything else becomes irrelevant.


Wanstead Flats: singing Skylark, 3 Linnet, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, 26 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 29 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 3 Teal, singing Song Thrush, Ruby Tiger caterpillar (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 48 Shoveler, 28 Teal, 17 Gadwall, 19 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, Coal Tit, Goldcrest, singing Song and Mistle Thrush, singing Stock Dove, Kestrel, and Eel in Ornamental Waters (Nick Croft/Sean Kerrigan)


Wanstead Flats: 7 Skylark, 2 Redwing, 5 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck - Sadly the City of London Corporation has been clearing more habitat, supposedly to create more acid grassland (which it won't), it will severely impact ground- and low-nesting birds. Shouldn't effect migrants if we get any, but overall it is very depressing (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 14 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting, Stonechat, 2 Redwing, 16 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 2 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, Teal (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: m Pheasant in paddock for 3rd day, Kingfisher (Sean Kerrigan); 8 Goldcrest, Great Crested Grebe, 16 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 4 Teal, 14 Tufted Duck (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Park: Pheasant in OSW Paddock (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: WeBS - 593 Common Gull, 206 Black-headed Gull, 22 Mute Swan, 60 Greylag Goose, 221 Canada Goose, 77 Mallard, 18 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 6 Pochard, 15 Tufted Duck, 84 Coot, 36 Moorhen, also 11 Skylark, 19 Meadow Pipit, 7 Reed Bunting, 3 Goldcrest, 3 Redwing, Stonechat (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Pheasant still in paddock, 22 Redwing (Rob Sheldon); Wigeon, Coal Tit (Tim Harris); Peregrine (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: 3 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Reed Bunting, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 15 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 3 Teal, 20 Tufted Duck, 13 Herring Gull, Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: singing Siskin, Goldcrest, 4 Stock Dove, Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 7 Gadwall, 33 Shoveler, Teal, 11 Tufted Duck (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Lapwing, 18 Meadow Pipit, 7 Skylark (2 singing), 2 Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Little Egret, 4 Pochard, 10+ Tufted Duck, 15 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 2 Teal, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, c700 Common Gull (Nick Croft/Rob Sheldon/Sean Kerrigan)


Wanstead Flats: 3 singing Skylark, 3 singing Song Thrush, singing Mistle Thrush, Reed Bunting, 3 Pochard, 4 Tufted Duck, 4 Gadwall, 15 Shoveler, 6 Teal, Little Grebe (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 12 Shoveler, 10 Teal, 10 Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, Goldcrest, 6 singing Song Thrush, singing Blackbird (Nick Croft)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: m Tawny Owl (Gilberts Slade) at dawn, Treecreeper, 7 Egyptian Geese, 34 Gadwall, 18 Shoveler, Grey Wagtail, Great Crested Grebe, 6 singing Song Thrush (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: 21 unidentified grey geese going high NW over Bush Wood, 6 Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, 14 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 3 Gadwall (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park (Bush Wood): 2 Goldcrest, 2 Coal Tit, singing Stock Dove (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Mediterranean Gull (Tony Brown); 2 Skylark on Police Scrape (James Heal).


Wanstead Flats: 1 adult Mediterranean Gull still on Western Flats (Bob Vaughan and James Heal); 1 female Red-crested Pochard on Jubilee pond (Jonathan Lethbridge)


Wanstead Flats: adult Yellow-legged Gull, 10+ Herring Gull, 8 Lesser Black-backed Gull, no sign Med, f Red-crested Pochard still on Jubilee, 32 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 7 Gadwall, 19 Shoveler, Little Grebe, 21 Meadow Pipit, 9 singing Skylark incl 2 singing, 5 Reed Bunting, 5 Redwing, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 49 Shoveler, 16 Teal, 5 Gadwall, Wigeon, 2 Pochard, 10 Tufted Duck, 2 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 6 Redwing (Nick Croft)