30 December 2018

The top 10 birds of Wanstead 2009–2018: No. 5

No. 5 Yellow-browed Warbler    7th December to early January 2016

Take your pick

A single bird reported from the Dell 11th October 2015

A vocal bird in Motorcycle Wood 8th October 2016 
A calling bird on Alexandra Lake island from 7th December to early January 2016 
A bird seen in Long Wood 29th September 2018 
One on Alex island 17th-18th October 2018, and another heard SoM 17th October 2018   

I've gone with the long-staying bird, which virtually everyone saw, and in this game if you saw it, and it was good, you voted for it! Was it a better bird than those featured below it?  Obviously not, but that's not really the point is it–certainly a charismatic charmer, its rarity in a London context will surely be devalued as more and more individuals are found, but at the time of writing it is a bird that we all look out for come the end of September and early October and judging by the comments below its all about that moment in time.

Tony B: "Patch ticking Yellow-browed Warbler, whilst a flock of wild grey geese circled the Fairground and Ring Ouzels were two a penny was a magical autumn migration morning"

"My patch most wanted bird...done"


Richard R: "The YBW/White-fronted Goose moment of patch perfection"

Jono L:  " ... the one in the boggy bit. I assumed that it was somebody playing a tape, and ran around motorcycle wood to accost them, only to find James there looking up at the trees. A few minutes later...."   http://www.wansteadbirder.com/2016/10/bringing-it-all-back-home.html

"The bird was calling it's head off, literally non-stop. We stood there disbelieving. Although I've just seen 67 in a week, I am under no illusions that Shetland is unique. This however was Wanstead Flats, in the heart of London. Zone 2. And yet here was another of these little sprites that has travelled oh so far. Location location location, that's what its all about."

James H (as one of his highlights):  "Finding the Yellow-browed Warbler in the SSSI in October 2016"

"Never before have I so wanted others to experience a bird I have already heard and seen. It is difficult to explain, but the desire to share that wonderful experience (and maybe a slight sense of wanting to ensure everyone believed what I knew to be true) was very strong." 


Not part of this male bonding scenario were Bob and I who were on Shetland wading through the little buggers, luckily we had our moment later that year.

Nick C: "Fuck yeagh!"

Sean K: "The first one I'd seen outside Norfolk"

So it may be small, but packs a large emotional punch and therefore deserves its place as one of Wanstead's best birds.

Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus) · call
Stuart Fisher
Wanstead Flats, London , United Kingdom


  1. Really enjoying this festive countdown, a reminder to all of us inland patch watchers what a bit of effort and team-work can achieve. Great stuff!

  2. Thank you Steve, if only we could convince the City of London Epping Forest of the importance of this place not only for the rare and common migrants but our nesting birds effected by their poor management and policing