2 June 2017

Let's kick May into touch

Ah! a contemporary play on words–that would be good news and with Trump trying to consign the US to the fossil age and threatening the world with his crass, blinkered, stupidity god knows we need some good news. On the plus side most of America's state and city leaders think his policies are turd and are going alone with their renewable push.

Its been poop on the patch as well with just the one new bird Common Tern added on the 1st, however things might have panned out differently with a report of a Bee-eater over the park on the 2nd immediately panned by all of us–annoying if not true and even more annoying if genuine. The report by a non birder came in the form of a short description and the request of ID help. Ring-necked Parakeet?  Turaco?  These were known to the observer and so reluctantly I suggested he look at Bee-eater: "That's the fella!" was his reply.

The second might have been was the report of Grasshopper Warbler reeling by the tea-hut on the 16th. I know I passed by the tea-hut that day and I know Mike M was also in the park so hopefully he will know the truth of the matter–I may have to wait to next year for him to remember to tell me. I've seen him on a few occasions this year and it was only on the last meeting that he told me of Bullfinch he'd seen in the OSW in January.

Marco J thought he may have had a Great White Egret over Alex on the 7th but couldn't nail it.

Finally a report of a Honey Buzzard over Romford on the 12th coming our way had me waiting down by the Roding, just in case. I did see something, coming from the right direction and in the right timeframe, which could easily have been it as it glided, low, but unfortunately well to the north of me.

So basically a crappy month!

Migrant wise: Wheatear's stuck around till the 16th, Willow Warbler singers dropped to just the usual two and even by the end of the month the one in the SSSI was singing less frequently and adding chiffy flourishes to the end of his song. A Sedge Warbler reported by the chuckle brothers on Alex on the 17th turned into a Reed Warbler when I got there, talking of which just the one bird is on the Shoulder of Mutton.  It's favoured reed bed is in a terrible state and we should have pulled all the dead stuff out in the spring. A further bird was singing by the Roding on the 16th where the Cetti's was heard being a bit more enthusiastic until it probably gave up by the end of the month.

Just the one Garden Warbler report, again Long Wood, so another to add to the lost breeding birds list under the care of the City of London Corporation. Preliminary reports suggest: Lesser Whitethroat down, Whitethroat down, Chiffchaff down–all thanks to this year's destruction and continuing removal of scrub over the last few years.

In the park the breeding season is a calamity on Heronry, Perch and the Ornamentals: Heronry dried up as plans to pump water suffered a pump failure–we pointed out this was an opportunity to do some creative management of the pond to create islands and reed beds.  The Corp. ummmed-and aahed and then said great idea, just as the water start lapping at the pond's apron. Perch on the other hand has now been hit with a blue-green algae problem and is virtually stagnant.  Lucky they didn't put the fish from Heronry in there then! Oh, wait they did!

Meanwhile the ornamentals wait for any water to come from Perch–suspended to stop the spread of invasive pond weed.  All-on-all not good for birds: I've only seen 1 duckling, no Great-crested Grebe (a pair on the basin, but fuck all else since they cleared the weed out–again why??) and Little Grebe confined to the Basin, Shoulder of Mutton and Alex. On the plus side Tawny Owl chicks have been vocal in reservoir wood, but you wouldn't know that as my chums have now created a Whatsapp chat group with very little making it to Twitter.

Back to migrants: A few Swallow noted, but with very reports coming in at all (see below) this is an incomplete picture, the House Martin finally came back, with a high of 10+ birds on the 16th, subsequently down to around 6 seen collecting mud–we will know more about their numbers when we check the nest site.

On the flats there's been very little action with the pipits and larks with no food carrying happening and birds still singing and chasing each other. Whether Linnet (could be 2 pairs) are breeding is another open question, while Reed Bunting are also letting on whether they are at it or over it!

Hobby sightings peaked at the beginning of the month and none at the end, though a couple of Red Kite over Jono's garden were a plus.

I don't think June or July will do much to shift the air of despondency, roll on August.


1st

Wanstead Flats:
4 Wheatear, 3 Common Tern, Rook, 2 Willow Warbler, House Martin, Sand Martin, 4+ Swift, Hobby, pair of Reed Bunting (Wanstead Birding)





2nd

Wanstead Flats: f Wheatear
, 6 Swallow, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 pair of Linnet, 5 Skylark, 4 m Meadow Pipit (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Bee-eater reported by one of the locals (Nick Croft)















 7th

Wanstead Flats: Wheatear f
, 100+ Swift, 14 Swallow, 3 Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, pr of Hobby, 3 Kestrel, 2 Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Coal Tit, Linnet (Nick Croft); possible Great Egret at 8:25 (Marco Johnson)

Wanstead Park: 2 Little Egret, Kingfisher, 4 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Nuthatch, 2 Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Nick Croft/James Heal)







9th

Wanstead Flats:
Garden Warbler 2 Yellow Wagtail (Jono Lethbridge), 9 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 7 + Swift, 11 singing Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipit, 6 Tufted Duck (Nick Croft) Tawny Owl young calling in Reservoir Wood (James Heal) yesterday one or more Little Owl in East Copse (Jon Lethbridge)


12th

Wanstead Flats: Yellow Wagtail
, 6 Meadow Pipit (1 still singing), 4 Skylark, 10 + Swallow, 9 House Martin, 30 + Swift, Willow Warbler, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Hobby, Kestrel, m Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler still by Roding and singing more than I've heard him before, Lesser Whitethroat, 5 Whitethroat, singing Goldcrest, 2 Little Egret, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Common Buzzard in from north seen off by crows, and possibly the Romford Honey Buzzard over the Roding (right direction and timeframe), 40 +Swift, 6 Swallow, 2 House Martin (Nick Croft)




 16th

Wanstead Flats:
f Wheatear still, 10+ House Martin, 3 Swallow, 20+ Swift, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, Common Buzzard, f Sparrowhawk with prey, Kestrel, 3 Pochard, 4 Tufted Duck, over 240+ Herring Gull of various ages loafing, 20 + Lesser Black-backed Gull (Nick Croft/James Palmer)

Wanstead Park: 2 singing Reed Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, pr of Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, same C Buzzard as above, Little Egret, Stock Dove, 50+ Swift (mostly over Ilford), 2 Little Grebe (Nick Croft/Mike Messenger) Grasshopper Warbler reported singing by tea hut









17th

Wanstead Flats:
Sedge Warbler (Bob Vaughan/Jono Lethbridge) No sign of Sedge Warbler, but Reed Warbler singing on Alex, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 7 House Martin, 20 + Swift, Peregrine Falcon, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark (Nick Croft)











22nd





28th

Wanstead Flats:
4 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 4 Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, 2 singing Skylark, 60 + Swift, Sand Martin, 6 House Martin, 2 Kestrel, pr of Pochard, pr of Gadwall (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 3 Red Kite, Buzzard (Jono Lethbridge)




1 May 2017

April: of singers, ringers and sandpipers

April really only started on the 10th, before that it was really March and a bit tiresome, but it all turned around nicely with 22 new species to our greedy but starving list.  So some semblance of respectability after a dour start to our year.  Some good birds too...





  • Swallow (Apr-1)
  • Lesser Whitethroat (Apr-10)
  • Common Whitethroat (Apr-10)
  • Common Redstart (Apr-10): Just one male and one female and a poor return on spring movement compared with last year's bonanza.  Clear skies and fine weather meant none were forced down.
  • Little Ringed Plover (Apr-10): 3 on the Heronry on April 10th–the first record for the park, one on the Alex on the 22nd and finally a report of one flushed from the brooms between the dates here
  • House Martin (Apr-13): Just 3 sightings with 2 coming from over the colony and the other from a single bird over Heronry
  • Sand Martin (Apr-13): a flock of 8 birds over Alex on the 23rd, but a slow month for hirundine movement
  • Common Snipe (Apr-14): The first records this year–2 in the brooms on the 14th and a single bird between the copses a week later
  • Cetti's Warbler (Apr-14): Could this bird be last year's bird, and why is it so quiet?
  • Ring Ouzel (Apr-15): 2 records of single birds, par for the course really, sadly!
  • Reed Warbler (Apr-17): A single singer on the Shoulder of Mutton and early, so early the reeds haven't quite grown.  A second bird on Alex a week later
  • Yellow Wagtail (Apr-17): Poor passage this year, though with the change of weather birds may be stuck on the other side of the channel
  • White Wagtail (Apr-17): The European sub-species of our more familiar pieds, a regular annual spring bird
  • Green Sandpiper (Apr-22): 2 birds for Tony flying over the Alex 
  • Hobby (Apr-22): 3 sightings and probably not our local birds 
  • Tree Pipit (Apr-22): 3 birds this month, which is better than usual for this more often seen in the autumn pipit
  • Nightingale (Apr-22): The first spring singer since one sang briefly near the Plain in the Park on April 25th 2010.  According to a frequent visitor the bird may have been present on the 20th.  Mike Messenger had a singing bird on the island on Hollow Ponds on the 24th, which could have been our bird.


My first attempt at bird song–the hassle I had trying to boost the volume, remove a section where I am groaning like some seedy pervert...
  • Woodlark (Apr-23): Another first for spring, usually an autumn migrant an early morning Marco scores patch gold
  • Garden Warbler (Apr-23): One on passage singing at the west end of Long Wood and gone the next day.  Meanwhile we wait for the Motorcycle Wood bird
  • Common Sandpiper (Apr-24): A friendly bird which took a liking to the margins of the Alex
  • Sedge Warbler (Apr-27): Bob's early morning ramble pays off 

  • Whinchat (Apr-30): A sparkling pair in the brooms (at last!) One apparently seen by a visiting birder on the 24th–so htf did we miss that then Bob?
  • Swift (Apr-30): Another tardy migrant




Not only, but also

32 Wheatear with a maximum of 7 on the 30th, and mainly males so more (females) to come I reckon.  The last Redwing and Fieldfare, on the 3rd and 4th  respectively, saw the change from  winter visitors to spring and summer migrants and the weather reflected that change–warmth!

Shovelers left us by the middle of the month, and most of the Teal except for a pair on the Roding–breeders, I should cocoa! 

Then it got cold again, which kind of put things in stasis, which in turn could mean we have a few more days of migration to look forward to.

As an added bonus dear reader, an image, nay the first image of one of our local Tawny Owl courtesy of Bob V




1st

Wanstead Flats: 28 Meadow Pipits
(most of these passing through north), 3 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 6 m Blackcap, 10 m Chiffchaff, 6 displaying Greenfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting, 25 Shoveler, 8 Gadwall, 7 Black-headed Gull south, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Rob Sheldon)

Wanstead Park: 5 Little Grebe, pr of Great Crested Grebe, 20 Shoveler, 8 Teal, 2 Pochard, Common Buzzard, 10+ m Blackcap, 8+ m Chiffchaff, singing Goldcrest, 2 Meadow Pipit north, Common Gull north (Nick Croft/James Heal)


2nd

Wanstead Flats: Willow Warbler
in SSSI (Marco Johnson)


3rd

Wanstead Flats:
The fog yielded nothing here. 6 Meadow Pipit, possibly 8 Skylark territories though not confirmed, 2 Redwing south, 2 Reed Bunting, Linnet, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Gadwall, 10 Shoveler, 15 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 4 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)

4th

Wanstead Flats:
2 Willow Warbler, Fieldfare, 5 Meadow Pipit, 3 singing Skylark, Linnet, Sparrowhawk, 3 Pochard, 6 Gadwall (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)


5th

Wanstead Flats:
4 Sparrowhawk, 1 Common Buzzard over 4 times, 7 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Skylark, 2 Shoveler, 4 Gadwall, 3 + Linnet (1 singing) (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson)

Wanstead Park: Willow Warbler, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson)








6th

Wanstead Flats:
5 Meadow Pipit (including one carrying nesting material), Skylark, Willow Warbler, 2 Sparrowhawk, 17 Shoveler, Pochard (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: Common Buzzard (Tim Harris)







10th

Wanstead Flats:
Kestrel, 2 Meadow Pipit, Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Skylark, 3 Linnet, 2 Gadwall, Little Grebe 1-2pm (Simon Worsfold) Common Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, 3 Pochard, Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, singing Reed Bunting, Grey Wagtail (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 3 Little Ringed Plover on Heronry mud (still there at 18:00) and a park first, Common Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, Common Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 2 Teal, 2 Gadwall, pr of Great Crested Grebe (Wanstead Birders)


11th

Wanstead Flats: Red Kite,
pr of Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 3 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Bunting, pr of Linnet, 3 Gadwall (Wanstead Birders)


























13th

Wanstead Flats: 2 Sand Martin
, House Martin, 4 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 4 Linnet, 4 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Wheatear, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 3 Willow Warbler, Whitethroat,2 Linnet, Little Egret (Nick Croft)




14th

Wanstead Flats:  2 Common Snipe
, Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Linnet, 30+ Meadow Pipit through north, 3 Grey Wagtail south, Peregrine Falcon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 10 Swallow west (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler briefly by Roding (James Heal), 2 Common Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Little Egret, Coal Tit, Grey Wagtail,  Little Grebe (Nick Croft)


15th

Wanstead Flats: Ring Ouzel
(Tony Brown), 2 Wheatear (Rob Sheldon), 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler still by Roding (Bob Vaughan/Tony Brown/Tim Harris)






16th

Wanstead Flats: Sand Martin
, 2 Swallow, 3 Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, 2 Teal, Pochard (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park:  Cetti’s Warbler, 4 Willow Warbler, 2 Whithethroat, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Little Egret (Wanstead Birders)
 

17th

Wanstead Flats: 2 Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail
, 3 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Swallow, 4 Meadow Pipit, 5 Skylark, Sparrowhawk, 2 Gadwall, 2 Pochard (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler (Wanstead Birders)


18th

Wanstead Flats: Wheatear,
4 Willow Warbler, 5 Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Swallow, 10 Meadow Pipit,4 Skylark, 4 Gadwall, Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler still by Roding, Reed Warbler, 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Whitethroat,  Little Egret, 5 Stock Dove, Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)








20th

Wanstead Flats:
3 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, Wheatear, 3 Swallow, Reed Bunting, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)






21st

Wanstead Flats: Ring Ouzel, f Redstart, 2 Wheatear,
10 Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark, 2 Gadwall, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Swallow (Nick Croft/Simon Worsfold)


22nd

Wanstead Flats: 2 Green Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover
(both flying over Alex) (Tony Brown) Nightingale singing in Motorcycle Copse (at least till 17:20 and the first singing bird since 2009), 2 Tree Pipit, 10 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Wheatear, 16 Sand Martin, 10+ Swallow, 4 Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 + Whitethroat, Hobby, 4 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, Buzzard, 4 Gadwall, 4 Little Grebe, Common Gull, 5 Skylark, 2 Linnet, Little Egret (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler (possibly 2 singing birds), Reed Warbler, 4 Whitethroat, 4 Little Egret, pr of Great Crested Grebe, Gadwall (James Heal/Bob Vaughan)


23rd

Wanstead Flats: Woodlark,
6 Skylark, Garden Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Wheatear, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, 3 pairs of Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, 3 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 10 Swallow, 6 Sand Martin, Linnet, 4 Gadwall (Wanstead Birders)



























24th

Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper, Wheatear,
2 Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, 7 Whitethroat, 3 Yellow Wagtail, 4 Skylark, 4 Swallow, Sparrowhawk, 6 Gadwall (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Cetti's Warbler still (Simon Raper)






25th

Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper,
Willow Warbler, 11 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Swallow, House Martin, Grey Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Skylark, Kestrel, 2 Gadwall, 4 Little Grebe, Linnet (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft); Hobby, m Wheatear, Red Kite, Common Sandpiper still on Alex at 18:40 (Tony Brown)

Wanstead Park: Reed Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 singing Stock Dove, Little Egret (Nick Croft)















26th

Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper
still on Alex, m Wheatear, 5 Skylark, 3 Meadow Pipit, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Swallow, Common Gull, 4 Gadwall, 4 Little Grebe (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Peregrine (Sean Kerrigan), 2 Stock Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Cetti's Warbler, Swallow, 2 Teal, 3 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coal Tit, 4 Whitethroat (Nick Croft)









































27th

Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper still on Alex, Sedge Warbler
(Jub), 2 Willow Warbler, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 10 Whitethroat, 8 Swallow, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 2 Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, 2 Wheatear, Skylark, 3 Linnet (Wanstead Birders)

29th

Wanstead Flats: 5 Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Common Sandpiper
still on Alex, Yellow Wagtail (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Willow Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birders)








30th

Wanstead Flats: 2 Whinchat, 7 Wheatear, 2 Rook, Swift, Sand Martin,
7 Swallow, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Yellow Wagtail, 3 pairs of Meadow Pipit, 4 Skylark (Wanstead Birders)