8 January 2018

Great White Egret

Great White Egret is a Great Egret


At 10-45 on a drear grey Monday morning my phone goes off, but it's upstairs. I get there too late, of course, but phone Tim back. "I've got a Great Egret on Perch!" "Immense!" I gasp. "Have you got a camera?" he asks. A few seconds later and I'm there. The Egret has moved to the North side and is standing there looking, well, immense. The yellow bill, the sinuous neck, the white, all that white with black legs. I fire off a few shots and realise I have forgotten my specs. I fire off a few more. Tim is Whatsapping  and Twittering out the good news.


I warmly and effusively congratulate Tim who is rapidly replacing Nick as bird-finder general. An unexpected Mediterranean gull distantly on the Basin on the 3rd and now this. The first solid-gold Great Egret on the patch, although there have been a few claims. A patch tick for all, let's hope it stays for the vistas (thanks Tony). Birds don't get much better than this.

All very lovely, so Tim and I leave. Oddly I seem to hear the screech of brakes distantly from Heronry, hmm sounds like an Uber taxi that has been hired in haste. However I proceed to the Basin where Tim (natch) has found the first 6 Wigeon for the year. Strangley, a taxi seemed to be just behind me as I left the Basin. I must have been hallucinating.

Well, that was a great filthy twitch, and cost me very little.

PS When I got back I realised that I'd been taking the shots on ISO 400 which is pathetic for a 300mm with 1.4 extension these days.  Note to self: always pack your specs and check your shots so that they will look half decent.

7 January 2018

Treecreeper in Bush Wood

I visit Bush Wood three times a year. This is generally the number of visits it takes to get those species which don't really occur anywhere else on the patch - Firecrest (in winter), Coal Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreeper. I dispensed with the first three on January 5th, and today, January 6th, I nailed Treecreeper. Done, one under par. A birdie, haha.

Well, apart from Tawny Owl, but that is generally an entirely random late night post public house tick rather than the subject of a specific visit.




2 January 2018

Wrapping up

Well this is going to be my last monthly round up and post, so lets get it over and done with so that we can go and do something more uplifting instead.

November did happen, it just wasn't all that good and so December, rather than make the former month look bad, was also pretty dull. In keeping with the year pretty much then!

... and there you are I am already bored of this


Let's see what the other's thought of the year.

Rob S thought finding the Little Owl had successfully nested was his best birding moment and rather than predictions has a bucket list of birds that he would like next year: Buzzard, Red Kite of the common stuff, Dartford Warbler would be a nice special bird to get and a Goosander on the Roding would be most welcome!

Richard R had his patch lifer of Goosander in top spot, and thought the Little Ringed Plover twitch on the Heronry was the best event, and goes with Golden Oriole in Long Wood as a prediction for 2018.



Marco J also went with one of his own finds for his best bird–and that was the first spring Woodlark tootling around the brooms for an hour or so.  It was a good year for the tail-lacking lark with up to 6 birds being reported. Best non-event was missing out on the Hawfinch hiatus. Red-backed Shrike makes a return as a prediction and one year it will come true!

Tony B went with the singing Nightingale in motorcycle wood in the spring and was going to go with the showy male Redstart that caused Jono to "scurry home for his big lens", but then went with finding London's first Wheatear of 2017.  Another gropper reeling proper is a wish/prediction for the year.

For a reminder of the singer from the SSSI follow the link here

http://wansteadbirding.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/april-of-singers-ringers-and-sandpipers.html

James H especially liked the 9 Hawfinch going over his head, while his best event was being out stared by a Little Owl.  He too has a wish list–of Brown Shrike and Barred Warbler.

Sean Kerrigan kept with the owl theme with a Tawny Owl being mobbed by Jays in Long Wood and also predicts RB Shrike so it will happen.

Josh S, honest as ever replied: " As I've hardly been out at all this year, I have nothing of value to add!  But all being well I will see you tomorrow!"  I predict you will be on your own Josh!

Mr Lethbridge was not available for comment

Bob V also liked Marco's Woodlark and then the others, thumbs up too to the Hawfinch and he predicts the return of the Bewick's (give or take 70 years then Bob?)

I'd have to go with the Nightingale, as the Corncrake and swans couldn't be shared, as my favourite bird of the year, but Woodlarks, Ringos, the Hawfinch and the Goosanders ticked all the right boxes. The Common Sandpiper that showed no fear as it wandered around the Alex for about a week was an excellent photo opportunity if you got the right  light.



My prediction for next year is that it's probably going to as dire as this.



Then the small matter of the scores on the door's guff



Nick C: 116
Bob V: 113
Jono L: 111
Tony B: 106
James H: 105


... and even not being there for 7 months of the year and committing myself to a London-wide year list (supreme fail ending on the same score as last time I flunked it: 194 sp) I still won.  This year I am giving them all a head start and only 6 months in the game, so we will see if anyone can be arsed enough to take my title!

I would do a review of the year but it's been covered just about above. The only other noteworthy even was the misguided destruction of half of the brooms and other areas by the so called management of Epping Forest.  It was utterly depressing to see so much destruction for amenity sake.  We warned that it would hit our breeding birds and it did with virtually all ground nesting birds effected in someway or other.  The removal of the enclosure was perhaps hardest to comprehend, where we would have spent hours in the past notching up spotted and Pied Flycatcher, Redstart and interesting warblers we only got one spotty and one Redstart. Not a good year for the custodians of fragile environment. Jubilee remains a toilet, the SSSI's boggy bit is the driest area on the flats thanks to awful drainage works carried out on the fairground, the Alex is now drying up, the drainage of the Herony left no place for breeding birds and now there is something wrong with Shoulder of Mutton if the lack of ducks is anything to go by.





1st

Wanstead Flats: Woodlark over calling (Bob Vaughan-Twitter)

3rd

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 3 Bullfinch early am, Brambling, Siskin N, 5 Redwing, Reed Bunting NW, c500 Starling NW, Nuthatch, Treecreeper (Stuart Fisher)

4th

Wanstead Flats: Hawfinch west 0712 (Twitter); 2 Brambling, 4 Linnet, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Blackcap, 2 Little Egret, 16 Teal, 2 Shoveler, 3 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 2 Kestrel, 6 Redwing (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 116 Gadwall, 9 Wigeon, 29 Shoveler, 17 Teal, Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, imm Great Crested Grebe, White Wagtail (James Heal)







5th

Wanstead Flats: 700+ Woodpigeon south, 23 Fieldfare, 14 Redwing, 5 Skylark, 5 Meadow Pipit, 2 Bullfinch, Redpoll, Linnet, 6 Shoveler, 4 Teal, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 150+ Common Gull, 2 Goldcrest (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: 120+ Gadwall, 10 Wigeon, 21 Teal, 5 Pochard, 2 Little Grebe, imm Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Kingfisher, Siskin, Peregrine Falcon, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest (Nick Croft)

7th

Snaresbrook Crown Court: Hawfinch (h) over at 7.15 ish, 70 Fieldfare over and a few Redwing (Stuart Fisher)

12th

Wanstead: Mediterranean Gull 2w on Alex late morning (Richard Bonser, Dante Shepherd); earlier on adjacent football pitches (Tony Brown)

18th

Wanstead Flats: 1st-winter male Stonechat, 4 Bullfinch (1m 1f 2 juv/1st-winter), c50 Fieldfare W (Tony Brown).

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Hawfinch N, 32 Lesser Redpoll in birches near Hollow Pond, 10 Chaffinch over, 90 Fieldfare over, 40 Redwing, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, 8+ Goldcrest (Stuart Fisher)




19th

Wanstead Flats: Short-eared Owl, 2 Stonechat, 3 Bullfinch, Linnet, 14 Shoveler, 4 Pochard (James Heal/Nick Croft)

20th

Wanstead Flats: 10 Linnet, 3 Meadow Pipit, Skylark, 3 Goldcrest, Great Black-backed Gull, 400+ Common Gull, 5 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, 11 Fieldfare, Redwing, singing Song Thrush, 2 Mistle Thrush, Kestrel (Nick Croft)

25th

Wanstead Flats: Woodcock (Tony Brown); 41 Fieldfare, Redwing, singing Song Thrush, Skylark, Kestrel, 23 Goldfinch (Nick Croft)

26th

Wanstead Flats: 16 Fieldfare, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, 12 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 8 Shoveler, Kestrel (Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: 116 Gadwall, 42 Shoveler, 18 Teal, 2 Little Grebe, 17 Siskin, Grey Wagtail, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Sprrowhawk, Redwing (Nick Croft/James Heal)

December

1st

Leyton Flats: 5 Wigeon, 3 Teal, 3 Shoveler, 10 Fieldfare, 12 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 4 Little Egret 3E & 1 on Hollow pond (Stuart Fisher)








9th

Wanstead Flats: Hawfinch, 5–10 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 25 Fieldfare, 7 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, 2 Meadow Pipit, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 37 Shoveler, 26 Gadwall, 2 Teal, f Pochard, 14 Tufted Duck, 4 Little Grebe, Little Egret, 10+ Siskin, Goldcrest, 20+ Redwing, 9 Fieldfare, Water Rail (Nick Croft)

14th

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3rd w on Eagle_Pond (presumed returning bird), 2 Nuthatch, 40+ Redwing, 15 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Coal Tit (Stuart Fisher)


 



 




16th

Wanstead Flats: 7 Bewick's Swan east over the park and the first for 70 years, 5 Shoveler, 2 Teal, 4 Pochard, Stonechat, 40+ Fieldfare, 20+ Redwing, singing Song Thrush, 13 Linnet, 2-3 Reed Bunting, 4 Skylark, Little Egret (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 30 Shoveler, 7 Teal, 16 Gadwall, f Pochard, 20+ Redpoll, 6 Siskin, 4 Goldcrest, 2 Little Grebe, Water Rail, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 50+ Redwing, 10+ Fieldfare (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3w still on hollow and eagle_ponds (Jamie Partridge via Twitter)





17th

Wanstead Flats: Stonechat still west of Cat & Dog, 50+ Redwing, 50+ Fieldfare, 17 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 6 Skylark, 5 Shoveler, 3 Pochard, Gadwall, hundreds of large gull flying west including 30+ Great Black-backed Gull, sub-ad Yellow-legged Gull, Goldcrest (Nick Croft/Tony Brown)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3w still on eagle_pond (Tony Brown/Adam Winstanley via Twitter)

18th

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3rd w Eagle_Pond, Kingfisher, Common Buzzard over (Stuart Fisher and Bob Vaughan, Mike Messenger)


20th

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3rd w still present in the morning, 2 Nuthatch, 16 Redwing, 3 Fieldfare, 2 courting Egyptian Geese, Coal Tit (Stuart Fisher)


23rd

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Caspian Gull 3w still present pm (David Darrell-Lambert via Twitter)


24th

Snaresbrook, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull 3w showing well (Tony Brown, David Bradshaw)

25th

Wanstead, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull Eagle pub car park, 2 Goldcrest (Geoff Gram).

26th

Snaresbrook, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull 3w still present - favouring area just to east of centre of lake (Harringay Birder)


27th
Snaresbrook, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull 3w still present, also 8 European Herring Gull and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 9 Northern Shoveler and 14 Gadwall (Dominic Mitchell)








28th

Wanstead Flats: 4 Skylark, 21 Fieldfare, 8 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush, Stonechat, 11 Shoveler (Nick Croft/James Heal)

Wanstead Park: Water Rail, 13 Shoveler, 11 Teal, 12 Gadwall, 1-2 Nuthatch, 2-3 Coal Tit, 5 Goldcrest, 6 Redwing, 5 Stock Dove (Nick Croft)

Snaresbrook Eagle Pond: Bullfinch (Simon Worsfold); Caspian Gull 3w eagle pond (Tony Brown via Twitter)








29th

Wanstead Flats:
Stonechat, Bullfinch, 15 Linnet, Reed Bunting, 3 Meadow Pipit, 3 Redwing, 10 Shoveler, 2 Gadwall, 5 Teal, f Pochard, 6 Tufted Duck, 300+ Common Gull, 30+ Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Snaresbrook, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull 3w still present (flew off at 13:25 today) (Debbie Burkett)



30th

Wanstead Flats: 4 Mistle Thrush, Redwing, 7 Shoveler, f Teal (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 50 + Goldfinch, 17 Redwing






31st

Wanstead Flats: m Stonechat, 13 Redwing, 5 Meadow Pipit, 350 Common Gull, 10 + Herring gull, Great Black-backed Gull, 13 Shoveler, 5 Teal (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)

Wanstead Park: Water Rail, Siskin, Treecreeper, 3 Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 8 Shoveler, 12 Gadwall, 3 Pochard (Nick Croft)

Snaresbrook, Eagle Pond: Caspian Gull 3w still (Shaun Harvey-Twitter) 

16 December 2017

70 year's on

Bewick's Swan: There is one record of a bird on the Basin in the winter of 1947. Prior to that Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus bewickii Recorded from the Alexandra Pond on Wanstead Flats on 5th February, 1931. This bird later visited the Perch Pond and was to be seen on the Basin on 15th March, returning to the Alexandra Pond where it remained until 21st March (EN XXIII p. 150).

Some 70 year's later I get lucky.  According to the RSPB and WWT not many Bewick's have made it into the country this year and numbers have been down for the last few years due to climate change making Baltic Europe slightly more hospitable for wintering birds. Now it's cooling down drastically birds are on the move.









Great pics huh!