Monday, March 23, 2015

Raptorous

Having missed out on all the fun yesterday out on the reservoirs, I cut a solitary figure as I slowly ambled my way round the Lockwood.  The morning looked promising, it was bright with a few clouds, but that wind still had a bite to it.

For once, I was in no rush - so I took my time to look.  What was evident were the number of Meadow Pipit flying through.  There was a steady trickle of birds all morning that must have cumulatively numbered over a hundred, small groups - threes or fours, but the occasional group of 10+ heading in a northerly direction.  Visible migration over East London.

The first quality bird were three Scaup, a drake and two female birds still present, but no sign of the fourth seen yesterday.  Continuing toward the north end, a bright shape appeared distantly into view along the eastern bank.  A smart male Northern Wheatear fed actively along the grass path - such a stunning bird.  I spent a few minutes observing its syncopated movements, hopping down onto the margins before it flew toward the north end where I failed to relocate it.



The sun was still shining, but the warmth was being tempered by the cool breeze.  A pair of Kestrel flew across the reservoir, two Shelduck swam lazily close to the south end, and four Goldeneye (two pairs) lingered.

Heading toward the southern complex, I picked up a Common Buzzard flying reasonably low beyond the Maynards on the east side.

The raptor count hit three with a displaying pair of Sparrowhawk.  The male was fascinating to watch, circling while courting slow deliberate wingbeats.

Heading onto East Warwick, development was underway on the north-west corner - perhaps where the carousel will be located.  A couple of works vehicles drove round the bank but I persevered and chose to park my posterior on the far bank and pin my eyes to the sky.

There were a lot of high flying gulls, scanning through them, I surprisingly picked up a Red Kite that soared high and in a southerly direction.  I lay back and pointed the camera skyward.



With this sighting, it was conceivable that more raptors may cruise by.  Subsequently there were perhaps two more Common Buzzard, the latter of these was particularly high so may have involved different individuals considering the one seen earlier.


Raptor number five was a boisterous female Peregrine that flew low across East Warwick before gaining height toward the west.

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