Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waterworks - Garganey

The rain of recent days has drawn in a deluge of migrants up and down the country with coastal areas faring well with some impressive numbers of passerines and passing seabirds.  But for us city folk, there's stuff to find too and with a bit of luck, something like a Garganey could just turn up on a local patch somewhere.  In fact, The Waterworks struck Garganey gold today with this skittish individual that appeared across my eyeline as I was watching the Teal.  Camera in hand, I snapped a couple of shots before it disappeared into the reeds at the back of Bed 13.  One of those moments when I began to question what I had just seen but thankfully the couple of shots confirmed that I hadn't gone completely mad.  A bit lucky but that's fine by me. (Postscript - The Garganey was first seen and photographed on the 20th August by @suzehu so maybe not so fortuitous after all.  Also cursing my luck on hearing a probable calling Redstart by the paddocks and not following it up.)


Not sure how I managed to miss the Spotted Flycatchers, but there was a single Gadwall, a female Shoveler, and around six Teal there.  A flock of House Martin were feeding low over the hide complex.

Heading over to the Marshes, there were three Northern Wheatear on the paddocks, two moulting adult males and a female.  There was a bit of disturbance there but were still present on my wander back.

The juvenile Kestrel were in feeding frenzy mode, with one seen later with a successful catch.

There were two Whinchat in the Cow Field, quite distant and hard to pick up in the breeze.  Four Swallow were also in flight, a family group that may have been the local breeders.

This Teal was a peculiar sight along the path adjacent to the Paddocks.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Therapy in Wildlife

It's been a tough few days.  Remaining positive has been a challenge and being stuck at home was driving me a bit mad.  So we booked late and headed down to Eastbourne for a some sea-air therapy and a change of scenery.

Well the change was good but unfortunately made no difference to my condition.  We did manage to get out and about, albeit at a very slow pace - there are some lovely areas along this stretch of coastline.

Splash Point had a few remaining Kittiwake, with a few tri-coloured juveniles still favouring the cliffside.  A couple of Fulmar glided past, and a number of Gannet were feeding off-shore.  No rare seabirds but a nice spot to sit and relax.

The highlight was a half hour walk from the Cuckmere Inn along the valley path.  Just wish I had more energy because there were passerines here.

Most noteworthy were at least nine Whinchat perched along a line of scrub adjacent to a fenceline.  A juvenile Northern Wheatear was here too and I am sure there was something special lurking within the scrub.  At least eight Yellow Wagtail flew over and a Greenshank was seen feeding at the end of a creek along with 10 Teal.  A Painted Lady battled the breeze along the path.  Two Green Sandpiper then flew past, and a Common Buzzard was seen soaring against an arboreal backdrop.

It's therapy in wildlife and I love it.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Walthamstow Marshes

The highlight of a lone adult Swallow flying low south over the Marshes was symptomatic of the lack of migrants this morning.  The overnight rain did nothing to down excitable numbers of passerines with four Willow Warbler seen on the northside (three singers), and two Lesser Whitethroat along the concrete fenceline between the paddocks and the path.

There were a handful of common warblers in the scrub and hirundines over but nothing more to raise the pulse.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Much like yesterday but a much cooler feel in the air with a brisk south-westerly.  The three Common Scoter remained on Lockwood, as for the drake with that bright yellow bill, they do look dapper.

Elsewhere there was a minimum of six Common Sandpiper, a Willow Warbler flew through the treeline on the eastern side, a Kingfisher shot off low over Low Maynard, and two Swift were seen flying low over the Banbury.

The relief channel looks great for a wader or two at the top of Lockwood but drew a blank today.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Walthamstow Reservoirs - Common Scoter

Having been flat-bound for the last few days, it took a local rare to provide the nitro that I needed to get out in the beautiful sunshine.  It's hard work these days.

Twitter provided the info, @porthkillier the finder, and @randombirder cashing in on other people's hard work.

Straight onto Lockwood, and the three Common Scoter (one drake, two fem/imm), were located in with the large raft of Tufted Duck before swimming closer to the eastern edge.  This represented one of my targets for London so was pleased to see this on the patch.

Also on site was a juvenile Northern Wheatear, three Common Sandpiper, two Swallow flew south, and a Kingfisher on Low Maynard.

A quick visit to the Waterworks and half a dozen Swift were still around the pitch and putt.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Walthamstow Reservoirs

Arriving mid-afternoon on Lockwood as the first phase of storms had past, there was much optimism in connecting with something displaced as a result of the lively weather.

Limited rewards were a single Lapwing that had settled on the shoreline before taking off high before heading south.  Three Common Sandpiper were down in number from previous days, and my first Green Sandpiper of the autumn was seen feeding along the relief channel at the north-end of Lockwood.  There were also two Shoveler on the northside, and a juvenile Greater Black Backed Gull flew in.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Walthamstow Reservoirs - Black Tern

It was my intention to head down to the ressies at some point this afternoon after visits to the hospital and doctor in the morning.  This was hastened by the news of a Black Tern on Lockwood, which was picked up on High Maynard at just after 2pm.  Settling down on the bank just past the weir, the Tern was exceedingly flighty, making rapid sorties back and forth with frequent feeding activity with it's diagnostic arced flight pattern as it darted towards the water.  An extremely elegant flyer.  A first for the patch and a first for London so this was well overdue.

Half a dozen Common Sandpiper remained, and a Kingfisher was seen on Lower Maynard.

A single Common Sandpiper was present on East Warwick.

Also present was an increase of 14 Shoveler, and a calling Goldcrest from the scrub on the westside.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Walthamstow Reservoirs - Black-Tailed Godwit

A late morning amble onto the reservoirs and I immediately bumped into Jamie Partridge who coerced me into joining him for a lethargic jaunt around Lockwood.

The morning was warm and still, humidity still high which made for a particularly pleasant day to be out and about.  Lockwood itself was like a millpond with a few Gulls loafing about on the water and half a dozen Common Tern screeching overhead.  A minimum of five Common Sandpiper were flushed from the eastern foreshore and another was later seen on High Maynard.  A bright Willow Warbler sang from within the treeline.

Satisfied with our minimal exertions, we decided against walking all the way round the ressie and traipsed slowly back toward the car park.  Three birds appeared from the west, and they had a promising look about them so immediately pinned my eyes skyward to confirm three Black-Tailed Godwit flying firstly west, before turning south and off into the distance.  They did appear to turn back so was a chance they could have landed on the southern complex but we later drew a blank on these.  A patch first for both of us and my first ever 'large' wader for my local.

Buoyed by the sighting, we later picked up a very smart Jersey Tiger Moth in trees on the bank of Lower Maynard, where a brief Hobby flew through.

After some sustenance at the Ferry Boat, we headed down onto the southside.  Trailing onto the track between No.1 and No.2, a large flock of Titmice held a few Chiffchaff, at least two Willow Warbler including one singer, and a minimum of two Lesser Whitehroat that brought my yearly patch total up to 100.

East Warwick had a minimum of nine Shoveler (JP had 12 earlier), a single Common Sandpiper, and an adult Greater Black Backed Gull.  Around 40 Linnet were favouring the scrub adjacent to the railway line.

Also extremely noteworthy were the two Whimbrel seen by JP earlier on in the morning.