From our Community Correspondent
Dedicated local birder Jonathan Lethbridge today reached 100 species for 2009 in Wanstead, notching up a Woodcock, a type of wading bird that in fact lives in woodland. When asked about his achievement, he was typically modest. "I deserve it. I've been flogging this patch day in day out for months now, declining offers from friends to twitch rare birds on an almost daily basis. My marriage has suffered, my children have suffered, my BOU list has suffered, but it's all been worth it. I didn't think I was going to make 100, I really didn't, but that Woodcock this morning was magic! I couldn't believe it, I'd been out on the Flats for an hour in the snow, not really seeing much at all, when suddenly it flew right in front of me and pitched down in Long Wood somewhere. I immediately called Mrs L - that's my wife - to tell her the good news and she was ecstatic too!" Mr Lethbridge then called some local birders whom he thought might be interested as well. One of them joined him, and together the two men entered Long Wood to see if they could find the Woodcock - not often you can safely say that - but unfortunately it didn't reappear. This is the 105th species that Mr Lethbridge has found in Wanstead, and he is evidently rather pleased. "I've never been much of a twitcher, I mainly just stay local. I'm not interested in the rarer stuff like Pterodroma petrels (a type of rare seabird), funny Bee-eaters and the like. Those twitcher-folk can keep them! Nothing makes me happier than getting a new bird on my local patch, and this is just reward for the many hours spent tramping around it this year instead of zooming around the country like a nutter in pursuit of a meaningless year list."