Monday 17 May 2010

Stopping Hopping

Wanstead is sensational! But you knew that already. I am on a roll, I have just had another patch tick. If you're counting, and I most definitely am, that is two in four days. TWO. Unbelievable. I spent the day at Rainham today - in fact let me start there, as today is a two-tick day. I had been at the raptor watch point until the children became bored (took longer than you might think, the power of gravel), whereupon we went to the playground. Luckily I had kept hold of my radio, as no sooner had we got there when the guys got onto a Red Kite over Wennington. I had just enough time to dash up to the sea wall, get directions from Howard and get it in the scope, before it dipped below the tip. My 166th tick for Rainham, and 137th for the year. Yes, I am counting.... But why did I mention I Rainham?

Well, on the short walk to the hide before the girls determined that was as far as we were going, I probably heard about ten Reed Warblers. Yesterday, on the dawn chorus walk, I probably heard upwards of 40. I spent an hour taking photographs of one of them. So you would think that when I got a text from Tim tonight, saying that he had found a Reed Warbler in the Old Sewage Works, that I might I have shrugged dismissively, and carried on eating dinner?

Hah! I was on my bike within two minutes, and attained the heady heights of 22mph through suburban Wanstead. This is no mean feat, and perhaps this blog does not convey this very well, but I am horribly unfit. How many photos of me do you see up here? Precisely. Although I have had a haircut recently. Anyway, I arrived in one piece, glowing slightly, and met up with Tim. Predictably, where before there had been a steady "gurr gurr gurr", there was instead nothing at all. The Roding burbled, the A406 hummed. And then suddenly, there it was on the edge of some dead foliage. It stayed in view for perhaps twenty seconds, and then disappeared into cover and started singing. Get in!!

It looked very much like this, the bird from Rainham yesterday. I need no encouragement whatsoever to litter the internet with Reed Warbler photographs. This being Wanstead however, the bird was bigger and shinier. And rose-tinted.

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