Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Patch overflowing with Waders

Wanstead is not known for Waders. Regular readers will recall that when a humble Dunlin visited the patch last year, it sparked a twitch of epic proportions. Local birders not able to drop everything at 0.2 seconds notice and hoon it down to Jubilee Pond were left squirming in their office chairs, producitivity diminishing to the point where their bosses said "oh just go then", but happily the bird stayed all day and we were all able to marvel at its, well, Dunlinness.

This year we're doing rather well. Though I doubt that the Stone Curlew will be topped, with a distinct lack of suitable habitat we've also had several Snipe, a Common Sandpiper, a Little Ringed Plover, and several Lapwings. We're basically up there with Rainham as the premier site in London for Waders. Today however we edged in front, with a stonking Wood Sandpiper on the Bandstand (Angel) pond. Wood Sand is basically annual, though more usually in summer, but they rarely show well, so it was a pleasure to finally see one properly on the patch. 

Look at that beauty! More importantly, look at that habitat! Appreciate its supreme attractiveness to Waders! Appreciate it while you can though, because it will soon be gone. Bandstand Pond is basically a very small and shallow depression at the southern end of the Flats, right next to the main road, and very disturbed. It is deep enough in winter to host dabbling ducks and gulls, but it typically evaporates completely by early summer. I'd estimate that this morning it was about 8cm deep in the very middle. It's been a glorious sunny day today, so it's probably now about 7cm, and with the fine weather set to continue, will likely be gone by the end of the week. But for now it is our very own (and very productive) wader scrape. 

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