Friday 3 February 2012

Actually bird-related

One of the comments from the last post made mockery of that fact that this blog is called Wanstead Birder. I can see why. So, rather than another right-wing rant (though Raymond, if you're reading, I am still cross) I thought I might actually write about birds wot I have seen. And there have actually been quite a few.

Jubilee Pond

If you live in the UK, you will not have failed to notice that it's been a little bit nippy of late. As I stunningly predicted, this change in the weather caused a little bit of bird movement. As I have been doing almost daily, I checked the Basin on the way back from the school run. This is probably the deepest body of water in Wanstead, and generally freezes last, so it's always a good shout for something good. Usually therefore it produces nothing at all, however on Wednesday, what should be bobbing about with the massed Gadwall but two drake Wigeon. Get in, as they say - just about annual, though I have gone a year without seeing one. I immediately texted out the happy news, and my message crossed in mid-whatever it crosses with a message from Nick about a Lapwing flying somewhere near my house that I wasn't at. Then he rang, with news of 12 Lapwing briefly on the fairground flats (where shortly there will be a large police station). I had one last scan, during which I didn't pick up a Smew hiding, and high-tailed it home there to start work look out of the window for Lapwings. It didn't take long, and my third quick glance out picked up five or six not really going in any direction at all. A little later I picked up a further ten heading west, God knows how many I might have seen had I been able to stare out all day, or better still, actually get out on the Flats. Mind you, for patch year-listing purposes, one is good enough.

The following day, Thursday, the Wigeon were gone, but I added another 15 Lapwing - my cup overfloweth - I've now seen stacks of Lapwing in Wanstead, and most of them have been from the house. On both days I picked up a GBB Gull, as well as one this morning whilst on the way to the bus, and on Wednesday I also got a presumed Meadow Pipit, very unusual at this time of year. Still no Geese or Swans, but the longer this big freeze continues in Europe, the more chance I have got.

Habitat in use

This morning I was back in Canary Wharf. Another clear day, I had high hopes of adding Lapwing, but I only managed half an hour and didn't see any. It did turn out to rather fantastic though, as just as I was heading back into the office a finch flew over my head. It didn't call, but it had seemed quite chunky, which meant it was good. I eventually tracked it down to the trees around Westferry Circus and was delighted to find three Greenfinches, two males and female. When was the last time you were delighted to find a Greenfinch? Seriously, birding a wasteland can sometimes be pretty cool. I was sure that it had to be a patch tick, but on consulting my impeccable records, it turns out I saw 11 on January 5th 2009. 11? Wow! How I have no recollection of them at all, I have no idea. Mega.
This Black-headed Gull was so cold it allowed me to get ridiculously close with just a 200mm lens

1 comment:

  1. In fairness, the blog is called 'Wanstead Birder' and not 'Wanstead Birding'. It would be reasonable of the original poster, therefore, to assume that the blog will be about the birder who lives in Wanstead, rather than the birding that may or may not go on there.

    And Raymond can stick a boot in it.