The snow was far more impressive this morning that I had imagined that it would be. I didn't get up especially early, but the way the day was going to pan out was made fairly clear during family breakfast, when three Egyptian Geese flew over. Hurrah! Lucky I didn't tick those ones the other day eh?! I left the house with a broad smile on my face. Won't be long, I said, just going to check a few of the ponds for rare sawbills, and then I'll be right back. By the time I crawled sheepishly back in at about half three, I'd had an absolute stunner.
Started off at the Basin - heaving with ducks, though nothing out of the norm. Yesterday's Wigeon, present at dusk, had gone over night, but there were good numbers of Gadwall, Pochard and Tuftie. A greenkeeper was disappointingly present (why?), so the trespassing I had in mind had to be postponed, and instead I hastened to Heronry. There was a still a bit of open water, so I busied myself taking pictures of very cold birds. Whilst doing that a Grey Wag flew in, a Kingfisher flew past, and a Snipe flew over - all good birds. Steve then pitched up having walked the Roding, and so I suggested we head down to the Flats where we might get some wide horizons - Lapwing, I said confidently, could be on the cards.
We had been on the Flats perhaps ten minutes when a flock of 25 Lapwing flew over our heads going west. Win. About two minutes later another 58 went over, followed by another 43. In the space of five minutes my Wanstead Lapwing count had almost trebled. Walking to meet Nick over the other side, another 19 came by, and as we stood chewing the fat, another 13 came over, as well as two Snipe. My wader-lust sated, I headed for home. Two minutes later Nick called - 100+ Lapwings coming your way. Wanstead's biggest flock of Lapwings ever then flew across my bins, too many to count, I got to 120 before they were lost and was only 2/3rds of the way along the line. Trying to pick them up in the grey sky, another group of 40+ hove into view. What on earth was going on? That took my day total to 320 birds!
|The bird has a metal ring on its left leg. Is the Ilford bird ringed?|
To further bore you with numbers, my Lapwing day count ended up at 373 - to think that a week ago it was 46 in six years. Both the Snipe and the Plover were patch ticks, and the Geese were, ahem, a garden tick. Yesterday saw the biggest group of Wigeon I've seen here, and two lifers down in Sussex. A staggering weekend by anyone's standards. What will tomorrow bring?
Oh, and I almost forgot to metion the Great White Egret on Heronry. I know they're getting commoner, but to get one in Wanstead was amazing.
|Tall, slim, white, with a yellowish beak. Not sure what else it could be?|