Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Patch

You could not have dragged me from the patch this weekend for love nor money. Nor a Greater Yellowlegs in Aberdeen, nor a Laughing Gull in Cumbria. With the arrival of the first Wheatears on Friday, the big question was would we get any more? We did! Three yesterday and three today - the Wheatear tap has been turned on. But that's not all - there have been other migrants too, two yearticks no less.

I was idly chatting to Tim, Steve and a visitor called Alan near the tea hut. Can't remember what we were talking about - the economy, probably - when I spotted a speck. I expected it to be a Sparrowhawk, and then when I got bins on it, expected it to be a Buzzard. Then it banked a bit, showing a long and forked tail, and so I expected it to be a Red Kite. And it was! Like clockwork - this was my fourth Red Kite in Wanstead, and all four have been in the last two weeks of March. For whatever reason, that's when Red Kites go a'wandering, and so this counts as a migrant. Not an easy bird to get over here, though my recent success shows that they're increasing. Mid-morning and I had to be back so I shuffled off home. A quick glance at Shoulder of Mutton and what should be on there but a pair of Mandarin. Presumably the same pair as last weekend, and so a great sign that they are still around. They didn't hang about and within about ten seconds were winging their way over to the Basin or the Ornamental Water.

Extra-good photo, extra-big copyright mark....

Today I was once again out relatively early, though with Wheatear safely under the belt I am not rising quite as early any more. A couple of Wheatears were showing nicely near the Model Aircraft Field, and so when Stu called me from near the road I excitedly told him about them. No, really. That's nice he said, I'll come and have a look. Have you seen this Stonechat over here? Gah! I hadn't, but I had within about thirty seconds. Another migrant, and another welcome year tick!

Garden Buzzard action

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