Thursday, 10 May 2012

Peanuts at Canary Wharf

My first spot of birding in Canary Wharf for a while, and an early start too - once I had confirmed Wanstead was dead. This gave me a full hour in the concrete birding mecca, and I was determined to see a Swift, there have been loads around lately. I should have known better. When I used to bird East India Dock, Swift was a very difficult one to get, so why should Canary Wharf, just around the corner, be any better? Well it wasn't. But I did score heavily, and but for some more powerful bins and a bit more string, could have done even better.

I was minding my own business down at the eastern end of the patch, watching a couple, then three, Common Terns, and scanning the sky for distant specs when a Peregrine zoomed by - not in a stoop but properly motoring nonetheless. It arced back around and then I could see a second bird. I wondered for a moment if it was a male Peregrine and I had first seen the female, but when it banked it became a Hobby. My views were brief, the Peregrine was most unhappy with it's presence, and it disappeared off towards the river. Remarkably it came back again a few minutes later, and again was seen off by the Peregrine, though less determinedly this time - not that it needed to, I think it had got the message - this time it went off towards Bow Creek and didn't come back. I wonder what it was doing in Canary Wharf? There is literally nothing for it to eat, so my assumption is a bird still on passage. A fine patch tick though, never managed one at the Dock that I can recall. Shame that I had no camera, I might have got them both in one shot, they were definitely both in the bins at the same time.

I persevered from my watchpoint, logging an annoyingly unidentifiable finch flock of seven birds, two Starlings, two unidentified small passerines near Billingsgate that may have been Sparrows but I will never know, and worst of all, a distant Wader heading towards Bow Creek from the river that had I been forced to slap a name on it I might have called it a Green Sandpiper. Definitely had flashes of white, contrasting with dark, but frankly it could have been any number of things at that range. I may bring my little travel scope next time, it could prove invaluable in securing the packet of peanuts I seem to working far too hard for. 

Other notable sightings were a pair of Tufted Duck actually from my office window (a sub-list, if you will) and the Greylags are still knocking about. So, having updated the challenge scores, it's 34 plays 36, with good 'ol CW lagging behind. A financial megatropolis it might be, a birding mega hotspot it most definitely it is not. But that makes it that much more satisfying when you do actually get something. I wonder if I'll get to 40?

Random Coot

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