Sunday 19 August 2012

Wanstead on Fire

It is remarkably hot, and even slim young people like me have been suffering. God knows what it must be like to be old in this weather, or overweight. Yuk. By about half nine in the morning the patch has been sweltering, and I have to confess to abandoning it for the relative comfort of home and a cold shower. Yesterday Nick found a Pied Flycatcher at about two in the afternoon. Soporific, I could not move, despite the quality. I reasoned that there might be another at a cooler time of day....

Wanstead is in London. We are truly lucky to consistently get Whinchats, Wheatears, Ring Ouzels, Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers and Pied Flycatchers on an annual basis.
I love it when a plan comes together. I had finally managed to get my act in gear and head out this morning when a message from Dan informed me of, guess what, a Pied Flycatcher in Long Wood. I hastened over there to find a twitch in full swing - Nick, Steve, Stu, Tony and Dan (though Dan, who found it, cannot really be said to have been part of the twitch). The Flycatcher had done a bunk, but this is typical - all Pied Flycatchers I have seen tend to do circuits of a feeding area, and sure enough, though it took some time, I relocated it in the low middle of Long Wood after about an hour. Harry and Barry turned up a short while later, as they tend to do when we get something good, and it showed pretty well for them too. Another guy then turned up to twitch it as well, and said he'd had Tree Pipits in one of the copses. Yes, plural Tree Pipits. No, not allowed. You can't just turn up on somebody else's patch for the first time and claim a species that none of the patchworkers have yet seen, and so even though I have precisely no idea as to his Anthus experience, they unfortunately have to go down as Meadow Pipits. Harsh, but rules are rules. As soon as one of us sees, or more ideally hears a Tree Pipit, then we may count them retrospectively, but for now, whoever you are, I'm really sorry. Martin Garner could have turned up and I wouldn't have counted them either if that helps soften the blow. Do come back though, the more the merrier, and we are a welcoming bunch.

L-R Dan, Nick, Stu, Steve
We all oohed and aahed at the Pied Flycatcher, they are brilliant birds. It was a different bird to yesterday's one, and this is now my fourth in eight years, so a proper scarcity. The timing is spot on as well - last year's bird was on August 21st, with another (or possibly the same) on August 24th. A couple of Spotted Flycatchers were knocking around as well, again right on time - we're getting towards double figures for this autumn now. If any statisticians are reading, that's bird 115 for the collective yearlist, and 105 for me. There's still a lot of the autumn to come, though I'm struggling to think what else we might get. Maybe a Tree Pipit....

1 comment:

  1. Nice set Jonathan, still awaiting my first Pied Fly of the year....... And I'm on the coast!