I have just one piece of advice for anyone thinking of birding in Wanstead, and it is this: Never let Nick out of your sight. Not for a second, for even if you've spent the whole day with him he will go and find something good the moment you part company. Today he pretended he was off to Hyde Park to twitch the Bearded Tits, but instead went and found Goosander on the patch. I had thought I was pretty safe, and with a prior engagement in town, had headed for home not five minutes earlier. Bosh, another grip off.
In fact today was pretty grippy most of the way through. Bob initially thought he had managed to add himself to one of my favourite lists, namely the "People who have seen Woodlark on the patch who are not me" list, but on reflection cannot be sure, and then contrived to see both a Golden Plover and two Linnet over by Jubilee Pond. To make certain I saw neither of them he sent me off to the Alex to look for them and blamed it on old age - a likely story. Meanwhile Dan scooped a flock of Lapwing over by Alex that I didn't see either... it was all looking fairly bleak. Linnet is regular in autumn, not too worried about them, but Goosander I've seen just twice, and Golden Plover just once - these could be tricky birds to get back. Luckily the day wasn't a complete grip-off as the Lapwing story ended happily when I picked up another flock just a short while later - probably around 40 birds - and then a singleton over the Park. Little Egret on the Roding was another patch year-tick, so I am now sitting pretty on 66. The overall patch list is 76 though, so somehow I am 10 down within three weeks - frankly this is a tad worrying. I guess I shall just have to reconcile myself to seeing the least of anyone. Sniff.