Friday 21 March 2014

Key Date

March 15th - March 20th - March 30th - March 16th - March 23rd - March 20th

I am sure you can see where this post is headed. Inevitable, sorry. The dates above are the Wheatear arrival dates on Wanstead Flats for the last six years, and the final date is yesterday's. Which means I've seen a Wheatear! I've been finding it a massive struggle to get up in the morning, but knowing that it's absolutely prime time has been a great motivator. Days of nothing seemed to go by, but finally on Thursday morning all those mornings of trudgery paid off when Tim found the first one. I was mere yards away and soon relocated it on one of the cut areas. A spanking male! Bob vectored in on it pretty quickly, and Marco too. Nick, alas, was at work, as was Dan, but I'm sure they'll pop out at the weekend and give it a good bash.

A glorious bird, fresh in and looking absolutely pukka and full of the joys of spring. It was somewhat flighty, nervous no doubt of the high crime rates in East London, but I was on the way to work and thus had no camera so it mattered not. Great views of the bird as it sat, just like its predecessor's, on a barrage balloon hitch, or perched on a tussock.  It has started, and I'm very happy. At last. Work has been typically manic, but seeing this African wanderer before I got to my desk that morning was very special. The first one is always a joy, the experience I look forward to each year perhaps more than any other. I've probably mentioned that before, and this year was no different. Simply brilliant, and the small group of us lapped it up. May there be many more.

This is my favourite photo of a Wheatear from Wanstead Flats. Hoping to do something similar at the weekend!

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