Saturday 25 April 2015


Today has been epic. No, I didn't go and twitch a Heron. Nor a Godwit. Nope, today was all about the patch, the only place I wanted to be. And it was all about Warblers. It started off well, with yesterday's (and likely last year's) Garden Warbler singing away in Motorcycle Wood. With this tick under the belt I wandered over to the Vizmig Point, discovering that my timing was very poor as I arrived to see Nick with three coffees, and two other patch workers already present. Oh well. We chewed the fat a while, and then Tony left to twitch the Garden Warbler. Nervously, as it's always dangerous heading off solo and leaving a group of us. It turned out exactly the opposite though, as Dan, Nick, Bob and I were halfway towards Alex when Tony called with news of a singing Wood Warbler next to Motorcycle Wood*. Wow! A great bird anywhere, let alone the patch. We all hurried over there, though Nick and Bob didn't have quite the spring in their step that Dan and I did. How so? You guessed it, another massive grip-back was about to occur!

Dan I started running. Not really. We casually wandered over there, and after a temporary period of AWOL, the fantastic trill rang out from the copse. Ooof, and what a beauty it was! With rain beginning to fall reasonably heavily, the bird kept low and fed constantly, every now and then letting out a shimmering trill. Stu and Tim turned up to enjoy this special treat, as did Hawky - silky white underside, lemon yellow chest - stunning. Sadly I don't have anything to show you as I had looked outside and decided that the dark skies indicated a cameraless morning. Nevermind - I suggest you head over to Tony's blog for a peek of what I mean. Warblers in general are pretty good, but Wood Warbler - singing Wood Warblers - are epic. We probably watched it for an hour before the rain started to ease and thoughts turned to what else what might be out there. LOTS more Warblers as it turned out. And a male Whinchat and three Wheatears.

Steve, this is TWO

I picked up House Martin near Esso Copse, and then hitched a ride with joint second Wanstead lister (!) Bob over to the OSW, who was desperate enough to be driving over there for a Sedge Warbler recently found by Dan, and stopped when he saw us. This took a bit of locating and never really got going, but along with a Little Egret saw me hit 91 for the year. Back to Heronry for the year's first Common Sandpiper, and then a short stroll over to Shoulder of Mutton for the recently returned Reed Warbler. totting it up, I worked out that this was the eight Warbler species for the day, and the only bird missing was Willow Warbler. Luckily I know where one of those is, and so back off to the Flats I trundled. Sure enough, the Brick Pit copse bird was in full song, which made it nine for the day (the others being Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat). Can I count Goldcrest as a Warbler? I hope so!

* Motorcycle Wood is so-called because many years ago the local youf set fire to a moped there. Its blackened frame remained for just long enough to give name to the copse, but visitors now are no doubt rather confused. Anyway, now you know.

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