Saturday 15 August 2015

Pied Hangover

Today started off extremely badly with a stinking hangover. Most other Wanstead birders were feeling similarly terrible after a night down the pub saying farewell to Dan, and saying hello to a lot of beer. Apart from Tony. Amazingly TB managed to be on the patch by about 7am, whilst the rest of us who actually live here were all lying at home groaning. By half seven, and with the fug clearing (slightly!) he picked out a Pied Flycatcher in the limes on the SSSI. Cue a text message that had us equally cursing, equally excited. Was it a wind up perhaps, and Tony was in fact enjoying an early morning cup of tea in South Woodford? 

I cracked, but it took me at least half an hour to get out of the house, and staggering towards the lime trees I wondered if I hadn't made a big mistake. With gaseous explosions propelling me ever more quickly there, I soon found Tony staking out a tree. I went a stood under it for a few moments to relieve the pressure but no small black and white birds fell out. Bob and James pitched up too, Bob keen for a second bite of the cherry, but we couldn't find it again and so wandered off to Long Wood. Remarkably quiet, and my hangover began to return.

With the day warming up we felt that perhaps the Flycatcher might have started feeding, so returned over the other side for a second crack. This time James picks it up pretty quickly, low in the birches with various Phylloscs, and we get some brief views. Smart bird, amazingly my sixth in Wanstead. Admittedly this is in over ten years so they're hardly what you might call common, but I still think that's a pretty good strike rate for London. But then again this is Wanstead, one of the greatest urban patches on earth. You don't believe me? How does three Wrynecks, two Stone-Curlew, 57 Spotted Flycatchers, 27 Ring Ouzels and 24 Redstarts sound? Not to mention 203 Wheatears

Didn't get a photo, left that to the nouveau paparazzi, however here's a Wanstead bird from 2012

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