Saturday 28 November 2015

Firecrest and Dr Who in Bush Wood

New fact learned today: Bob is capable of light-speed and quite possibly time travel. Handy trick to have up your sleeve if you're a birder, and frankly explains a lot. I'd just found a Firecrest in Bush Wood and had texted the news when all of a sudden my phone rang and there was Bob, literally the other side of the bush. Was that the zap of a lightning bolt? I'm not entirely certain but it was remarkable.

"Jono, are you the other side of this bush?" 
"Er, I don't know, hang on, I'll shout.....HULLO!!"
"Yes I am!"
"Are you playing Firecrest as I think I may have just heard one in this bush"
"No I'm not, but you have just heard one and i'm looking at it!" 


"Oh hi Jono, where is it?"
"How did you do that?"
"Oh, er, well, you know...."
"Right, well now you're here it was just round this trunk...."

And there it was, in fact there two were, chasing each other around and generally being amazing. I marked the spot with a secret birdy sign, and together we continued around Bush Wood, Bob on foot this time, hoping for Treecreeper or Woodcock but finding neither. 

Woodcock was the whole reason I was in Bush Wood in the first place, as I still need it for the patch year list. I'd put the word out and two hundred people had come to help me look. I hadn't told them to dress up in stupid clothes but I wasn't going to argue. I blew my whistle and they all charged into Bush Wood and started doing circuits while I stood patiently on the edge waiting for Woodcock to fly out. Sadly not even this extreme tactic worked, and when my army of flushers got bored and ran off, I ventured off-piste to the north-east of the pond just in case. As I fought my way through the brambles and holly and trod on no Woodcocks, it occured to me that this was historically one of the best areas for patch Firecrests, and a few years ago I'd seen up to four birds in here. Every other site in London has got wintering birds at the moment, where are ours? Heaps of various Tits and Goldcrests doing circuits, a few Woodpeckers, and suddenly, low in a Holly, a Firecrest! I could barely believe it, after all this place is regularly surveyed.....;-)  (sorry about that Mr H)..... So I put the news out via text and within about two seconds Bob teleported in.

Remarkably these are the first Firecrest on the patch this year, we all managed to miss them in the early winter season. With a couple of spring records we did wonder a couple years back if they bred on patch but couldn't really find any evidence either way so we assume not. Still, glad they have returned, and this glorious find takes me to 112 for the year, somewhat against the odds but I'm firmly in the groove now. I'll no doubt be pottering around there tomorrow seeing if I can't add to the total. Bob meanwhile will be looking for Common Tern back in June.

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