Saturday 19 December 2015

Only in Wanstead...

So today I am out on the Flats photographing a bird when a guy bowls up, climbs the tree the bird is in, and starts playing music and taking selfiesThis could only happen in Wanstead of course, which rarely if ever ceases to amaze me with unlikely scenarios for fucking me over, but this is a proper outlier. And so was the guy I have to say, and I beat a swift retreat. A new way to ruin to my birding experience that frankly I had never considered up until this point, but if you're in need of a Firecrest for your yearlist it makes finding one a lot easier. Just head over to Long Wood and listen for strains of "Buffalo Solider".....

A shame as it was going very well, with the bird pretty keen on my high-pitched pishing, but there you go. One day I will go live somewhere in complete solitude, it will just be me and the birds. And all the joggers, lunatics, incontinent dogs, aggressive dog owners, model plane fliers, the Wednesday evening crowd and everyone else, including now drugged-up arboreal hipsters, who delight in spoiling my all-too-brief periods of relaxation will be nowhere to be seen. And finally I will get five minutes of peace. Fair enough, it's London and London's busy, but even so I reckon I'm massively unlucky.

That said, there are also moments of immense good fortune. For several weeks now I've been trying to find Woodcock on the patch. Wintering birds are now back, and having missed them several times earlier on in the year, it's a much-needed patch year tick and also the bird that will see me finally overtake Gaucho Bob for 2015. I had planned to stake out the Golf Course this evening, but as I was watching the Firecrest a bird flew directly past me, barreling through Long Wood, jinking spectacularly through the branches and off to the east. Exhilarated doesn't come close to how I felt - how jammy am I?! Or should that be jammin'?


  1. er....103.60%?? Where did that come from? Cue fat lads in Ingerland strips singing "its coming home, its coming home" etc outside Chateau L??

  2. Hi Jono. I've deleted the 'reactive post' on my blog. Reading it back my pomposity was obvious, plus, until I have actually sampled a few days birding at Wanstead, how can I possibly comment. Cheers, Steve.

  3. Ah I'm thick skinned enough you could have left it. It occurred to me that the one time visitor would probably think it was great, especially on one of those magic days in spring or autumn, but to be properly worn down as I and my fellow long term patchers are, you need to have experienced the steady degradation over the years. I should probably moan less, but I am so fed up of the disturbance and the ridiculously selfish attitudes that have gradually killed off what was by London standards a decent breeding population of Solaris. The day will come soon where that fantastic shrill and high pitched burble from a dot hanging on the fresh spring breeze is no more, and then see what I write! (Ps our action is not limited to me whinging, we have tried all sorts, however the landowner is extremely lacklustre in providing any protection, limited messaging and education, and zero enforcement. The birders try and spread the word, we are ignored or abused. Welcome to London!)

    1. Where Solaris is auto text for skylark, obviously.....

  4. Jonathan,
    Its the same here in Hadlow (near Tonbridge) Any person reading my blog would think ''what a great patch he's got'', but it suffers all of what you describe in your comment above :-(