Tuesday 7 February 2017

Onwards and upwards

The year ticks keep flowing. I spent an hour on Saturday afternoon dipping (or rather, not finding) Treecreeper in Bush Wood. I walked many circuits, bumping my daily mileage in the process, but drew a blank. Perhaps because it was late in the day, perhaps because the Treecreeper was also doing a circuit but a hundred yards in front of me. Whatever, no dice, an hour wasted. I tried again on Sunday morning also to no avail. Treecreeper is for the most part one of the winter species, a bird you really need to connect with early on, or so we think. Maybe it’s because in the exuberance of a fresh year list we try and get it early doors and then close our ears to all noises that might be Treecreeper for the rest of the year.

I tried again yesterday morning and struck gold almost straight away. I had tried what I consider the favoured paths, the two that run west to east from the dried-up pond to the main north-south ride. This is the area that the Firecrests also like, but I only heard Goldcrests. The next best area is a slightly smaller ride that runs between the eastern side of the Quaker complex and the aforementioned dried-up pond, i.e. not very far as the Treecreeper flies. I saw the bird before I heard it, flying ahead of me between two trees. I’d only been seeing Tits and a few Goldcrests, so this immediately struck me as being different. Excitingly different, and you can’t often say that about a Treecreeper.

Now a 16-35mm wide-angle lens isn’t ideal for photographing small birds, but I like to think that you don’t visit here just for the photos. But it is there. For ease of scrutiny and audit purposes I’ve taken the 3 pixels it inhabits and blown it up for you. Don't say I don't go that extra mile. As I am sure I have mentioned Treecreeper used to be a rare bird in Wanstead. Or rather it was once common, but at the point I moved here had inexplicably disappeared. You can probably search through my blog archives and chart my amazement at why they were not here in numbers given what appears to be perfect habitat, and I still remember very vividly the day I found my first Treecreeper in Reservoir Wood, and the mass twitch that ensued. Tim remains grateful to this day. Since then they seem to be regaining a foothold, and along with Nuthatch are definitely on the up. Nuthatch of course is somewhat less subtle so it is very difficult to say if it is returning faster, but on any given day I would expect to be able to find Nuthatch in three distinct places, whereas as far as a I know Bush Wood is the only place where Treecreeper is regularly found.

So Bush Wood strikes again, and when I came back almost exactly 12 hours later..... but that's for another day. Got to eke this stuff out somehow!

1 comment:

  1. A treecreeper at Galley would be patch gold! In my time there have been 2 records that I am aware of - I have seen none. One even made it on to the national birdline when there still was such a thing! One was also claimed in the trees in Dirk on the same day that the Swainson's Thrush was inhabiting them but news didn't get out till days later. One day it will fall...