If yesterday was exhilarating, today was sensational, but not for the reasons you might think. My morning total was one Fieldfare and one Redwing. Yes, just one of each. A few Linnet and Goldfinch kept me company, as did up to seven Skylark, one of which was in full song, albeit from the ground. At 8.01am precisely, just as I was leaving the VizMig Point and heading off east towards Manor Park station, I noticed a large heron shape in the sky just behind me and to my right. I expect I had been looking at my phone or something. Anyway, raising my bins I was astonished to see that it was pure white. I never even bothered to consider Little Egret, the views were superb in the early morning light – enormous bird with deep wingbeats and the characteristic bulge of the neck below, long entirely dark trailing legs. I fumbled with my phone to try and get some kind of record shot but it let me down and would not focus on the rapidly disappearing bird – somewhat gutted about that but I suppose photos are not everything. Interestingly Shaun had reported a Great White Egret flying west from the Ingrebourne Valley earlier that morning, but I had never imagined for a minute that it would fly over here. However when I checked a map at work and drew a line from the Valley over where I was standing, you end up at the southern end of the lower Walthamstow Reservoirs around Coppermill Lane.
This of course makes my uber ride to see the Wanstead Park bird earlier this year look increasingly bad value for money, but I am nonetheless delighted to add this species to my VizMig list, and indeed to my sub-patch of Wanstead Flats. Of course with increasing numbers in the country and counts of 20+ pretty regular this may become an annual bird, but right now it still has the hint of the exotic and rare about it. I checked Jubilee Pond on the offchance that it may have stopped off there but not surprisingly it had not. Still, I reckon we’ll see it again, and it certainly livened up what was in truth rather a poor morning compared to Monday. BTW, if anyone wants to know how fast a Great White Egret flies, the answer is approximately 22mph.
As per yesterday I’m going to illustrate this post from my rather extensive back catalogue. To be clear this is not the actual bird, but everyone likes a picture. So had I been looking the right way I would have seen this….