Saturday 12 January 2019

January Accumulation

In a break from tradition this post is going to be about birds. It is January, and this means local birding is exciting again. Kind of. Like many birders who have local patches, for me the start of the new year heralds the start of new year list - I can happily wander around seeing exactly the same birds that I see every year. The excitement is palpable, the competition has started again! 

It is all pointless. Whether I have seen 50 birds, 60, or even 70 by the end of January is completely irrelevant. These are the birds that I will see no matter what, I would have to be blind to miss them. But somehow this does not stop me seeking out the more obscure bits of the Park to find a Siskin, or to spend inordinate amounts of time in Bush Wood in search of Treecreeper. I am a fool, but a happy one.

Last weekend I had no blogging urges to speak off, so this year's fine start has gone unrecorded in internetland. However towards the top of this page you will see a shiny new link to "Wanstead 2019" which details each and every magnificent completely expected and regular sighting so far. Last weekend Tony and I mopped up most of what was available on the Flats. There were of course notable exceptions - could we find a Skylark or Stonechat? No we could not. We also paid our annual visit to Bush Wood, where we found Nuthatch and Firecrest in short order, but of Treecreeper there was no sign. We then took a quick spin around the Park, adding Teal, Little Egret and Green Woodpecker. Adding to the birds I'd seen out of the window on the New Year's Day, I ended that first proper outing on 54 species which is decidedly average - sometimes I get more than that on the first day. 

I am not as keen as I once was, in fact some may describe me as more than a little jaded - by many things, not just birding. However a week at work tends to help build up the necessary level of enthusiasm to get out there, for fresh air if nothing else. So this morning I was up nice and early and found myself in Bush Wood for the second time this year. It will also be the last time, as happily I found the missing Treecreeper quite quickly near the dried up pond. In fact I found two, which bodes well for their continued presence in our area. Flush with early success I made my way over to Chalet Wood. This proved the perfect comedown, with zero sign of the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and ten trillion out of control dogs running amok whilst their owners emitted a variety of pathetic and useless cries which were roundly ignored. Also sighted on my tour were Water Rail on Shoulder of Mutton, a pleasing 51 Teal on Heronry plus a fly-by Kingfisher, 8+ Siskin in the Dell, and a Great Crested Grebe on Perch. If you are interested in knowing where all these locations are, the map is here. If you are not that's fine too.

This places me on 61 for the year. I would describe this as 'getting there'. Significant misses so far include Pochard, Kestrel and Fieldfare, as well as the birds mentioned above. The thrill of seeking these out cannot be understat.....

Vista management in the Park. This used to be a nice tangle that birds could rest up in, safe and out of sight. Maybe one day the Corporation of London will plant something rather than just chopping it all down?

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