Saturday, 28 September 2019

The shape of water

The theme is water. The rain in Wanstead, indeed much of the country, has been torrential this past week. I predicted last night that the short break in the deluge that we were due this morning would be good. Little did I know. I met Bob first thing and together we surveyed the SSSI, water squelching underfoot. A small flash had developed in the area near what was, pre-conflagration, the heather clump, but sadly held no waders.


Bob carefully surveys our newest pond for any signs of Jack Snipe

A short while later we found ourselves at the rather-more impressive fairground flash, which we think is mostly due to a leaky pipe but has been significantly enlarged by the recent rain. Excitingly this held two Egyptian Geese and some Gulls. Ahem. Still, more rain forecast for the next few days, so this could be a lake next time I look.

We met Tony and Rob in the brooms. Rob is Shetland bound, and Tony has promised him a pint for every Yank passerine he sees, so we passed some time predicting how many evenings down the pub we would need for Tony to make good on his promise. As Bob and I had not checked the Jubilee Pond or the burnt bit, we all crossed the road back to the SSSI, chatting away. This is the reality of patch birding, seeing not very much and gassing. Possibly the two are related. Luckily Tony is ever alert, and a large bird flapping down Centre Road was not the GBB he thought it would be. 

"OSPREY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Told you it was all about water. Rather amazingly it had no accompanying corvids, and simply flew into and subsequently out of our air space in under a minute. Blink and you would have missed it. How many birds do this? What if we had still been facing the other way, admiring the returning Norwegian-ringed Common Gull? This is the second Osprey I have seen on the patch, so I have been happily able to unitalicise it on my list. Of my list of 154, there are 16 species I've only seen once in 15 years - this is what is all about. For the others however, including Bob, this was a full-fat tick! Patch gold! 











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