Thursday 10 September 2020

Lockdown advances

I did eventually get my Siskin yesterday, with several calling birds over at various points during the day. They are clearly on the move as I had another three this morning, and they are being reported in ever more frequently and in larger numbers locally. I am glad to have joined the club, it was beginning to bother me. But the best bird of the day came at dusk as the family and I were sitting down for dinner. The main course had been and gone, and we were gluttonously tucking into some cheese when I noticed a small bird fly out from a tree a few doors down and immediately fly back to the same branch. Then it did it again, a lovely curved sally followed by a return to exactly the same twig. Chaource forgotten I leapt up! I had a good idea of what this was going to be and it would be a garden mega - the garden's third ever Spotted Flycatcher.

Picking it up on behaviour alone was if I don't say so myself extremely pleasing, and my nerd factor in my family's eyes has increased to new heights. They all got to see it too as the bird stayed for 20 minutes and we put the scope up, and Tim who lives close by was also able to pick it up from his house for a garden tick. There have only been two previous Chateau L occurrences of Spotted Flycatcher, in September 2018 and then as long ago as 2011. I had forgotten about the 2018 record for some reason, and initially though this was the second one until I checked and so for a while I thought that this might be another de-italicising. Sadly not, but there are now only two birds remaining on my garden list that I have seen only once prior to lockdown - Lesser Whitethroat and Wheatear (!). All the others - Little Egret, Short-eared Owl, Common Tern and Willow Warbler have now had multiple further sightings. 

Also notable is that my lockdown list (since March 23rd) is now at 79. Before lockdown my garden list stood at 83, a figure that had taken 15 years to achieve. In under six months that has now advanced to 92. Nocmig has been a revelation of course, but it is really the hours spent on my balcony staring at the sky, ears straining, that I have enjoyed the most. And I just love that a migrant bird that we see lots of on Wanstead Flats can also get into nearby gardens. It makes me very hopeful that I might get something else tasty in the coming weeks.

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