Monday 2 January 2023

Round Two in the Park

As threatened I got up reasonbly early and headed for Wanstead Park. In winter it provides very different habitat to Wanstead Flats, and I was looking forward to a number of new species for the year having closed the opening day on 40 species. I heard Nuthatch and Stock Dove in the first few minutes, but straining for Firecrest and Treecreeper produced only Goldcrest, but at least my ears still work at this point. My arms are now almost not long enough to hold small print at a readable distance....

On Shoulder of Mutton I found a drake Teal and a Water Rail, and three Shoveler became 12 when a trio of out of control dogs charged in on the northern side. Amazing how the margins of small ponds can shelter so many wildfowl. Without help from dogs you wouldn't get anywhere near a decent WeBS count....

Heronry was a quiet affair barring two drake Pochard and a couple of Redwing, but it all kicked off on Perch with a Grey Heron, a Little Egret, a pair of Coal Tit and five Cormorant. The Dell held at least ten Siskin, reported at the very end of last year, and continuing into the Old Sewage Works added Chaffinch and more Redwing feeding in the paddock. I walked all the way to the Gates of Mordor in the hope of Cetti's Warbler and Kingfisher but found neither. It was however very pleasant and I even took my red hat off in the weak sunshine.

Exiting the Old Sewage Works towards the stables the Cetti's did the decent thing, the first time I think I have had it away from the water's edge. As it did so some gulls came past, loosely following the Roding but perhaps now cutting the corner. One of them was extemely large and slow-flapping, and pleasingly dwarfed a Herring Gull ahead of it. There had been a GBBG on the Flats both yesterday and today, both of which I had missed, so this was quite handy as it can be a hard bird here - mostly I see them flying across the Flats on some kind of commuter route. A Kestrel hovered above the paddock as I hit the stables. Plenty of finches at the usual spot on the corner, including my first Greenfinch of the year, but no Grey Wagtail on the dung heap.

My final stop of the morning was Bush Wood in the hope of Treecreeper, a bird that had eluded me all of last year but that Louis and Gosia had 'thermaled' earlier in the day. Pah! I can't complain, this is the way things are going, and thermal imaging is no different to noc-mig when you think about it. Anyway, next week I am getting my bionic eyes fitted. The left will have a 20-150x zoom, while the right will house the infrared. A retractable parabolic microphone will be installed in my left shoulder at the same time, connected directly to both the Merlin App and eBird, and visible via a HUD display in the brim of my hat. There will be no stopping me. Anyway, I couldn't refind the Treecreeper but I did bump into a Firecrest whilst searching for it. Once again I did not have my camera, but look, my trusty phone has done the job!

I am back to work tomorrow, so the fun is over for a few days. I find myself on 58, a semi-decent start. Last year it took me three weeks to get there, though the year before that I had 65 at this point. You can track my progress, should you be so inclined, on this page. Right, I am off for a drink. Oh wait, I am not drinking.....

No comments:

Post a Comment