Sunday 23 April 2023

Hotting up

 Another decent slog on the patch this morning, and with some decent reward as well. I was out just after 6am, the promised rain holding off. I scored a Yellowhammer almost immediately, a flyover heading northwest calling strongly. I've just been and checked my historic records, and of my (now) six spring birds here, four have been in April, and two in March. My last spring bird was a couple of years ago on April 18th, so this is perfectly in the zone I think. They are almost always flyovers that never return; it is worth learning the distinctive flight call.

I joined Marco at the large Skylark enclosure. He had just found the patch's first Whinchat of the year - spring birds are much rarer than autumn ones and I was pleased to see it. There were also six Wheatears, but at the time of writing this there are now 15 within the fencing - an incredible count. Somehow the birds on the ground must be drawing others in - it is a grim day here, grey, damp, drizzle with harder squalls, perfect for bringing in migrants. I was hoping for a wader, but the best we could manage was a Great White Egret that flopped over to the west just after 8am. This is not the rarity it once was, but Little Egret is still far more common and would be the default so this was a bit of a surprise. A little later I threw away a probable Rook - this is the trouble with birds, they fly past giving you little time to gather your thoughts. By the time you remember what you need to look for it is too late. You are probably thinking "What is he on about? Rooks are easy-peasy!", but lighting conditions and distance play a part and it can be quite awkward, as it was this morning. 

The bird below is a not a Rook. It is a Laysan Albatross, my new favourite bird, and was not in Wanstead. I've been on a small and very fun jaunt.....


  1. Ha, I feel we may need to define the boundaries of "a small jaunt"... Looking forward to the write up!

  2. Might be a while, I am massively behind and still need to write up a January trip.