Friday, 2 March 2018

Reservoir Logs - February

Walthamstow's first ever Serin stayed all too briefly pic by Sarah Morrison

    For the second month running, a new bird was added to the reservoir's all-time list with the discovery of a male Serin. It is an example of what's known in the States as the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect - named after a famous lay-by in SE Arizona - where birders looking for one rare bird find another. It takes the reservoirs' list to an impressive 236.

   Unlike the Little Bunting which remained all month, the Serin was sadly only seen for a few minutes. More predictably those waiting patiently for the bunting also added Red Kite and Red-crested Pochard to the year list while Mediterranean Gull, Bullfinch and Redpoll and two more reservoirs' rarities in Great Egret and Glaucous Gull were seen as well. It was an exceptionally good month and takes the total number of species seen this year already to 90, five more than this time in 2017. 

    RT, who spends most of most days fly-fishing on No 5, always has a good chance of fly-overs and scored again with a Great Egret low towards the egret islands on the 18th. Despite becoming much more common in London, it remains absent from most of the patch regulars' list. Four Red-crested Pochard were seen on the 13th flying towards West Warwick. The drake Scaup remained all month on No 4. It has already stayed longer than it did in 2016 and is coming up fast towards its 2017 departure date. A female Scaup was also seen on East Warwick on the 14th by several birders but, despite being Valentine's Day, did not stay long enough to pair up with our resident male. As many as a dozen Goldeneye, now often in pairs, could be found scattered around the reservoirs while up to three Goosander were seen, usually early, on either High Maynard or No 4 before flying back towards the Banbury. 

    The first Red Kite of the year was seen on the 2nd with the first two Buzzards on the 22nd. The next two months are usually the best for both species. The pair of Peregrines could be seen hunting and displaying regularly over the reservoirs throughout the month.
The reservoirs' male Peregrine having just taken a kill from the female pic by Jo Wheeler
    Despite a good edge around East Warwick, waders remained scarce throughout February. While two Common Sandpipers wintered on the reservoirs - and were seen together on the 14th - they kept out of sight for much of the month. Green Sandpipers were also far less obvious than in previous winters with singles seen on the 8th, 12th, 26th and 27th. Lapwing numbers, however, were good with five on the 20th, eight on the 24th, three on the 26th and a cold weather movement of 47 on the 27th including a flock of 32 as the Beast from the East swept in. A few Snipe were seen as they flew between reed-beds.

    After the Glaucous Gull seen at Leyton tip last month, PW spotted a juvenile flying south close-by over No 4 on the 23rd. It was also reported next day from the filter beds and on the 26th. It means that after a gap of over 20 years on the reservoirs, Glaucous Gulls have now appeared in two successive years. An adult Mediterranean Gull was resting on the filter beds on the 20th.

   Meadow Pipits, for some reason, also continue to be scarce this winter with singles recorded on just three dates. MM, however, had an early Rock Pipit on the 20th on the rocky shore of East Warwick. Fieldfare were resident in good numbers throughout the month with a top count of 70 on the side of No 5 on the 19th. In contrast, only a few Redwing seem to be wintering at the reservoirs. And while some recent winters have seen three Stonechats regularly in the reed beds around the Warwicks, a solitary female was seen on only a handful of dates this month.
                            A tame Fieldfare took up residence around the Engine House

   Cetti's Warblers restrained themselves to short bursts of song this month. Chiffchaffs numbers were again low but could be seen, in the company of Goldcrests, feeding on the southern section of the Coppermill stream. Both were also seen occasionally in the bunting bush. With so many alders, Redpoll should be a more frequent visitor to the reservoirs but the single seen and heard flying over on the 7th by DM was all too typical. Bullfinches are even more scarce so two seen flying over Lockwood from Tottenham Marsh by SF on the 10th may be the only ones recorded this year.

   There is, however, no shortage of Linnets this winter. The flock on the weeds between the Engine House and East Warwick built up steadily throughout the month and hit over 80 on the 28th when presumably the heavy snow prevented birds feeding on the ground. It is a remarkable number for recent years. And it was this flock which apparently help attract the male Serin to the same general area on the 10th.which was found by visiting Herts birder Roy Hargreaves. Its stay was all too short but stayed long enough to pose for a couple of photographs in the hedge around the feeders and even to sing briefly. It remains a rare bird in London with only 21 records up to the end of 2015.

                The cause of a mass outbreak of Serin-dip-itty   pic by  Sarah Morrison    

    The Little Bunting was far more obliging and continued to attract birders from as far as Norfolk and Bristol throughout the month. It also took a liking to the seeds put down in front of its favourite bushes where it could be seen in the company of some of the eight-plus Reed Buntings - again a record count in recent years - on the ground for the first time. Even the heavy snowfall at the end of the month had not yet forced it to depart.

                           Little Bunting surrounded by seed pic by @njcroft

                               And surveying the birders from its usual bush - pic by Russ Sherriff

    Despite the snow and freezing conditions at the end of the month, it may be only a matter of days before the first summer migrants arrive. The first Sand Martin was seen last year on the very early date of March 6 and the first Wheatear on the 12th.

DB @ porthkillier

Friday, 2 February 2018

Reservoir Logs - January 18

London's first Little Bunting since 2007 photograph @jarpartridge

   The discovery of  Walthamstow's first ever - and only London's 11th - Little Bunting put the reservoirs on the birders' map this month. It drew a steady stream of admirers who often had to return for views of what could be an elusive bird.  But it also meant that the long-staying Scaup on No 4 got plenty of visitors as did the Wetlands cafe. In all, 80 species -  including the late additions of Coal Tit and Brambling - were recorded this month on the reservoirs (with four more on the larger patch) which was exactly the same figure as last year.

   Two Brent Geese seen by PL flying south over Lockwood on the 10th was a very unexpected record. Shelduck numbers built up slowly throughout the month with a flock of seven on No 5 on the 30th. The first Wigeon of the year were three which arrived with a flock of Teal on No 5 on the 8th with four more seen on East Warwick on the 14th. Shoveler numbers seemed right down on previous years which is a concern. But the drake Scaup continued to enjoy its fourth winter on No 4 and the maximum count of Goldeneye of 12 across the reservoirs on the 28th and Goosander of five on the 11th show only a slight decrease on last year.

                                 Four of a flock of six Goldeneye displaying on No 5

   Last January saw both Red Kite and Buzzard recorded in January but this year the only birds of prey were the resident Peregrines, Sparrowhawks and Kestrel. The Peregrines could be seen displaying together as well as hunting regularly over the reservoirs, giving hope that they might breed in the locality. Among their intended prey on the 8th was an unusually early Oystercatcher which only escaped by landing on the water on East Warwick. The 8th also saw the first Lapwing of the year with two more flying south on the 23rd. Redshank were also not seen until March last year but the increased coverage this month saw one recorded flying south on the 21st by those waiting for the Little Bunting to appear.

   The reed bed at the top of No 1 continues to attract Snipe as does the hidden lagoon on the island of East Warwick were four were seen to fly in on the 24th. At least two Common Sandpipers are wintering on the reservoirs but, largely due to the high water levels in the overflow channel which have displaced them from their favourite areas, the only record of Green Sandpiper was one on No 5 on the 21st.

   A near adult Yellow-legged Gull was seen on High Maynard on the 19th while, outside the reservoirs, the second Glaucous Gull in successive years on the wider patch was found by JP on  Leyton tip on the 28th. Last year's bird, which was also a IY, moved between the tip and the filter beds but there has been no sign so far.
               Juvenile Glaucous Gull on the scenic delight of Leyton Tip pics @jarpartridge

   Meadow Pipits are another bird where the numbers seem well down this year on the reservoirs.  While up to a dozen could be seen on the grass around Lockwood last January, only singles were seen this month. Stonechats have also been scarce this year but a female was on West Warwick on the 28th and 29th.

                                       Female Stonechat on their favourite West Warwick haunt

   For some reason, Chiffchaff, too, seem nowhere near as common this winter on the reservoirs and on nearby Tottenham Marsh with just a couple seen at the top of Lockwood and along the Lea both north and south of the road. Reed Buntings, however, are a real success story with seven seen together in the reeds at the top of No 1 on the 1st, an extraordinary count for recent years. They moved later in the month to feed on the weeds between the Engine House and East Warwick where a nice flock of around 30 Linnets were also in residence.

   It was in this area with its bigger cousins that PW and DB discovered the Little Bunting on the 19th. Although it was faithful to this small area until the end of the month, it stayed hidden in the weeds when feeding and could only be seen when it flew up occasionally into the hedge. As it was only found because it dropped in with a Reed Bunting right next to the path, it could have been there for some time.

                             Little Bunting in typical pose hiding in the bush pic@jarpartridge

   It is the rarest bird to be found on the reservoirs since LB's famed Dusky Warbler in February 2010 and, on the wider patch, since the Common Rosefinch in 2016 on Walthamstow Marsh which was also the 11th for London. The last Little Bunting in London was the wintering bird at Amwell in 2007. This was also found in January and stayed until mid-April by which time it was singing. So there may be plenty of time to catch up with it yet.....

* Late additions to the monthly list were Coal Tit, which are surprisingly scarce at the reservoirs, heard by CF on the 1st and two Brambling seen by AW between the Engine House and No 4 on the 20th. 

DB @porthkillier

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Reservoir Logs - December round-up

             Our drake Scaup returned to No 4 for the fourth winter in a row pic @DaveMo57

  December is usually, unless the weather is extreme, a quiet month. But in keeping with a more exciting back-end of 2017 than normal, it delivered the first Whooper Swan since 2010 and the first Golden Plover and pukka Woodcock of the year. It took to 141 the species seen at the reservoirs in 2017, a total particularly notable for the 22 wader species recorded thanks largely to the draining of No 4 and 5 in the Spring and, less so, Lockwood in the Autumn.

                                 A rather startled drake Goldeneye pic @ DaveMo57

  The Whooper Swan was seen by PL flying north early morning over Lockwood where it may have rested overnight. It landed on Banbury where it kindly stayed for an hour to let several patch birders catch up with it before continuing on its journey north. It is the first record since five flew south in January 2010. A rather more familiar bird was the drake Scaup which found its way back to No 4 for the fourth winter on the run. Its arrival date of the 3rd was two days later than last year which, in turn, was two days later than in 2015 but eight days earlier than in 2014. Whenever it gets here, it spends most of its time asleep in the NW corner of No 4 with a small party of equally idle Tufted Ducks. Up to nine Goldeneye, including two drakes, could be found scattered around the reservoirs this month while the maximum count of Goosander was five on High Maynard on the 28th. Single Wigeon were seen on two dates and around 50 Teal were usually around the southern island of High Maynard.

          Goosander are invariably wary on the reservoirs but this drake was only stretching its wings   

  Two large white herons seen flying west over West Warwick on the 2nd by the LNHS walk were almost certainly Great Egrets but just too far to clinch identification definitely. It was a surprisingly good month for waders with more confirmation that a sudden rain shower can bring down birds passing high overhead. Within half an hour of the rain starting on the 3rd, a Curlew was seen by PL going north, a Golden Plover heard calling in the gloom by DB and GG who also saw a Woodcock flying over East Warwick. An exceptional passage of Lapwing took place on the 1st with 90 including a flock of 60 seen over the reservoirs with 16 on the 12th.  A tame bird hung around No 4 and 5 early in the month.  Up to two Common Sandpipers and four Green Sandpipers continued to be seen while a Redshank was on Lockwood  and a Snipe on West Warwick on the 12th.

              A surprisingly tame Lapwing ignored the crowds around No 4 and 5 early in the month

  Kingfishers continued to be very showy, even being seen from the outdoor seating area at the cafe as well as at the bottom of No 3 and the stream next to the Ferry Boat Inn. The pair of Peregrines were also often easy to see either resting on the pylons or hunting over the reservoirs. Two days of snow pushed six Skylark onto the grassy banks of Lockwood on the 12th with two staying until the 17th. Cold weather also saw 80 Redwing move north west on the 2nd with small numbers of both this species and Fieldfare again flying over or feeding on berries on the 12th. Six more Fieldfare were seen on the 16th and 23 Redwing the day before.

  Perhaps as many as five Cetti's Warbler could be heard throughout the month with a similar number of wintering Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests counted on the 3rd. At least one Stonechat continued to be seen on West Warwick. Meadow Pipits were scarce with a maximum count of five around Lockwood and in the overflow channel. Just off the reservoirs was a Hawfinch on Tottenham Marsh from the beginning of the month until the 9th. It was so close to Lockwood that it could easily, in theory, have been seen from the reservoir bank but, in practice, never was.  But the reservoirs did hold a good flock of 30 Linnets, which along with Chaffinches and Goldfinches, fed on the weeds at the top of No 1.

DB @porthkillier

Monday, 4 December 2017

Reservoir Logs - November round-up

       A surprisingly tame Goosander could be seen on the Warwicks in the early part of the month

November, as expected, was a much quieter month with visible migration petering out pretty much after the first week and no cold spell to push wintering birds south and west. But it did add Brambling to the reservoirs' year list and saw the second Short-eared Owl and a smattering of ducks.

Shelduck numbers remained low with a maximum of four on 17th.  Nine Wigeon which flew south from Lockwood on the 7th was a surprisingly large party for the reservoirs. More usual were the singles seen on the 8th and 30th. Goldeneye also built up slowly with a maximum count of five on the 19th and 25th. Goosander are usually very wary when they visit the reservoirs so the tameness of a female on the Warwicks from the 2nd to the 8th was a surprise. Another flying over on the 23rd was a more normal record. Intriguingly, there was a report of a Red-breasted Merganser for Walthamstow on the 25th but this may refer to a bird seen on the Banbury to the north.

The Black-necked Grebe left Lockwood on the 5th after the first real frost of the autumn. Four Pheasants were seen at the north of Lockwood on the 17th. Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine were the only birds of prey seen this month. Waders were also scarce with 11 Lapwing on 9th and single Redshank recorded on the 7th and 12th with two on Lockwood on the 15th. Up to three Green Sandpipers and two Common Sandpipers seemed to be settling down to winter on the reservoirs. 

                                  A pair of Redshank on the north end of Lockwood

The highest passage of Wood Pigeon was 600 going SW on the 6th while the second Short-eared Owl of the year at the north end of Lockwood on the 1st was enjoyed more by viz miggers than the resident crows. Low numbers of Skylarks passing overhead early in the morning are expected which was not the case with a very late Swallow which hurried south on the 3rd. Meadow Pipit passage reached a peak of 25 on the 2nd with a handful taking up residence around Lockwood where LB also had a Rock Pipit on 8th.

   @jarpartridge BOC shot of Short-eared Owl being given a hard time by the resident Carrion Crows

Up to two Stonechat were seen intermittently on the Warwicks throughout the month. Enough hours were put in early morning on Lockwood to prove that it does not do as well for visible migration as other sites across London. The maximum number of Redwing this month was 110 on the 8th with peak count of Fieldfare just 40 on the 2nd. The small number of Chiffchaffs which remained on the reservoirs included a calling Siberian Chiffchaff on the 23rd. In contrast, Goldcrests seem more common than usual for the site.

Among the Chaffinches flying west on the 2nd was a calling Brambling - the 138th species for the reservoirs this year. The 2nd also saw a fly-over Siskin with second on the 12th. Unhappily, five almost certain Hawfinches on the 1st passed just too far away to add with certainty to several all-time patch lists. Those young enough may have to wait until the next invasion in 40 years' time.....
Reed Buntings, helped by the new reed beds, have definitely increased in numbers as was shown by  four feeding together at the north end of No 1 on the 6th.

DB @porthkillier

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Reservoir Logs - October update

                  A confiding Brent Goose joined the crowds for the day on the 29th   pic@JollyJourno

If September was disappointing, then October was surprisingly good. Last year, the last new bird for the entire annual patch list was added on October 8. This year, seven new birds for the reservoirs alone were recorded after that date including a first ever Hawfinch.  Although the Hawfinch, Pink-footed Geese, Short-eared Owl, Siskin and Redpoll were fly-overs, Brent Goose and Water Pipit both joined the crowds on the second weekend after the Wetlands opening.  The month could have been even better with Bullfinch and Brambling- on the Wild Marsh East immediately to the north of Lockwood - and Ring Ousel and Woodcock - on Walthamstow Marsh just to the south - agonisingly close to the reservoirs. The additions take to 137 species recorded on or above the reservoirs this year.

Sunday the 29th was a red letter day with both Pink-feeted Geese and Brent Goose - neither of which are seen annually - recorded. SF had the Pink-feet flying SW over Lockwood early in the morning but the Brent Goose, first found by PL, joined the loafing Canada Geese on High Maynard for at least a couple of hours. It wasn't seen next day. Neither was the drake Mandarin also seen on the 29th on No 5 and No 1 which was only the second record for the year. Wigeon have also been very scarce but a pair were seen on the 18th. Five Red-crested Pochard were found on the 28th on East Warwick. Shoveler numbers on the same reservoir fell sharply during the month but whether that is just seasonal ebb or flow or because of the increased disturbance including from joggers and cyclists misusing the walking only path round the top only time will tell.

                      Three of the five Red-crested Pochard on East Warwick pic Lol Cumming

A drake Scaup was found by PW on Lockwood on the 18th. Unlike the regular wintering bird - which usually arrives around the end of November and remains for a couple of months - this one only stayed for the day. The first Goldeneye of the winter was a female on the 29th.

                                   An early Scaup on Lockwood pic @birdingprof

Four Black-necked Grebes turned up on Lockwood on the 20th to celebrate the first day of the Wetlands with one staying and showing very well until the end of the month. They winter in reasonable numbers on the Girling just to the north but don't often make the short flight south. A pair of Peregrines continued on the pylons with the blue tag on the new female showing it was raised in the West Country.

           A showy Black-necked Grebe  on Lockwood until the month's end pic @jarpartridge

The low levels on Lockwood continued to hold little attraction to any passing waders. There was a Redshank on the 5th and a Dunlin  on the 18th with seven Lapwing  next day and one on the 24th. Both Green and Common Sandpiper now winter on the reservoirs and there was a Green Sandpiper on the 20th with up to two Common Sandpipers on High Maynard or Nos 4 and 5. A Woodcock which was picked up in a car park at Liverpool Street was brought to the reservoirs on the 30th and released at the top of No 1 where its camouflage made it hard to pick up even when you knew where it was. After much soul-searching, it has not been added to the year list as it definitely didn't arrive under its own steam. A Snipe was seen on the 24th.

            Woodcock recuperating after being found in a car park at Liverpool Street

The only gull of note was a Little Gull on Lockwood on the 28th although Common Gulls were back in numbers after their summer absence. The first Short-eared Owl of the year was seen by LC on the 15th at the north end of Lockwood.

             Back of camera shot of Short-eared Owl over Lockwood pic Lol Cumming

October is a good month for visible migration at the reservoirs although we don't seem to do as well as other sites in London. Seven Skylarks were seen on the 12th, singles on the 22nd and 23rd, two on the 25th and four on the 31st. Among the Meadow Pipits passing overhead and on Lockwood, two  Rock Pipits were found on the 28th on No 4 while the first Water Pipit since 2013 was found by @the_no on East Warwick on the 26th and seen intermittently in the same area over the next two days.

Two Rock Pipits were consolation for those searching for the elusive Water Pipits pic @birdingprof

A Black Redstart was found by GJ at the top of Lockwood on the 3rd while up to two Stonechats could be found on the Warwicks during the month. A lingering Wheatear on Lockwood was last seen on the 24th. Visible migration of thrushes took place at the end of the month with a peak count of 170 Redwing and 130 Fieldfare going west on the 31st.  A group of 17 Mistle Thrush were seen on West Warwick on the 8th.

Cetti's Warblers could be heard singing noisily around the reservoirs but other warblers were few. The last Blackcaps were seen on the 8th and Chiffchaffs seem to have dwindled to half a dozen by the end of the month. Goldcrests, in contrast, were widespread with a big influx noted on the 6th.

Jackdaw is another species which is common to the north and south of the reservoirs but, for some reason, are not often seen and usually just passing overhead during migration times. So a flock of 27 on the ground of Lockwood on the 6th was very unusual, even more so as they contained the even rarer sight of a juvenile Rook with them.

Passage finches included 110 Chaffinch west on the 31st and the first Redpoll and Siskin of the year at the reservoirs on the 15th. There has been a remarkable invasion of Hawfinch this year into the UK with many being seen on passage in London. It seemed, however, as if the reservoirs were going to miss out despite many eyes looking until SF heard and saw one flying north over Lockwood and Wild Marsh East on the 28th.

DB @porthkillier

Monday, 6 November 2017

Reservoir logs - September update

     Juvenile Wheatear on Lockwood - the westerly wind meant numbers were down this year

Disappointing is the word that springs to mind when describing September which should be one of the best and most varied months. Hopes were even higher with Lockwood at a very low level. But the gravel shores clearly held little for passing waders, the frequent storms failed -  unlike at KGV to the north - to produce any seabirds while the persistent westerly air flow meant passerine migration was light. The month did produce only the second Glossy Ibis for the site along with the first Black Terns of the year but both species spent as little time as possible at the reservoirs.

Shoveler numbers built up as usual on East Warwick - one of the reservoirs likely to see most disturbance when the Wetlands opens - to 50 on the 6th. Teal and Gadwall also increased slowly over the month. A high count of 32 Little Egrets on Lockwood on the 3rd may be a sign of breeding success. PW found a Glossy Ibis soaring high overhead on the 16th. It was travelling SW so seems certain to be the same bird found at London Wetland Centre in Barnes next day. The first for the reservoirs was a much more obliging bird in 2015.

                    Little Egret which we found out had been rung as a nestling further up the Lea Valley

The Prof was actually looking at a soaring Buzzard when he saw the Ibis in the same thermal. Buzzards were recorded throughout the month; usually singles but six on the 2nd and ten on the 22nd. A pair of Peregrines continued to be recorded regularly and noisily on the pylons while perhaps the same Hobby was seen on the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th.

Waders were a particular disappointment during the month and especially compared to the remarkable diversity and number of species on the drained southern basin at Staines. The two Spotted Redshank continued on Lockwood until the 9th although they began to spend increasing amounts of time elsewhere - probably on the Banbury reservoir just to the north. A single was seen on the 10th and then there was a five day break until presumably the same bird was found again on the 16th - 22 days since it was first discovered.

Three Ring Plover were seen on the 17th, two Dunlin were recorded from the beginning of the month to the 5th. with four on the 8th and five next day, and the only Greenshank were a pair on the 1st. Common Sandpipers seemed to prefer the concrete rather than the gravel with very small numbers recorded on Lockwood throughout the month except on the 5th when 12 were seen. Green Sandpipers were seen on the 19th and 27th with the first Snipe of the autumn on the 18th.

A young Mediterranean Gull was seen on the 12th and 13th with Yellow-legged Gull recorded on the 4th, 6th and 16th. It looked as is 2017 was going to be the first year in a long while when Black Tern was not recorded until SF found two juveniles on the evening of the 20th. But there was no reprieve for Sandwich Tern, seen for example in both Spring and Autumn last year.
                    1W Mediterranean Gull posing for gull enthusiast @jarpartridge
There were still 25 Swifts on the reservoirs on the 2nd with the final two recorded on the 19th. This autumn did not see any heavy days of hirundine passage with 150 House Martins on the 15th the only high count. The peak count of Swallows was 20 on the 22nd with the last three five days later.

Meadow Pipit numbers built up slowly after the first of the season was seen on the first day of September. A Scandinavian Rock Pipit, an irregular migrant for us, was found by JP on the 15th.  Yellow Wagtails continued to be seen in very small numbers right through the month. Wheatears were also recorded throughout September but again numbers were low with five on the 1st the highest count. A returning Stonechat was on West Warwick on the 20th, the same day as the only Whinchat of the month was recorded.

Continued access problems around Lockwood meant that more time than usual was spent on the southern section of the reservoirs and along the central path. But it did not really pay off in terms of small migrants. The final Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroats of the year were both recorded on the 15th, the last Reed Warbler hung on the 20th while there was a late Common Whitethroat on the 29th. The highest count of Willow Warblers - one of the few species were numbers have been up - was eight on 13th with birds still being seen on the 22nd while a small fall on the 15th saw over 30 Chiffchaffs along the central path along with plenty of Goldcrests and Blackcaps. The final Spotted Flycatcher of the year was seen in the same area on the 25th.

DB @porthkillier  all pics @jarpartridge

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mammaling and some Birding

An early morning browse along the Walthamstow Marshes ditch produced lots of Water Vole field signs in the shape of droppings and burrows:

There were quite a few burrows (marked as O) and droppings (marked as X) on my scribbled field map.

There was one brief Water Vole sighting here, near the Springfield Park bridge but the wee guy was too fast for my camera.

Water Voles and Rats and their respective field signs can be very similar and confusing. This guide is very handy with distinguishing them: 

Some Fox poop was left to peruse and a Fox was later seen in the Waterworks.

A Wood Mouse tried its best to be inconspicuous.

As it is National Mammal Week, I thought I’d share a little Mammal Field List I knocked up. It lists all the British mammal species with check boxes and a few other bits. It’s much like the RSPB’s bird watcher’s field list. There didn’t seem to a mammal equivalent, so I made one. My British mammal list is at 26.

You can download it as a Word document here:

On a sad note:

Walthamstow Reservoirs is nowhere near a nature reserve or a wetlands or anything else with the welfare of nature at its core. It is now quite simply, a park. It is a theme park that pretends to have things like Otters and Water Vole, but is primarily motivated to generate money. The London Borough of Waltham Forest has monetised nature for its own benefit. 

There was a Wheatear on the banks of Lockwood when I visited, trying to feed up before a long flight south, but it couldn’t settle for the droves of people playing in the park.

Walthamstow Theme Park visitors are now using the log book which birders record the presence of significant birds present on the reservoirs as a guest book!

On a positive note:

I’m trying to be a positive soul these days and on a more positive note, I’ve spent the last two days on Walthamstow Marshes, just south of Walthamstow Theme Park which has seemed considerably quieter than normal. Maybe the theme park is to thank for that.

A stone chat on the much less theme parky, Walthamstow Marsh: