Friday, 16 April 2010

Spring has sprung, the Grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is?

The fairly brisk North-easterly, that has been a feature of the last few days, seems to be slowing down the arrivals of migrants a bit, however that didn't stop Lol from picking up the first patch Lesser Whitethroat on the Waterworks this morning. It gave us the run around for a while before giving itself up to scrutiny. The Cetti's is still singing away and moving around too, either that or there are two of them (unlikely). Song Thrushes have been steadily re-colonising the marsh in the last couple of years, after being absent for an age, and quite a few singers were obvious. Many Blackcaps also singing but not a single Willow Warbler heard, strange!

We arrived at Tower 4' 2" (the little mound backing on to the Walthamstow Filter Beds) and speculated on the possibility of a Marsh Harrier, a patch tick for the both of us, but all that we could muster was a Buzzard. It almost seems to be a regular feature nowadays. Are they all migrants or are they relatively local birds wandering?

Four Linnets were the best the Horse Field could offer, but a singing Whitethroat just behind it was also a patch year first. With nothing much doing around the bottom of the patch we thought we would try the Lockwood. On arrival we found another birder had just walked around and our interrogation revealed that all we would get was colder so a judicious bit of static scanning was done before calling a retreat. Best birds were a pair of Grey Wagtails and a distant perched Peregrine.

The strangest non-sight of the morning was surely the lack of jet trails and commercial planes, though we did have a handful of light aircraft and a couple of helicopters, are they immune to dust? My car is not. I am sure there is a light film of Icelandic ash covering it, I can tell because it has just had its annual clean, it was a bit more difficult to tell with Lol's car but I am sure one of the layers of dust was of volcanic origin.

54 species this morning, but we probably could have squeezed out a few more if we had done the Southern Reservoirs as well. Tomorrow is another day but I suspect the weather will not be.

PW

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