Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Swifts are back!

Another beautiful day in town - with still not a jet plane in sight (fifth day now!) - a gentle Southerly breeze promising some good migrants...
Going back to yesterday evening, went for a leisurely stroll around the Lockwood res from 17.30-19.00. Caught up with firstly a lone female, then 2 male Wheatears (first spotted earlier from my loft), one of which was a more robust, brightly marked bird which I believe was of the Greenland race 'leucorhoa'. With them appeared my first Yellow Wagtail of the year - a lovely bright male which then continued it's journey North. There were also a pair of Grey Wagtails (dare I say nest site prospecting), a few Pied Wags, a lone Common Sandpiper and a smattering of Sand Martins & Swallows. At around 6pm there was a text from Mark 'Buteo' Pearson, who had just seen yet another Red Kite going East over Springfield park towards the Southern sector of the reservoirs (already his 6th for Stokey this year...how he does it I really don't know ...could it be something to do with the deodorant he's using?!). Alas I couldn't get on it at that kind of distance with only binoculars to hand - hopefully there'll be another chance to catch up with one of these majestic, and increasingly regular birds of prey soon.
As I made my way home, spotted a pair of Peregrines circling high over Tottenham Marshes - always a thrill to see these awesome falcons.

Back to today (19th), decided to dust off the push bike and make my way down to the S sector of the res through Tottenham marshes. Although I've tacitly agreed to Paul's new patch boundaries (for the purposes of the patch list competition at least), Tottenham marshes is a great bit of habitat close to my home (and my heart), and for that reason remains part of my personal patch (in the same way that Paul W's new boundary stretches conveniently up to his home in Leyton ;o)!
Heard a Cetti's Warbler briefly for the first time on this side of the river Lea (in the wooded area NW of Picket's Lock) and there were at least a dozen singing Blackcaps and 6 singing Whitethroats.
By the allotments came across my first Swifts of the year (probably my earliest ever) - a small group of 6-8 birds (including 2 'screamers') heading NE over Lockwood with a few Sand Martins. Once at Ferry Lane, entered for the first time the Community Open Space (?) - an area of low trees & scrub opposite the Ferry Boat Inn which I always thought had a lot of potential for passage migrants, but didn't know we could access until today, so let's see if anything interesting turns up in the coming weeks.
The S reservoirs were dissappointingly quiet (granted that the middle of the day probably isn't the best time to see stuff), the only things of note were my first Reed Warbler of the year singing rather timidly from the reeds on the West Warwick; also single Willow & Sedge Warblers and a pair of Sparrowhawks.
No sign of a hoped for Ring Ouzel following reports from a large number of London sites today. Also missed another potential patch first - a Tree Pipit found on the Lockwood this evening...there had been a minor distraction in the form of a Hoopoe discovered a few miles up the road by KGV res...
Lol Bodini

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