Friday, 7 May 2010

A Murder of Crows

I was hoping for a patch year tick today so set off around the Pitch’n’Putt course, Walthamstow marsh and the Waterworks N.R looking for a Hobby, Turtle Dove, Whinchat, anything really, but it was not to be.

I started to consider what would be the headline bird for the blog title, would it be the Whitethroat singing 200m from my house (only house record is an autumn juvenile over 10 years ago), the small flock of Stock Doves in the same park, again a very difficult bird to get identifiable views from the house, or would it be the even bigger flock of Stock Doves, 56 in fact, feeding on the Horse field behind the riding stables in Lea Bridge Rd. This build up of numbers seems to be a Spring feature here. The photo is one I took a few days ago on the Reservoirs.


But then I had a what I thought was a singing Willow Warbler at the Waterworks which suddenly finished its song by going chiff-chaff, I listened again to make sure it wasn’t two birds but it did it quite a few times, then it started off with chiff-chaff and finished with Willow Warbler song. I have never, knowingly, heard one of these mixed singers before and assumed it must be a Willow Warbler, as the Willow bit was more convincing than the Chiffchaff bit (I never actually saw the bird in the dense Willow copse) but when I got home and listened to recordings on Xeno-Canto it would appear that it was probably a Chiffchaff with a divergent song. You live and you learn.

However a ferocious squawking drew my attention to a couple of Crows being attacked by a group of Magpies, on closer inspection I could see that the Crows had actually got a Magpie pinned down and were stabbing it to death. I had my headline. Bit like London gang warfare really, perhaps the Magpie had strayed into the wrong postcode, still as long as no one innocent suffers let them get on with it I say.

PW

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