Monday, 3 May 2010

Mum's gone to Greenland

I was going to describe the weather as freezing but raw is a better word, I didn't think I would need gloves in May but my metal tripod helped me realize I did.

After the many and varied Waders and Terns passing through London yesterday I thought I would have an early start at Walthamstow and see what had stopped off. I think I should have been here yesterday! The signs looked good, virtually the first bird I saw was a summer-plumaged Dunlin, initially on one of the Tern rafts on the Lockwood, before it was flushed off by a Lesser Black-backed Gull. Unfortunately the rest of the reservoir only held 3 Common Sandpipers and all the Terns were decidedly Common.

There were upward of 500 Swifts around with a handful of Swallows and House Martins but none of them wanted to be anything more exotic.

A pair of Oystercatchers on the island on East Warwick looked very photogenic so I put my reading (photo taking) glasses on, got the camera out, switched it on, zoomed it up, lined it up with the scope.....and off they flew, I remembered why I usually don't bother.

It's funny how whenever people find out you are a birder, the first question they ask is, do you take photographs? I wonder if people ever ask photographers, do you watch birds?

There was a narrow miss when news came out from Alexandra Palace of their first patch record of Marsh Harrier, this is easily visible from the Lockwood, (the Palace not the Harrier) it was low and flew West, perhaps it had flown across Walthamstow earlier, if so it managed to avoid me, and Pete too.

Probably the best bird of the morning was a very orangey female Wheatear on the West bank of the Lockwood, no doubt on her way to Greenland. I bet she felt right at home this morning in Walthamstow. BRRRR!


(On this date: 03 05 97 A Goshawk, soaring over Seymour Park at lunchtime, moved off South. Nothing much at Walthamstow but the Heronry survey revealed a total of 102 nests.)

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