Sunday, 27 March 2011

Quickly, Quickly Catchee Minkee!

Walthamstow was alive with Birds and Birders today, I mostly saw the latter. The first Swallows of the year passed over the Lockwood with plenty of Sand Martins. A Wheatear was also seen up there. Two single Buzzards headed North, the 2 female Scaup reappeared on the West Warwick and Kingfisher activity was high, a pair were courting at the junction of No.1 and No.3.

I only saw the Kingfishers out of that lot but very entertaining it was, a slight interruption was caused by some very irate Lesser Black-backed Gulls chasing a Carrion Crow from the island on East Warwick with what appeared to be an egg, early I would have thought but what do I know. Also early, but they are, the Egyptian Goose family (8 Goslings) was still all present and correct on the West side of No.5.

As I was watching them I became aware of a bit of a commotion at the bottom of No.3, 10-20 Crows and Magpies were kicking up quite a storm and I began to think they may have found a roosting Owl in the Willow they were all in but, try as I might I couldn’t see it. Then they started moving along the line of trees as if they were following something but I still couldn’t see anything, it was only when I saw Ducks and Coots following them along the reservoir edge that I realised the creature being mobbed was in the water, it was Mink sized, Mink shaped and Mink coloured, something told me it was a Mink.

I quickly phoned Pete, who was a hundred metres away watching the Kingfishers with George, and they hurried round, of course it had disappeared but I pointed out where I had last seen it and they said they would go round and have a look. The next thing I saw was both of them running and pointing a camera, Val who was in the hide behind them was fetched and one of the Water bailiffs also turned up, I thought I had better get round there quick too. What greeted me was a Mink up in a Willow, within a minute it had disappeared round the back of the Tree, probably into a hole.

As far as we know it is new for the patch, though hardly a welcome addition. Pete has just sent me his photos, of the Willow Tree, unfortunately the little Minkee was too quick for him so you will have to just use your imagination as to what it looked like.


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