I really wanted to do an early stint on the patch, (or even better find an early Stint on the patch) but they said it would rain all morning, so I planned a patch assault for the afternoon and decided to get on with other important stuff during the rain. It was dry when I woke up and remained so for hours, dratted weather forecasters.
That being the case I’ll just have a quick look on the Waterworks now, said I, to no one in particular. As I entered the reserve it started to rain! Dratted weather forecasters!
I moved swiftly to the hide (apparently the second largest in London-where’s the largest?) and checked each of the beds. I gave especial attention to a bunch of Teal in the first bed; one male had a very yellowy horizontal flank stripe...hybrid? Let’s not go there.
In the water of bed 13 is a large Beaver Lodge type pile of branches and twigs, just as I was pondering what it was for and who had made it something caught my eye, swimming through the partially submerged Trees, it was too small for a Beaver, which, to be fair I had already pretty much dismissed as an idea. My initial glimpse gave the impression of something too richly coloured for a Rat. (Of which I have seen a couple locally just in the last week.) As it became less obscured I realized the object of my desire was not Mammalian but Avian, a Water Rail. It’s the first I have seen on the patch for a while, previously only having heard them this year.
A couple of Snipe flushed from one of the other beds as I lifted the flap and promptly disappeared into cover. On the mown grassy area a flock of mixed winter Thrushes looked like opposing Football teams lined up against one another, only the Redwings were cheating with 17 men to the Fieldfares 7, though the latter are bigger I suppose.
The rain continued and intensified, I sloped off and got on with my chores. Later in the afternoon the rain didn’t stop when it was supposed to and as the daylight was running short I decided to try my luck on the Lockwood anyway. There must have been some Waders grounded with the rain, right? Wrong.
There were 7 Sand Martins hawking over the Lockwood and Low Maynard and a number of Pied Wagtails which I sort of herded up as I walked the bank, surely there would be a ‘White Wagtail’ amongst them, right? Wrong. Meadow Pipits built up till there were 7 in the flock but they got fed up with me moving them on all the time and just flew round behind.
The rain did eventually stop and a bright strip appeared above the horizon. Just as I got home the sun came out, dratted weather forecasters!
On this date: 18 03 09 A Jack Snipe obscured in the Reeds of bed 17 at the Waterworks N.R.