Saturday, 23 April 2011

Plastic Fantastic

Roy W and team were doing a big day in Essex and asked if we could assist with a few species, Walthamstow is becoming an essential stopover for London/Essex day listing nowadays, so naturally we obliged.

They had done pretty well from pre-dawn till they arrived at about 08:30 and had a lot of other stops planned so the route was a short one, ‘not far from the entrance gate’ was Roy’s request!

We blasted down to the East Warwick and got the required Kingfisher, bonus Shoveler, probably the last one left from the winter, Little Egret etc. Then a dash up to the bottom of the Lockwood for any Waders still around, sadly the smog, plus noxious fumes from the nearby warehouse fire at the Billet put paid to scoping any dots at the far end and they had to leave Waderless, they very nearly had to leave Grey Wagtailless but one flew in as they were walking away.

As I was up there I thought I might as well slog round and see if any of Lol’s Common Sandpipers were still around. He had two yesterday evening after I had been up there all afternoon. Half way along the East bank I was stopped in my tracks by this little beauty.....

....rather too tame for comfort but new for the site (uncountable though) perhaps it comes from the same place as this farmyard type Goose which has recently appeared on the West side of the Lockwood.

At the far end the Greenshank was still around and one of the LRP’s but no Common Sands. A Meadow Pipit and Yellow Wagtail flew over. Common Tern numbers are building.

Later a look around the ‘Triangle’ on Walthamstow marsh revealed many random lone men hiding in the undergrowth, no Grasshopper Warblers and my first Dragon of the year, a Four-spotted Chaser. It has really grown up a lot in there since the last time I had a look around (when the 1989 Dartford Warbler used to get in there) strangely it’s not a part of the patch I check very often. Interestingly a Pheasant called from the marsh, I have not had one here for quite a while, so nice to know they are still around. With Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge in the last couple of weeks, what's next...Quail? Grey Partridge?

The Wheatear was still in the back paddock, the Little Owl was absent as it usually is when Lol is present and the service at the Princess of Wales was as surly as ever, though the Beer was cold and wet, unlike me that was hot and wet so a perfect combination.

We walked back to the car at the other end of the marsh very much refreshed and decided to have a little skywatch as it was now clouding up. We peered South, watching for the Raptor/Crane/Stork that will surely one day come our way, when out of the corner of my eye a pointy winged bird, backlit by the Sun and looking quite dark, flew from behind us going South, my first thought was that ‘Tern is not a Gull and it’s dark, could be a Black Tern’ as soon as I raised my bins I realised that ‘that Tern is not a Tern, in fact it’s a Wader and what’s more it’s a Whimbrel’ It didn’t call and as quickly as it appeared it disappeared behind a Tree never to be seen again.

On this date: 23 04 83 07:30-09:00, Wind SE2, showery; 10-12 Swifts at Walthamstow also 2 House Martin, 4 Sand Martins and 1 Swallow. 9 Sedge, 1 Reed and 1 Willow Warbler. 3 Common Terns and 2 Yellow Wagtails represented summer migrants with a pair of Teal and a male Shoveler left from winter. 1 pair of Mallard with 18 young!


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