Sunday, 22 May 2011

It Ain't Over Till It's Over

Apparently May is the new June; everyone is saying it and everyone can’t be wrong, surely. Notwithstanding I decided a visit to the reservoirs was in order just in case a Wader had dropped in after last night’s rain.

I met up with Pete at the bottom of No.5 and he filled me in with what he had seen thus far...not so much, though he had been watching the Kingfishers coming and going at the nest hole on the island of No.5. There were lots of Cormorants around, many young have recently fledged. Herons too were in good numbers.

We found a Swan Goose on the South side of the reservoir, the Red-breasted Goose in a paddock to the East of the Reservoir and the Barnacle Goose was sat on No.4. Later a Water Bailiff told us there had been a Bar-headed Goose knocking around too, sounds like the place is not far off from becoming a wildfowl collection.

On the island of No.2 young Little Egrets were plentiful, Pete counted them but I forget how many he made it (something like 6 nests with about 18-20 young) there are probably a few other nest that are not visible and maybe some non-breeding adults too, so a local population currently of around 50. If the weather holds they will almost certainly go for a second brood.

We received news of 2 Little Ringed Plovers and 2 Yellow Wagtails on the Lockwood, which is where we were heading. Swift numbers have built up over the last few days; though still strike me as on the low side, unusually a Sparrowhawk, masquerading as a Hobby, was hunting through a large group over the High Maynard.

We walked up the side of the Lockwood and as Pete checked out some potentially nesting Egyptian Geese I thought my pager was going off, he thought it was something calling from the island on the High Maynard, what it actually was, was a nervous Little Ringed Plover that we had inadvertently stood next to. If it had not called we would have walked straight past.

Further up the bank a smart summer-plumaged Dunlin was working the edge, reluctant to fly, no doubt due to the strong wind.

The only other sighting of any consequence was the weird leucistic Starling, which is now nesting next to the Lockwood; it will be interesting to see what the young come out like.

As ever Pete was a mine of information and as a result we can add a couple of species to the patch year list, an ancient Oystercatcher seen back in the Winter and a Cuckoo which he saw very briefly last week. If only Walthamstow was watched more comprehensively, there must be so many things which slip through unnoticed. Perhaps we shouldn’t write May off just yet.....


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