Monday, 20 June 2011

Red Letter (Shank, Crest and Eye) Day

A rare Monday off had me arrange to meet Lol up on the Lockwood early morning, early morning became mid-morning and the Lockwood was blown out when Lol phoned to say he had just seen some yoofs coming from there and they would probably have flushed any lurking Waders. Hey-ho!

We proceeded over to the South side of the reservoirs and bumped into a nice little flock of assorted Warblers in the Lea-side Willows North of the East Warwick; A couple of Lesser Whitethroats, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, lots of Whitethroats and a few Chiffchaffs and Great Tits thrown in for good measure.

On the East Warwick itself Lol spotted a Summer-plumaged Redshank, (a day earlier than last year’s first) perhaps the yoofs had sent it our way. So although it is technically the last day of Spring it means that in reality it is now Autumn.

We both noted a chestnut coloured Duck on the bank and (at least my) thoughts turned to Ferruginous Duck, which it wasn’t. Reminiscing on the old days, Ferruginous Duck was seen on quite a few occasions and often on the East Warwick, usually under the trees on the now denuded island, so I speculated that we should be on the lookout for another one of these days.

As if to emphasize the changing of the seasons (Summer does not exist in birding terms, it being subsumed into Spring and Autumn) the first returning drake Teal appeared at the North end and a couple of Gadwall were at the South end. There were large gatherings of non-breeding Tufted Duck and Pochard and great herds of Canada and Greylag Geese. On reaching No.4 reservoir I was stunned to see a moulting adult drake Red-crested Pochard. This is a puzzling species, most originating from the ever expanding feral population but a few genuine migrants certainly occur. It seems to be annual at Stoke Newington and, just a couple of weeks ago, there was one in Clissold Park both just a stone’s throw away, but this was only my second on the patch, the first as long ago as the 7th of November 1989!

The other ‘Red’ creature was a good deal smaller, a Red-eyed Damselfly on the Coppermill stream, there were a few of them plus some Common Damselflies and one of my favourites, Banded Demoiselles. We staked out the island on No.5 hoping for some Kingfisher action but to no avail, perhaps they have fledged. We did see one zip across No.1 earlier.

Talking of fledging Pete has been keeping an eye on the Little Egrets and reports 10 pairs with 32 fledged young, some are now settling down for second broods, wow! Black-headed Gull has bred, probably for the first time. Shelducks have had at least four broods, totalling at least 37 young, which may also be a record. It looks like Little Ringed Plover may be breeding too, as they have been seen quite frequently for over two months now,though we are not sure where. Great Black-backed Gulls seem to be summering now (or should that be Spring-Autumning?), although just a few immature birds this year, could they be the next colonist?


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