Friday, 12 August 2011

It's too Quiet...Thwump!

This morning I was wondering what was wrong; do we have too much habitat? Is it the wrong habitat? Is it in the wrong place? Am I just unable to find any Birds? The phone rang at that moment, it was Andy T calling from Rainham with the answer, there are just no Birds! The Londonbirders email site is quiet, the Wiki doesn’t have a lot of migrants on it despite plenty of saddo patchers flogging away (I count myself amongst them lest anyone should take that pejoratively).

Now if I remember the Cowboy films of my youth whenever someone said ‘It’s quiet, too quiet’ that was usually followed swiftly by the thwump of an arrow in his back. Therefore I PREDICT A RIOT of Birds. It can only be a matter of days now before the torrent, nay avalanche, of scarce and rare hit the capital.*

Back to this morning, I worked the Waterworks N.R. very thoroughly, trading off the possibility of Waders on the Lockwood for the prospect of Passerine action on the marsh. There was a itinerant Warbler flock working its way through the bushes, mostly Whitethroats with the odd Lesser Whitethroat and Chiffchaff. A lone Swift worked the skies. Two or three newly fledged Sparrowhawks called incessantly from one of the wooded beds and I flushed an adult male along the boardwalk. Jays and Acorns were much in evidence too, the former flying to and fro with the latter.

The flooded beds by the hide are pretty overgrown and it would have been difficult to have seen anything in them, had there been anything in them. A Gadwall was the best, it had obviously upset one of the Coots because it followed it all the time, persistently harrying it, they are not known for their appetite for Coot chicks so I can’t think what it could have done.

I stocked up with a Mars bar and bottle of water before doing the golf course and marsh and was just thinking it must be time for the Friday Raptor when a host of Crows made a Beeline for, what turned out to be, a Common Buzzard, impeccable timing.

On the River Lea, at the bottom of the golf course, a couple of Common Sandpipers flew onto the stony island, a first for me here, I think, so not quite a complete Wader trade off after all, just as well, as there were no Passerine migrants of any consequence, perhaps the banks of the Lockwood were crawling with Whinchats and Wheatears?

On the marsh the most conspicuous Birds were Kestrels, surely more than one family I would have thought, they were especially prominent over the bomb crater field which not surprisingly held no Whinchats. There were more Warblers and plenty of wheeling House Martins and Sand Martins. Another lone Swift flew North.

In the ditch at the Southern end of Walthamstow marsh there were a large number of weird black Molluscy things, my best guess is some sort of freshwater Limpet but I stand to be corrected.

The only other thing of note was a couple of military Helicopters circling the reservoirs, mopping up the last of the Tottenham rioters or looking for insurgents perhaps?


*Not a guarantee

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