Saturday, 10 December 2011

Cinch You've Been Gone

Today was meant to be the triumphant reveal, as I said last blog: “Now we know where it sleeps it should be a cinch whenever we want to see a Little Owl”. Lol wanted to see a Little Owl.

We walked across the Golf course, I pointed out the Tree.

 “See that dead stump, see those Woodpecker holes, just behind and down there’s a horizontal branch, there’s the hole it’s.......”

Lol was very understanding and even suggested that we check all the other Trees along the River bank, we did with much the same result.

By the Friends Bridge a wintering Chiffchaff put in an appearance but stayed resolutely out of a nearby Tit flock. The marsh was decidedly Bird less; a few Meadow Pipits were all we could muster. On the back paddock were three Mistle Thrushes a Song Thrush and some Blackbirds, proper Winter Thrushes were conspicuous by their absence, though I did see a handful of Fieldfares this morning over Leytonstone.

Face was slightly saved by seeing the more regular Little Owl at the Southern end of the paddock.

We met Jamie P on the Waterworks N.R. he told us that he too had not seen the Golf course Owl a few days ago....did I hear someone say cinch?

There were precious few Birds in any of the beds, no Snipe, Green Sandpipers or Water Rail and the Pigs have gone too (fattened up for the festivities maybe? Will they ever be seen again?). The only things of note were a couple more Chiffchaffs, some Teal, Shoveler and Tufted Ducks, one of the latter was sitting still on the first bed and virtually glowing in the low sunlight, I couldn’t resist a picture, The Duck though got fed up with my fiddling about and decided to go into a diving frenzy, hence the Shoveler photo, it stood still.

Lol, who had confused the terms naturalist and naturist today, needed to warm up so we burned precious light at the Cafe with a Coffee. Suitably thawed we hatched a plan to check the Gulls on the filter beds down Coppermill Lane.

There were plenty of Gulls and we gave those close enough a reasonable grilling, Lol turned his attention to the No.5 reservoir behind, which I had given a cursory glance a few minutes earlier, and immediately pronounced that he had a small black and white Grebe. This was good news as either would be an addition to the cumulative patch year list. It proved to be a Black-necked Grebe.

As keen blogwatchers will appreciate this is species No.148 for the patch this year, at the end of last year I set a few targets, one was to get to 100 species before the end of March which we did, another was to get a total of 150 species for the year and another to get a new species for the Walthamstow list. We’ve got 21 days left....should be a cinch.

On this date: 10 12 90 The Mediterranean Gull still present on the filter beds at Walthamstow also a 1st winter male Smew on the High Maynard and a Common Sandpiper on the Lockwood.


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