Thursday, 18 December 2014

Latest! Latest! Reed. All About It....

A brief account of today’s patch excursion. Having done the reservoirs recently I thought I should do the Waterworks NR and then check out the magic roundabout.
A good start was the Peregrine, a probable male, launching attacks on the Ring-necked Parakeets from the pylon on the South edge of the reserve; needless to say I never got lined up in time for a shot. Didn’t see whether it got one but the squawking told me that they were clearly not happy to be Falcon fodder. Just after that a Sparrowhawk zipped through the beds; I obviously arrived at breakfast time.

The Duck are all looking spiffy now they have finished eclipse and quite a few male Teal were cavorting around, the females looked a bit bored. The water level is way up in second bed on the left, way too much really but it is better than bone dry so we will have to see what turns up in there, apart from giant ceramic Fish that is.

The best bed is usually the third bed on the left (I really must memorise the numbers!) but is getting quite encroached by Reeds, today it held....a Moorhen.
I heard at least one Cetti’s Warbler and one Water Rail, possibly two of each though as usual no sightings.
I checked the river down in the South-east corner of the Pitch and Putt but the level was very high and, apart from seven Gadwall, didn’t offer up much. I also checked a lot of the Trees along the Southern edge by the Lea in case there were any roosting Little Owls, the lack of leaves made it easier than for the last six months but the lack of Owls was a disappointment although not a surprise.
A calling Meadow Pipit became two, then a small flock and finally 30. One had a white forehead and throat. There is obviously scope for something good-ish to turn up in the now weedy and overgrown Pitch and Putt, there were a few Goldfinch and three Greenfinch blogging about too.
It was now time to pop down to the traffic island at the Southern end of Orient Way and see if I could get a new late date for Reed Warbler, as it turns out I could and did. According to JWD, who I met down there, this is the latest recorded Reed Warbler ever in Britain. It has generated a bit of interest since I found it (or more accurately strung it as one of Stuarts Whitethroats) and there is an i.d. thread running on Birdforums, with some trying to talk it up into a Caspian Reed Warbler (spp. fuscus) which it potentially could be, however even trapped birds have failed to make the grade so don’t hold your breath on that one.
A male Stonechat, Grey Wagtails, Song Thrush and lots of Brown Rats made up a good supporting cast but no sign of the often present Water Rail or the formerly present (seen up to the 15th Dec but not since the scrubby stuff has been manicured) Whitethroats.


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