First day on the patch for me and Jonathan N, so a full-on blitz was called for to catch up with all the stuff that other patchworkers who had been out over the holidays had seen.
There were a few special targets, namely the three species known to be on the patch that no one had yet reported; Green Sandpiper, Collared Dove and Linnet.
First up was a crack at the Sandpipers, I thought a good bet was the overflow channel at the side of the High Maynard, they sometimes roost on the ramp halfway up, today was one of those sometimes. At the top end of the High Maynard was the yellow-legged pot-bellied, two-tone-billed, short-tailed Common Sandpiper, it’s no doubt the one I had there a few weeks ago and wondered then if it might be somewhat better than Common (please someone turn it into a Spotted Sandpiper).
The Lockwood held a pair of Goosander, who did the off as soon as we showed our heads, disappearing towards the Banbury. Also there was a pair of Goldeneye. There were quite a few Gulls loafing around the Northern sector of the reservoirs but, no surprise, they held no surprises.
The second target of the day, Collared Dove soon gave itself up on the houses by the allotments at the Northern end of the Lockwood. At the bottom end of the same reservoir was the adult drake Scaup, asleep as usual.
The birds were falling quickly and by the time we crossed the road to the Southern sector we were on 49 species.Another, more standard looking, Common Sandpiper was on No.5, three Goldcrests worked the trees at the front of the filter beds and a Peregrine was scoped up, sitting on the spire of St. Saviours church in Markhouse Road, this would have been an ‘on the deck’ tick, as opposed to a ‘flyover’ tick from my house, if I had been in my house as I can see the spire from there and often check the weather vain for wind direction.
A Water Rail was on the South-west side of the East Warwick, where we could also see the two immature drake Scaup on the South end of the West Warwick. The mobile pair + female Stonechats were on the West side of the East Warwick today.
We moved locale and tried for the Reed Warbler by the Leyton sign on the magic roundabout but it has not been seen for a week or so now so presumably has gone, the male Stonechat was still in position though.Walthamstow marsh and the riding school was, apart from an incongruous Little Egret in the front paddock, pretty bird less, scuppering our chances of three for three with Linnet.
The Waterworks NR gave up c.30 Meadow Pipits on the old pitch’n’putt, a Sparrowhawk and a Green Woodpecker but we then ran out of time, energy, enthusiasm and birds.We managed to clock up 64 species in seven hours, with only a handful (if you have seven-fingered hands) of missed potentials, any of which we could have so easily stumbled across, and none that will give us any real difficulty later on. After all....tomorrow is another day.
PW & JN
aka @birding prof @randombirder