Sunday, 30 August 2015

Persistence pays off - just...

            With flycatchers, redstarts and wrynecks seemingly in every tree in London, I thought the Bank Holiday weekend must provide some scarcer migrants at the reservoirs. I was not asking for much - just a Whinchat and Spotted Flycatcher for my patch year list. I struck out in a long visit on Friday when the female Scoter and four Swifts,, along with one of a few Willow Warblers in full song, were all that Mike M and I could find despite the two of us looking separately and together in all the places flycatchers and chats usually turn up. Given that the Prof had four Spotted Flycatchers in one tree at the water works, let alone the cornucopia of migrants building up at Wanstead, it was pretty disappointing.
             A short visit yesterday on the north reservoirs yesterday did no better with just the Scoter and a couple of fresh Lesser Whitethroats in the warbler bush. In comparison, after a couple of hours around Lockwood, today's highlight looked likely to be the cock Pheasant making a return appearance after a few months away as neither @haringeybirder nor I could find the Scoter among all the sleeping Tufties and Coot. All Lockwood had of interest was a few lingering Common Terns and half a dozen Common Sandpipers with another five on No 5 later.
             But a slow walk along the path between No 1 and No2/3 finally delivered a Spotted Flycatcher near the central pylon and perhaps it or a second near the hide 10 minutes later. I also thought I might also have had a glimpse of a Pied Flycatcher among the super active feeding party but, despite trying, could not re-find it. The flock did include several very bright Willow Warblers. They had to be bright to see them in the gloom.
            Finally, after more hours than I would like to admit, I found a Whinchat sitting on the reeds on West Warwick with a Wheatear nearby. So I finally saw what I had hoped for back on Friday though, given all that had turned up close by, there should be more. No wonder that some of the fellow patchers defected over the weekend to big-named sites such as Dungeness and Mudchute Park. It takes my reservoirs-only year list to 102. I can only hope the next two additions don't take so much effort. 

DB @porthkillier

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