With swarms of migrants (where've we heard that before?) still turning up all over the place, across the capital and beyond, it felt like an auspicious day to get out on the patch after yesterday's deluge.
I was encouraged to learn over breakfast that Genghis (aka Stuart - dont ask me) had already been rewarded at the Waterworks NR with not one but TWO Redstarts and a Pied Fly! In this case, the early birder definitely caught the, erm, worm (not sure about that one - Ed).
Started off with a quick circuit of 'Wild Marsh East' - the somewhat romantic name given to the smallish patch of land just N of the Lockwood which is part of Tottenham Marshes and flanked by houses on the East side, a stream to the West, and Banbury reservoir to the North. WME although limited in size, does have it's share of good habitat, and recent sightings have included Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler. There are 2 bridges crossing the stream, Sandpiper bridge to the North, and the 'green bridge' to the South. The green bridge in particular is a great place to see Kingfishers whizzing past, and it was along this stream that I had the 3 Spotted Flycatchers a few days earlier.
Back in September 2009 I found my only ever Wryneck on the patch* just over on the other side of the Lea on a rainy September afternoon...sadly I was the only observer on that occasion, as the bird could not be relocated after a heavy downpour had sent me scurrying back home. Many of us are hoping we can unearth one of these little beauties this autumn.
Nothing much doing on WME, so made my way up to the Lockwood where I soon bumped into Graham H who'd just found another Dunlin (been an exceptional year for them). We also had a female Wheatear,
but no sign of the recent female Scoter so we have to assume she's gone (stayed about a week in total which was great, and just long enough to get the species on my house list!).
From here we sauntered down towards the S side and the East Warwick res where a Turnstone had been found the day before (see previous post). Fortunately it was still there going about it's business on the island amongst the local gulls, ducks and Cormorants. A scarce visitor indeed, and only my 2nd ever on the patch.
I parted company with GH and Dan B a short time after, fancying my luck up the path between reses 1 and 3, which has recently proved a great place to find roving mixed flocks of small birds. Sure enough, some 100 metres down, I started to see and hear all sorts of stuff; Robins, tits, several Willow Warblers, Chiffies and Chaffinches, Garden Warbler, Blackcaps, both Whitethroats, then a delightful Spotted Flycatcher - still a scarce bird on the patch - and then...BINGO!, that elusive flash of red/orange denoting my target bird of the day...a (not so Common) REDSTART!! (Perhaps you should make that a small 'bingo!' in case something even better shows up? Nah, leave it as it is - Ed). This was an immature (1st winter?) male bird, and a little beauty at that, with the bright orange tail and flanks contrasting nicely with the grey upperparts, and a faint black throat patch, loverly! One of these days I'll buy a proper camera, until then you'll have to take my word for it.
Like the Turnstone, this was only my 2nd ever C Redstart on the patch so I was made up ;o) Next target species for me is that elusive Pied Flycatcher which I've yet to set eyes on around here. Heard that Jamie P refound the bird on the WWorks this evening, and there was also a Black-necked Grebe on the EW earlier which we missed (or turned up later), found by Mr Messenger, so all in all another TOP DAY on the patch, and I can only sympathise with you poor so-n-so's that were stuck in work all day. There's always tomorrow...
*What constitutes the patch boundary is a very subjective thing, and varies a bit between all of us regulars. I for example DONT include the Waterworks NR, as this is just a little too far South for my liking (and the patch is big enough already). However I DO include Tottenham Marshes as it's really close to me, and in my mind is just a continuation of the same habitat you get on THIS side of the river Lea! (I know Prof W does not agree, but hey-ho, it's a subjective thing as I said).
Lol B @LolBodini