A lovely day saw a huge turnout of birders and, very nearly, birds, on the patch today. @jarpartridge and I had an early start, so early that I missed my normal cup of Java, and, to compound matters and to muss with my OCD he decided to do the Lockwood clockwise (Aargh!) I probably should do this more often as it sometimes pays off, today was one of those days. Halfway up we met @thewolfhounds on his way to work, via a very circuitous route I must say, a quick chat informed us that he had seen a female Wheatear and 7 Common Sandpipers but not too much else.
Opposite where we chose to talk there was quite a bit of bird activity, most of it was made up of Dunnocks, Chaffinches, Blue Tits etc. but there were also some Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers so we lingered....just long enough for Dave to get out of range when Mr. Partridge said Aha! Or something similar. The exclamation was due to a spanking male Redstart which had appeared in front of us! Only my 4th on the patch in 'ahem' years. I did my usual trick of fiddling around trying to set up my iPhone/adaptor/scope/reading glasses combo and managed to miss it disappearing off down stream. We scooted down to the next good looking gap to intercept it and get some photos but it seemingly zipped off towards Tottenham Marsh. Hardly satisfying and you'll have to take our word for its gorgeousness but they all count, especially for me as Jamie had already seen one for the year. #redstartmagnet
A Cetti's Warbler sang half heartedly, as they all seem to be doing at the moment, from near the allotments. I say all, as we are currently blessed with a goodly number of the critters, we had perhaps 5 singers on the reservoirs today, add to that a couple on the marsh and 1/2 on the Waterworks and it is amounting to the best showing (if invisible singers can be said to show) ever on the patch.
An occasional trickle of Swallows all day perhaps added up to 70+ and gave the impression that things were on the move. This was further emphasised by a flyover Whinchat, called by yours truly, followed by a flyover Spotted Flycatcher which had the good grace to land and become two within a few minutes. Two Yellow Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit joined the party, a Hobby flew over and a Green Sandpiper in the North Channel all lulled us into thinking that the floodgates were about to open, unfortunately this pretty much was the last hurrah and the rest of the day was downhill all the way.
As any one (well me) knows, 11:45 is Raptor O'Clock on the patch, and @porthkillier who had actually blown a trip to Minsmere on the strength of the promise of an Osprey, suggested we grabbed a Coffee in readiness of this delight to come, a discussion ensued of how much we need a Cafe on the patch and when that might happen, either way Coffee was eschewed in favour of a quick blast around the Southern section.
West Warwick delivered nowt, East Warwick was much the same, No. 5 was no better but there was a last gasp of excitement after @lolbodini left us and we walked the track between 1,2& 3, another Spotted Flycatcher and three Lesser Whitethroats were in with some Willow Warblers and performed admirably in the last of the summer sunshine.
Around lunchtime we bumped into Steve S who filled us in on the development plans for the new Wetlands project, most of us locals have a feeling of foreboding with what might happen but the good news in this context was that the Coffee shop will be opening 22nd February 2017, you heard it here first, sadly that was not quite quick enough for me and I retreated to chez mois for a cup of Joe.
All in All I saw 67 species today, plus a couple missed, Siskin being the worst miss as I had high hopes of this today, though it seems this year will be a Siskin year so I'll not loose too much sleep over that. Somehow, however, it felt like we had been a little short-changed, especially in the Osprey department (2 were seen to the South and East of us), but I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles.