Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Gloss Finish

I have been having a few nagging patch feelings of late. I had been picking up and ticking on other patcher’s finds for a while, but feelings of not contributing significantly to the patch year list have been building.


Today I had an induction/shadowing morning at Rye Meads RSPB, as myself and another person are due to become once-a-month leaders in their 'Messy Welly' pre-school group. (thanks Sue)

As there have been a few interesting London birds around lately I took my birding gear, I thought that on my way back down to Hackney Downs I’d jump off the train at Tottenham Hale and scoot round to the Lockwood and see what the rain might have brought in.

I almost went straight on to Hackney, but I didn’t, and jumped out at Tottenham. I had my bike, so I figured a quick dash along the road to see nothing and dash back couldn’t hurt.

I saw that the last sighting in the log book was on the 18th. That spurred me on a little. The place hadn’t been checked over for a few days and, with the weather, something could be waiting to be seen.

As I approached the southern tip of Lockwood I could see that the water level of the reservoir was at the lowest I had ever seen and that the edges all around were very busy with birds. There was exposed mud at nearly all the edges which are normally submerged.

I immediately saw a Little Egret feeding along the southern edge and thought that a bit unusual. So I took a snap, thinking that that might be the most interesting bit of my visit.

But then, I looked at the Egret again and worked backwards to find...a GLOSSY IBIS doing a similar bit of feeding.

photo 1

I snapped two photos through the rain and then watched it as it took flight northwards and seemed to settle halfway up the east side of Lockwood.

photo 2

I tweeted out the two pics to #londonbirds and @WildWalthamstow. I couldn’t call any of the patchers as I had lost my phone recently and my new phone had no numbers in it.

I sat down behind the southern Lockwood tower and wondered what to do next...when @birdingprof called...then @LolBodini thing we were all walking up the west side of Lockwood, scanning the east side, @StuartFisher16 joined us.

There was no sign of the bird but fortunately, a short while later the GLOSSY IBIS was relocated in the drainage channel just north of Lockwood. @JW_Davies soon joined us along with Lol C. and I passed Mike M on my way out. 

Happy Days!

I duly recorded the sighting in the reservoir log book.

After scribbling the sighting down, the Thames water guys told me that they were locking up, I sheepishly informed them that there were a number of birders quite far up on the site checking out a rare bird. They had to give me their emergency number to text on to the people left up on Lockwood. I saw a few make it out. But there might be a few left up there...

GH - @leevalleybirder


This is the first new addition to the patchlist #247 since 22nd Mar 2012, long expected, but all credit to Graham for plugging away and getting it, and getting the news out too! Some of my dodgy shots below. PW


  1. Yes I concur with PW...a great find, and well done to Graham 'Rain Man' Howie for plugging away at the patch in the most inclement weather (carries a brolly with him, bless)...just wish it'd been me that found it of course! Did manage to get it on the house list though as it flew South along the flood relief channel at 18.03...who knows, it seems to have fed well, so might even have gone to roost with the Little Egrets on the S side & stick around for a while...LB

  2. Super find. And thanks for putting out the information so promptly.

  3. Really well done Graham. Am really sorry to have missed but really pleased the Rye Meads thing worked out! Xx