Friday, 15 April 2016

Time For a Swift One

Overnight rain clearing early morning, with a low to the South-west producing light Southerly winds. You couldn’t write a better script. A plan was hatched.

Myself, @jarpartridge and @porthkillier arrived at the Lockwood shortly after 07:00. Dave raced a fisherman all the way to the top hopeful that he wouldn’t flush all the Waders, he didn’t neither did the Fox that beat them both to it, mainly because there were none. Jamie and I decided that, even with his gammy leg, we weren’t going to catch him so legged it up the other side also flushing no Waders. We met at the North end but decided a vigil for the Barn Owl (yes it’s back in the same place as last year, or if you’re Pete L, it’s coincidentally the second one in 40 years that just happens to be in the same place as last year’s one:-) ) in the drizzle was a bit of a non-starter, but hopefully more of that anon.

We wandered down to the blockhouse on the East side and the rain eased, as it did 4 dark shapes materialised silently out of the murk and resolved themselves into Whimbrel, I only get Whimbrel every other year, though often get them a few times in the years that I do, strange! They flew off WSW. No sooner than had disappeared a lithe, long-tailed Tern flew North, clearly heading for the Arctic – a simple identification, Arctic Tern.

Whimbrel - four
There were a group of 3 Yellow Wagtails, resplendent in their Lemony-ness, on the bank and a few more flew over during the morning as did a group of 8 Meadow Pipits and some singles. There were plenty of Hirundines, of all three flavours, moving through too, the first big push of the Spring.

Yellow Wagtails -three
Jamie decided that he had to go to work but Dave and I pressed on to the Southern side of the complex although neither of us could give it long either, Jamie lingered by the gate, pretending to do his shoelace up, or something, clearly nervous to leave us unchaperoned. I did the decent thing and shouted ‘Swift’, for one, the first for London for the year no less, had just flown over the Ferry Boat Inn, he saw it and departed.

We pressed on and almost instantly found a Lesser Whitethroat by the Meccano Bridge, though it turns out Pete L had seen it yesterday (he also saw the 4 Red-crested Pochards fly onto the East Warwick, pesky things).

The West Warwick held a couple of new Reed Warblers and the Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat were still singing along the railway line. The male Peregrine was sitting on the pylon above the Spider infested hide. The female remained unseen, sitting on eggs with any luck, though no one can work out where.

No.5 gave up nothing in a brief scour but we really wanted to walk the trail between Nos. 1,2 & 3 to find a Pied Flycatcher but due to some sponsored Fishing match the trail had been turned into the M25, we re-named the ‘Magic Circle’, the ‘Magic Turning Circle, certainly no self-respecting Flycatcher was going to give itself up in there today. Apart from a couple of showy Cetti’s Warbler we gained nothing.

Yellow Wagtails - Tree
We had been glancing across at No.4 from various vantage points during the morning, half expecting that there would be Terns, when we finally reached there, there was, one Common Tern. Nothing to set the earth on fire, but five new additions for the patch year list doesn’t happen every day, apart from January 1st, and almost certainly won’t happen again in 2016, though the 4th Annual Walthamstow Patch Watch (AWPW4) is being held on Saturday 30th April so never say never…


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