September is generally the best month for autumn migration on the reservoirs which explains why four of us were walking around Lockwood at 7 am. The water levels in the reservoir are unusually low leaving a very good wader edge right around so it was a little disappointing that all we had were six or so Common Sandpipers and a nice Green Sandpiper which dropped in briefly from its usual haunt on the overflow channel. There was not much sign of any other migration either. Two Wheatears fed on the bank, we heard a Yellow Wagtail seemingly heading north while 30 Swifts with a few martins still fed over Banbury. But warblers were scarce, managing, I think, only singles of Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap and Willow Warbler between us along the Lea.
Crossing over the road, we had Common Sandpipers on East Warwick and No 5 before I persuaded the Prof and Lol to join my Captain Ahab-style quest to see a Spotted Flycatcher on the reservoirs this year by walking up the central path. We did find a couple more Willow Warblers but it was only when we stood chatting to an angler at the central pylon bushes and I saw movement over his head deep in a hawthorn bush that the diversion paid off. To my surprise, it was not the warbler I expected but our target. It did pose more typically like a Spotted Flycatcher out in the open occasionally but seemed happier for some reason catching insects deeper within the bushes where there were also a couple of Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and a Reed Warbler. It was in the same area - and only two days later - than my first last year and should, if history be any guide, be followed by more. It was a new patch bird for the year for all of us and took my reservoir list to 110 - three more than 2015.