Preferring to take my chances on the marsh, rather than chance my arm on the reservoirs I went on a bit of a Snipe hunt today, it was the only bird that we know is definitely on the patch but has yet to be clocked for the year. My theory was that I wouldn’t need to get too wet in finding them, the marsh is a boggy old place but when the temperature is around freezing it is a bit firmer under foot.
Parking at the riding stables in Lea Bridge Road I thought I would check the paddocks for a few year ticks too. The overflow channel was very low, so a quick check from the bridge across to Argall Way was in order – nothing. Well almost nothing, there was a brown blob against the edge, it wasn’t moving but could be a bird, could be a Snipe even, probably be a clod of earth but best check it with the scope, I am here looking for Snipe after all.
Well I never! It is a Snipe, looks short-billed, but it’s stock still, better zoom up…It’s a Jack Snipe! At which point it gave a cursory double bob as if to say ‘fair cop, you got me’
(It stayed all day and was well twitched by a number of locals running literally into single figures)
At the North end of Walthamstow marsh in the Oxbow by the Marina, I saw 2-3 Water Rails and heard 2-3 others all within 50m. Two Snipe were easily seen flying out, and later back into, the ‘Dry’ Reed bed, Reed Bunting(s) were heard, a male Stonechat was at the end of the boardwalk, a massive flock of 2 Linnets were on the back paddocks, another pair of Stonechats on the Fairground field and to cap off the morning a Kestrel hugged one of the pylons.
Can I find a Pheasant? Can I heck. There is always one bird that gives me the run around, though perhaps on the 6th of January that is a bit of an overreaction, anyway that bogie may be laid to rest tomorrow afternoon as I will hopefully get one on the Wild Marsh East when I go on my Barn Owl hunt.