Thursday, 29 July 2010

Glorious Mud!

I have been wallowing on 114 for the patch year list for a while now, just 1 below my eventual total for the whole of 2009, with the water levels low on most of the reservoirs my expectations of a new Wader being the equalizer for the year were quite high. The Lockwood had a nice muddy edge and numbers of Common Sandpipers were impressive, perhaps 15 on this one reservoir alone, so it was a little bit of a surprise when a juvenile Skylark flew onto the grassy bank of the Lockwood, looked at me and flew off, I didn’t get one last year at all and this was my first for 2010, given that they were a common breeder not so very long ago it is a bit sad that it is such a headline bird now. I usually just get them as flyovers in the Autumn or perhaps the odd bird in the Winter. So 115 Mudlark.

Less of a surprise was year bird 116 a young Little Ringed Plover on the North bank of the Lockwood. My hoped for target of 120 for the year must be quite realistic, probably less so the target of 150 for the site as a whole but we will see.

Another 5 Common Sandpipers and a Green Sandpiper on the Southern part of the complex were the only other Waders. Surely a more exciting Wader will drop in soon.....A Sparrowhawk pursuing and then catching a hapless Starling was quite exciting, certainly for me and the Sparrowhawk, perhaps less so for the Starling.


Friday, 23 July 2010

The last of the summer whine

Normally I wait for inspiration whilst on the patch for my blog title but today I cheated. A) I knew I wouldn’t see anything, hence the whine, and B) I won’t be patching for a couple of weeks (unless some kind soul finds some goody that sticks till evening or a convenient time on the weekend) hence the last of the summer, as the next time I get over to Walthamstow it will surely have an autumnal feel to it.

Birders seem to say nowadays how rubbish June is, that has now spread to saying how June-like July is. I don't remember this lull before, maybe we all just make more effort on our patches early on in the year and see everything there is to see by June. When you look at peoples patch lists it does seem like most have virtually seen as much as last year in the first seven months of 2010. Perhaps we should all relax a bit more and save some year ticks for the summer, perhaps it doesn't really matter, perhaps I am just padding the blog out :-)

Just to prove I didn’t see anything here is a list: Mute Swan, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Common , Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Sand Martin, House Martin, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, , Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed Warbler, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Robin, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch. See nothing!

Actually not that bad really, nice to hear the Cetti’s again, I think they must have bred and perhaps having a second brood (if they do that), Blackcaps also singing and quite a lot of roving Tits and Warblers.

The best of the rest was a single Common Darter, my first of the year, which true to its name darted off as soon as I caught sight of it. Plenty of Butterflies including my f.o.s. Gatekeepers and surprisingly large numbers of Rabbits, they normally disappear during the day, but I think the bunnies haven’t learnt that yet.
I was lucky to catch the rarest sighting on film, not normally a summer visitor in these parts and usually only seen in a narrow window around the end of December.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Tales of the Riverbank

I thought it would be a good idea to get an early start on the patch and avoid the sweltering heat, so, up to the Lockwood and re-find the White-tailed Plover, well up to the Lockwood anyway. I thought I might have heard a Common Sandpiper but didn’t see one (one on No.4 later was the only Wader of the day). There were stacks of Little Egrets feeding and flying over and great flocks of moulting Tufted Ducks and some Pochard, presumably the flocks of Coot were also moulting but it’s a bit harder to tell with them.

The most interesting bird of the day was Common Tern fishing from a perch. Are they supposed to do that? I have never seen it before. An adult bird was sat on a rail above a disturbed area of water, watching intensely for any movement, bobbing its head like a Kingfisher, I assumed it was fishing but waited to see what it would do, sure enough after a few minutes it plunged into the water, though unsuccessful, and then sat back on the rail and repeated the exercise.

More Little Egrets were on the South side of the reservoirs also plenty of Warblers, including one or two Lesser Whitethroats. A Ring-necked Parakeet was still lingering around one of the islands; I guess we have got them for good now. (When does the cull start?)

Best of the rest was a 5 Spotted Burnet Moth, not sure which one but I suspect narrow bordered.

Also a large Carp in the River which defied photography, a Silver Y Moth landing in the River for some inexplicable reason, and a possible Jacana, though Moorhen has not been ruled out at this stage.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Keep the faith

After declaring, in the last post, that the June lull is officially over, I can now officially declare the July lull to have started! Fear ye not though, as July will surely bring a good bird. Not today though.

I had a good look around the Waterworks this morning but apart from a few Dragonflies, Damselflies and Butterflies there was not much else aflight. There was little on the deck either come to that, a Mouse/Shrew/Vole scampered into some scrub before I could get a look at it, as did something bigger (Rat?) and despite it being fairly warm there was no sign of any of the 300 Common Lizards supposedly rescued from another site and released here, how can you miss 300 Lizards? Perhaps all the Grass Snakes have eaten them, come to think of it where were they?

Always worth the effort at this time of the year as you never know.......


(On this date: 04 07 98 An adult Peregrine carrying prey over the house this afternoon.)