Friday, 29 April 2011

Arctic roll

Had my first Arctic terns of the spring from the house over the Lockwood this evening - 4 birds N at 18.22 to be precise...and I'd been expecting them. Always a delight to see these ultimate long distance migrants so close to home, and only a day later than last year.
Talking to Mr Whiteman, seems he also had a first of the year - a Hobby from his window. Yet to see one of these thus far or more surprisingly perhaps, a Swift, given the recent prolonged warm spell...escaping to the countryside this bank holiday weekend (not least cos of a certain wedding taking place), so they'll have to wait.
The 2 accompanying pics are of a Dunlin seen on the East Warwick on the 15th along with a very sick-looking, semi-submerged Herring gull- diseased perhaps? Who knows, but probably a mere skeleton by now.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

No Question, It Was Over The Patch

After a tip off from Wanstead, I was out in the garden at 21:00 waiting for the predicted flypast of the International Space Station. It was supposed to appear at 21:03, by 21:04 I was becoming doubtful but 30 seconds later it was there, cruising serenely Eastwards.

According to Wikipedia 'the station is maintained at an orbit between 278 km (173 mi) and 460 km (286 mi) altitude, and travels at an average speed of 27,743.8 km/h (17,239.2 mph), completing 15.7 orbits per day', apparently.

I just thought Wow! as it went over.

Can you tell what it is yet?


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Plastic Fantastic

Roy W and team were doing a big day in Essex and asked if we could assist with a few species, Walthamstow is becoming an essential stopover for London/Essex day listing nowadays, so naturally we obliged.

They had done pretty well from pre-dawn till they arrived at about 08:30 and had a lot of other stops planned so the route was a short one, ‘not far from the entrance gate’ was Roy’s request!

We blasted down to the East Warwick and got the required Kingfisher, bonus Shoveler, probably the last one left from the winter, Little Egret etc. Then a dash up to the bottom of the Lockwood for any Waders still around, sadly the smog, plus noxious fumes from the nearby warehouse fire at the Billet put paid to scoping any dots at the far end and they had to leave Waderless, they very nearly had to leave Grey Wagtailless but one flew in as they were walking away.

As I was up there I thought I might as well slog round and see if any of Lol’s Common Sandpipers were still around. He had two yesterday evening after I had been up there all afternoon. Half way along the East bank I was stopped in my tracks by this little beauty.....

....rather too tame for comfort but new for the site (uncountable though) perhaps it comes from the same place as this farmyard type Goose which has recently appeared on the West side of the Lockwood.

At the far end the Greenshank was still around and one of the LRP’s but no Common Sands. A Meadow Pipit and Yellow Wagtail flew over. Common Tern numbers are building.

Later a look around the ‘Triangle’ on Walthamstow marsh revealed many random lone men hiding in the undergrowth, no Grasshopper Warblers and my first Dragon of the year, a Four-spotted Chaser. It has really grown up a lot in there since the last time I had a look around (when the 1989 Dartford Warbler used to get in there) strangely it’s not a part of the patch I check very often. Interestingly a Pheasant called from the marsh, I have not had one here for quite a while, so nice to know they are still around. With Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge in the last couple of weeks, what's next...Quail? Grey Partridge?

The Wheatear was still in the back paddock, the Little Owl was absent as it usually is when Lol is present and the service at the Princess of Wales was as surly as ever, though the Beer was cold and wet, unlike me that was hot and wet so a perfect combination.

We walked back to the car at the other end of the marsh very much refreshed and decided to have a little skywatch as it was now clouding up. We peered South, watching for the Raptor/Crane/Stork that will surely one day come our way, when out of the corner of my eye a pointy winged bird, backlit by the Sun and looking quite dark, flew from behind us going South, my first thought was that ‘Tern is not a Gull and it’s dark, could be a Black Tern’ as soon as I raised my bins I realised that ‘that Tern is not a Tern, in fact it’s a Wader and what’s more it’s a Whimbrel’ It didn’t call and as quickly as it appeared it disappeared behind a Tree never to be seen again.

On this date: 23 04 83 07:30-09:00, Wind SE2, showery; 10-12 Swifts at Walthamstow also 2 House Martin, 4 Sand Martins and 1 Swallow. 9 Sedge, 1 Reed and 1 Willow Warbler. 3 Common Terns and 2 Yellow Wagtails represented summer migrants with a pair of Teal and a male Shoveler left from winter. 1 pair of Mallard with 18 young!


Friday, 22 April 2011

Reeling Them In

Out at a more reasonable hour this morning and first up was the Waterworks, singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps abounded. 2 Snipe in one of the beds and frustratingly brief views of a silent Warbler that could have been a Cetti’s, will have to keep an ear/eye out for that one. Gangs of pumped up male Pochards were stalking the few very nervous looking females present.

A Little Owl was actively preening at the mouth of its Tree hole, the way the leaves are shooting up they will not be visible for many more days. To the East of the riding stables I was halted in my tracks by the distinctive sound of a singing Savi’s Warbler! There is no suitable habitat, though it does look good for Grasshopper Warbler. I stood puzzled for a while. Thinking back to last week’s episode with a ‘tacking’ train, I wondered whether it could be some sort of mechanical noise from the industrial site across the overflow channel. It didn’t call again (or more likely the operative didn’t switch the machine on again, so I moved on.) A Wheatear was in the back paddock and a few Linnets flew over. A singing Lesser Whitethroat eventually gave itself up. As it got warmer I had a quick look from the viewing mound that backs onto the filter beds, there were quite a few House Martins over the F.B. but no Raptors on the wing. No sooner had I walked away than the Gulls went wild! I turned round to see a Buzzard barely at Pylon height, being mobbed, where did that come from? Maybe it had been sat on the pylon!

On the Lockwood in the early afternoon I saw a Greenshank and after a short skylisten (it’s similar to a skywatch except you do it with your eyes shut lying on your back) a pair of Little Ringed Plovers appeared from nowhere, maybe the same birds as last week. A singing Lesser Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail and hunting Peregrine (man those things can move!) completed the days line up. 65 species, a good day. Though somehow managed to miss Swift and Garden Warbler and maybe Grasshopper Warbler (see Dave’s post below) on the marsh this morning.

On this day: 22 04 91 1 Greenshank, 9 Dunlin and 2 Little Ringed Plovers on the High Maynard. 4 House Martins and 1+ Yellow Wagtail over the Lockwood.


Out Early This Morning (for me)

I went over to the marshes at about 6.45 this morning and it was for the most part fairly predictable, but when I returned south from Coppermill Fields I heard a Grasshopper Warbler-like reel near the railways. Obviously the overhead powerlines, but No, it stopped. I was never able to see the bird of course as I was on the wrong side of the lines/fence, but it seemed to be ensconced in what I call the Low Hall triangle, in between the Low Hall curve and the other railway lines. Lot of Linnets down the east side of the large riding paddock and then a bird I haven't seen around here for ages, a female Yellow Wagtail feeding around the muzzle of a grey horse, out on it's own. No Wheatears but the Wagtail was a far better bird for me.

Also a retraction as I've started off the year with some dodgy botanising. My Early Forget-me-not, a plant which does occur in the valley, is in fact Common Cornsalad, a plant I've never been very familar with and which I didn't realise flowered this early. I still need to double-check the fruits to make sure it's not a much rarer species.

I have seen my first damelfly inthe last few days so keep an eye out for these too.

David Miller

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Invisibility Cloak

Early Birds: Many

Worms: None noted

Water Vole: .5

Mouse: .5

Rabbits: Many, some whole

Groundbreaking, Innovative, Maverick are just some of the (printable) words used to describe the work being done here at Walthamstow to unravel the mystery of migration.

The Schrodinger’s Kite theorem has unfortunately suffered from premature publication by pseudo-avian boffins across the Bamboo curtain in Wanstead.

But the good news is that results from our latest research can now be revealed, We are calling this phenomena ‘The Invisibility Cloak.’ After years of painstaking research, it appears that no birds can be seen at night on the patch. At the moment we are keeping all the details secret for obvious reasons but can tell you that it is connected to light, or to be more accurate the lack of light.

We "see" an object because light waves hit it and scatter off - some bouncing into our eyes, making the object visible. The experimental invisibility cloak at Walthamstow works by bending light - like water around an object in a stream. Because light from the object doesn't bounce back and hit our eyes, you get the illusion of invisibility. For some reason this phenomena seems to work best at night but there are some days that it is manifested during daylight hours too.

I have been experimenting for years by going birding at a sensible hour and have seen various numbers of species. It has been determined that the optimum number of species to see at Walthamstow in a day is 54, anything more is categorised as a ‘good day’ and likewise any less is usually deemed, in scientific terms, ‘rubbish.’

As promised yesterday, I determined to carry out the final control experiment in this long series by getting up early for a change to see if more, or as theorized, less birds were seen.

I started off at shortly after 06:00 and walked across the Lammas Fields, there were disconcertingly many birds singing, there were also Rabbits. I was rather pleased to see the latter as they seem to do the opposite to birds and disappear during the day (this is perhaps the counter part to the invisibility cloak, the anti-cloak if you will, further research reveal the truth) anyway just as I was enjoying watching Bugs a rather large Dog raced towards me/it. Neither of us were happy Bunnies I can tell you. Two more giant Hounds appeared. Their owner was mysteriously absent, though I could hear him behind the bushes directing the affair, sadly I left them all to this urban coursing and strolled speedily on, past the ‘Murder - Reward for help’ posters attached to the Trees, it was a year ago this week that someone was shot in the park. Past the ‘Hoodies’ still partying from last night over by the changing rooms. I kept my eyes forward and wondered who could have been behind the killing, my money’s not on the Rabbit.

Crossing the bridge by the Eurostar sidings I heard an unusual tacking call, I tacked back and it answered, I did it again and it responded, I mused for some minutes what this stranger would prove to be. Have you ever heard a train cooling down? Be advised don’t waste as much time as me finding out!

The Golf Course was quiet, which after the Park was a relief to be honest, but birdwise it was quiet too. On to the marsh and precious few additional species crept into the notebook, metaphorically speaking. It’s a metaphorical notebook as well come to think of it.

As I got up to the Rowing Club I heard a plop, much as I did a week or so ago, again I was sure it was a Water Vole and stood and waited, after a while I saw the top half (the bottom half was no doubt connected but underwater) of a swimming Water Vole was coming towards me, I edged my camera phone out of my pocket but too late as the inevitable Dog and handler arrived on the scene, probably setting up some sort of Vole Coursing event.

With few extra species added, save for a Green Sandpiper in the overflow channel, I looped back alongside the Riding Stables, just in time to see the back half of a Mouse going down the front half of a Little Owl. A Snipe was the best that the Waterworks could offer, and then it was time to go back home, don the white coat, lick the pencil and tot up the stats. 52 species seen, none calculated to get the adrenalin going, no year or patch ticks!

So it’s official, going out early results in seeing fewer birds. In fact extrapolating from these figures one could deduce that at about 00:30 no birds at all would be seen. I bet no one saw that stunning result coming. Just another example of the Stirling service we perform on your behalf here at Walthamstow Labs.

What of the future I hear you say? Well work has already started on proving the accuracy of a premise we are calling ‘Ockham’s Razorbill’ Just because something is black and white, sitting on a cliff and smells a bit fishy is it really just an Auk? Time will tell.

On this date: 17 04 82 Male Scaup on High Maynard with Gadwall and the more usual Shoveler, Pochard & Tufted Duck. Fieldfares, Lapwing and Snipe still present but more summer arrivals including, Willow Warbler, Sand Martin, Yellow Wagtail & Tree Pipits.


Saturday, 16 April 2011

I used To Be Indecisive But Now I'm Not So Sure

Was it to be the patch or something more exotic today? Plan A was to go and see the Night Heron on Two Tree Island for my Essex list, which I don’t really keep and then hit the patch. But there was an unconfirmed report of a possible Cretzshmar’s Bunting in Dorset late last night (for which read male Chaffinch, but you never know) so I punched Kimmeridge into the satnav (strangley spellcheck doesn't like satnav and wants to say Satan! We call her/it Emily.) before I went to bed.

Mid-morning there was negative news on the Heron so the patch crept into first place. This was further confirmed when there was no sign of the Bunting either. (Surprised? No. Relieved? Yes.)

As I finished my morning activities the news broke that the Heron was indeed still present, plan B got relegated, to, well B.

I lined up my Birding gear by the front door and then suddenly thought, do I really need Night Heron for Essex? Surely I must have seen one somewhere before!

I decided I had better check my list before the long drive East. I went upstairs and switched the computer on, then I decided that I had better have my bins ready if I was going to be sitting by the back window for a few minutes, they were duly retrieved from downstairs, then the computer decided it needed to configure some updates before it would divulge the relevant information, I decided some skywatching was in order.

Bins were pointed skywards, a Buzzard hove into view, wow that was easy! I double-checked it as it looked slightly long in the tail area. Common it was, and it powered off South. Hmm... I wonder if I should get on the patch instead? The computer was clanking away so I thought I would scan the skies again. Bins were pointed skyward; a Buzzard hove into view, déjà vu was experienced, all over again. I wonder if I should stay at home and skywatch?

Although, if I shot straight down for the Heron then I would have time to get back onto the patch. The pager told of a Wood Warbler at Fishers Green, plan C?. I decided it was all too much and I should go to the patch after all.

As I jumped in the car I'm not sure if I really knew which plan I was going for.

Well the Wood Warbler showed reasonably well, singing partially, and my earliest by two weeks, the Night Heron reappeared just as I arrived at Two Tree Island and duly got itself onto my Essex list, this site also yielded Nightingale and Grasshopper Warbler and then news broke of an Alpine Swift at Rainham which was on the way home.
Unfortunately the Swift proved to be a five minute wonder but I did pick up some House Martins there.

The patch? Well it will be there tomorrow and so will I, bright and early, who knows an Alpine Swift may decide to put in an appearance.

The final sighting on the patch came this evening as the Goodyear blimp flew over, I had seen it earlier whilst watching the Heron. I don't do omens but perhaps it will be a Good Year on the patch.

On this date: 16 04 04 At Waterworks N.R. a high Swift, singing Lesser Whitethroat and Whitethroat.


Saturday 16th

I had a wander around the marshes (Walthamstow) this morning. I found the Little Owl okay in the tree next to (i.e. West of) the one with the bird box . I noticed that I couldn't see it from the concrete plinth by the bridge as a bough of the bird box tree was in the way, but could by going back along the path. It was on one of it's favoured perches.

Next up were a couple of Wheatears on the large paddock. Also a good few Linnets at the top end before the railway. Botanising took over next as Early Forget-me-not is out in the dell and along the stony bank at the back of Coppermill Fields.

On North Marsh there were a couple of Sedge Warblers, one by the railway in full song. Then I searched for and found Adder's-tongue Fern. Overall there are lots of Whitethroats in now but I didn't hear any Willow Warblers. I hope there's at least one around still.

Dave Miller

Thursday, 14 April 2011

New Bird for me in Area

I was going around Hackney Marshes on Thursday (14th), botanising and birdwatching. At 1240 I reached the area where I think the Little Owl is supposed to be in, by the Flood Relief Channel culvert discharge in to the Lea. There I came a cross a family of 8 rapidly growing Mallard chicks. Then on the lip of the culvert I saw a drake Mandarin, my first in this area. It wasn’t looking lost, but started to busily see off 2 drake Mallards also on the lip, which were chasing a female. They then all flew off to the West.

David Miller

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


A rare day off really demanded an early start on the patch, sadly the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak and so I wandered off to the Waterworks around 10:00. The car park was strangely busy, there were people unloading things, there were children! Shouldn’t they all be tucked up indoors during the half term playing on their Ninten-Station-Wii-box’es?

As I crossed the bridge onto the site it became obvious that there were not just a few people around but tents and vans and mini-golf courses, I kid you not....Aaarrrghhh! It was some sort of Country fair, possibly even a Country Fayre!

I stepped up the pace to get to the hide before all sense of peace was shattered, as I did a Willow Warbler sang, try as I might I couldn’t see it but eventually it flew to a more open Ash Tree and sang in the open, I had a good look as it was the first I had seen this year, despite hearing a few. As soon as I turned away it started singing chiff-chaff. It reminded me of a bird I had heard, but didn’t see last May, in the same spot, that I put down as a mixed singing Chiffchaff, this Bird however was definitely a Willow Warbler. It turned out that Mike M had heard the same bird earlier.

Talking of Mike M, I bumped into him in the, thankfully quiet, hide. “I’ll tell you what I have just seen” he said, “and it’s been here since last Friday.....Red-legged Partridge.” I was out of the hide and round to the bottom edge of the meadow before you could say Pear Tree. No bunch of merry making kids were going to rob me of this most prized patch year tick. Thankfully it was still there; unfortunately it saw me before I saw it and ran into cover. This is a somewhat unpredictable, rarely twitchable Bird on the patch and it will likely be years before I see another, or possibly I will see this one again on the weekend.

I got back to the hide and heard and saw my first Reed Warblers of the year. Near the hide the Cowslips are showing well.

Later we walked around the Golf Course in search of migrants in general and Little Owl in particular, Mike had seen one a while ago and my theory is that it is additional to the Birds by the riding stable and probably responsible for the occasional records I get from the house, needless to say we didn’t get it or anything else.

In the afternoon we had a walk around the Lockwood in the hopes of Little Ringed Plover. This proved successful as we came across a pair; the male with its much blacker ear-coverts was especially smart. (#100 for the year and five days earlier than 2010) Also up there was a single Green Sandpiper (there were the regular 4 on the overflow channel too) and a Swallow flew through. Distantly to the South I picked up 2 Terns flying West, we couldn’t find any on the Southern section of the reservoirs later, so I assume they were Common.

Over the West Warwick a large flock of Hirundines stayed high and refused to give up any House Martins or Swifts. For the last week I have been banging on about how early everything, well some things, seem to be this year and how strange it is that Swifts are so late. When I got home I looked up my earliest Swift date (16th April) and realised that they are not late at all, just as well no one was listening.


Friday, 8 April 2011


Today was really a game of two halves.

An early morning start was rewarded with 3 Lapwings actually on the deck on Walthamstow marsh (in the Richard’s Pipit field if you are interested, i.e. the field in which I intend to find a Richard’s Pipit one day) sadly they didn’t stay long as the joggers approached. Somehow I have managed to miss Lapwing on the patch thus far this year and really thought that was it until the Autumn/Winter.

The plan was that Lol was supposed to meet me on the marsh at 08:00 and then we would do the Lockwood for all the big flyover stuff later, but I received a text explaining that 3 of the 4 Glow Worms that power his car had died, or something like that, and so he would do Tottenham marsh instead.

I soon received another text; Whitethroat on TM! The stakes were raised. I wandered further across the marsh until I came across a singing Sedge Warbler, this one was a real poser unlike last week’s skulker. Then suddenly a pallid Warbler zipped across the path and disappeared into the undergrowth, I thought I was on for an early Reed Warbler but the white outer tail feathers put paid to that possibility, it turned out even better as I stalked it and found my earliest ever Lesser Whitethroat.

Minutes later, over by the railway line, a showy Whitethroat sang away. There were plenty of Chiffchaffs and oodles of Blackcaps on the marsh too. Later by the Riding Stables a male Yellow Wagtail flew over and a Little Owl bathed in the Sun.

I did see Lol up on the Lockwood later but to say that our expectations were dashed would be an understatement. I had lined up Jono L at Wanstead to tip us off on any approaching Black Storks and Raptors, especially White-tailed Eagles. The wind was a very light North-westerly so anything heading our way would surely pass Wanstead first. After an hour of texts relating to the colours of various approaching balloons I decided to check the skies by laying on the blockhouse with my eyes closed, it didn’t make much difference.

Conditions really were too good for observing anything soaring over. We did get a few single Yellow Wagtails and a couple of Meadow Pipits but that was it. I said that it might get better as things cooled down later, but we both had things to do so sidled off.

As we departed Lol picked up a Swallow, a Peregrine put in an appearance, 4 Green Sandpipers were in the overflow channel and then a Pheasant appeared but it was not enough to detain us. About the time I left the reservoirs Mark P had a Marsh Harrier flyover Stoke Newington, by back calculating it’s route, it would have come directly over our heads if we had stayed put for another twenty minutes! D’oh!

I bumped into George as I left and he told me that Pete and he had had Red Kite and Common Tern on Wednesday, there was also a Little Ringed Plover on the Lockwood on Thursday.

Further grippage came when Lol informed me that someone had seen Barn Owl on Tottenham marsh a few times late last year, surely visible from the patch! And then, more up to date, Jamie P told of a Grasshopper Warbler seen and heard on Hackney marsh this morning, maybe audible from the patch, but certainly seen heading our way, and a probable Reed Warbler on the Waterworks N.R.

All in all a good day with 4 patch year ticks this morning and another this afternoon, but can’t help thinking we should have got something from our skywatch!

On this date: 08 04 95 A few Willow Warblers singing on Walthamstow Marsh also a Sedge Warbler.


Sunday, 3 April 2011

Rapturous Applause

“Where do I begin to tell the story

Of how great a patch can be?

The sweet love story that is older than the sea

The simple truth about the year ticks brought to me

Where do I start?”

I was moved this afternoon, moved to go and find a Marsh Harrier over the patch, I should probably have moved to a different patch as Andrew S, at Brent, had one and I didn’t. But what an afternoon, truly moving, dare I say Rapturous. As Andy Williams put it above, where do I begin?

I arrived at the car park at the same time as a couple of visiting birders, we checked out the log book and they decided to have a crack at the Scaup on the West Warwick, I was already inclined to go up to the Lockwood and decided this would be the best policy as I could, hopefully, grill them later about the Southern side of the complex.

I spotted the familiar figure of Lol B about 200 metres ahead of me (disturbingly the last couple of times we have bumped into each other he has been dressed the same as me, camo trousers and a blue fleece. In fact he’s now cut his hair, probably in an attempt to look as young as me. I wonder if he’s been watching ‘Single White Female?’) I phoned him and said “don’t flush anything till I catch up”. He accused me of stalking him. I suppose that makes us quits.

He didn’t flush anything although Andrew, another birder we bumped into, had just seen a Wheatear in the very spot we were all standing in but we couldn’t see it. They had both done the circuit of the reservoir for little reward so I decided just to sit on the blockhouse and see what drifted over, one day my ‘circus’ will roll into town.

Andrew had no sooner left us when Lol spotted a high circling Raptor that very quickly materialised into an Osprey, we ran after him but he had vanished. This bird was a day earlier than the one Lol found last year, and to think he always says that Mark P exudes Raptor pheromones! We called a few of the Ally Pally boys but really it would have been a long shot for them as it was well to the North.

Buoyed by our success we scanned the skies in earnest and came up with a Buzzard, Lol had seen one 30 minutes earlier, and, after another 20 minutes we got a third. Next up was a Peregrine with some huge item of prey at least the size of a Turkey, well nearly as big as itself; it was clearly struggling to stay airborne and was circling trying to gain height. As it did so it came under sustained attack by what was clearly a much smaller Falcon, let’s just say it didn’t look like a Kestrel or Hobby, enough said...we don’t claim just anything on mega-distant views you know. Anyway the Merlin, er, small Falcon, soon disappeared and the Peregrine went down somewhere in the Walthamstow area, I don’t suppose it’s breeding there, probably just couldn’t carry the weight any further.

It got a bit colder and Lol headed off for home and I headed for the Southern section. Within a minute he phoned to say the Wheatear was right in front of him but as I turned back I received a text from Mark ‘pheremones’ P to say they had a Short-eared Owl over Walthamstow, I got Lol to come back for a look whilst I phoned Mark for more gen. Apparently they had lost it five minutes earlier but we persisted in scanning in the appropriate direction and were rewarded with it low to the South-east five minutes later. Another splendid bird for the year.

Jono L at Wanstead had obviously got wind of the Owl and phoned to see if it was coming his way, it was sort of, but then turned back and seemed to drop down in the Walthamstow/Hackney marsh area. I suspect he returned to back-calculating the route of our earlier Osprey, in the scandalous hope of proving it had flown over Wanstead!

We added a, probably breeding, pair of Kestrels and a Sparrowhawk to the days tally and headed over to the East Warwick where there were two female Wheatears on the West bank, singing Sedge Warbler by the railway and distant scope views of the two female Scaup, on the West Warwick. I picked up another Raptor with my bins but just couldn’t get it in the scope, by this time I think we were straining our eyes to just beyond their technical limits. Then Lol got the next text from Stoke Newington “Goshawk with prey to the South-east,” sadly try as we might it eluded us but we did see yet another Peregrine.

The best of the rest were the increase in singing Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, surely this means the other Warblers are only days away now. Later we bumped into Val, who I see occasionally on a Sunday on the Res’s, it turns out that she works in the same office as me, I mean the actual office....10 metres away, and has done for a year! It’s a marvel I can identify any birds at all. Enough! Don’t start.


Friday, 1 April 2011

I'll Take the Low Road (and you'll find the Warbler!)

I intended to go over to Walthamstow at some stage this morning but you know how it is one thing leads to another and before you know it you’re still at home and a Red Kite flies over!

It was really low and very slow, given the fairly strong South-westerly, giving me enough time to get a dodgy phone-shot, but not enough time for digi-binning.

Later on I did get over to the Waterworks where a singing Willow Warbler greeted me, sadly it was not so obliging when Lol appeared, but neither was the Blackcap that he had had earlier. On the marsh the Little Owls refused to give themselves up and the only thing of any note was a flyover Meadow Pipit and a small flock of Linnets.

On the reservoirs we were trailing Pete who had already heard Blackcap between No.2/3 and had some Sand Martins over the Lockwood. We picked up another Blackcap on the scrubby patch at the North of the East Warwick.

It was decision time as to whether to go round the West Warwick or even walk the long way around the East Warwick, we debated the merits.....It’s windy, we’re tired, it’s a long way, and we can’t be bothered.

Pete, however, did it and came up with the 2 Scaup still on the West Warwick and an early Sedge Warbler singing from Brambles by the railway and East Warwick. (This meant I had to go back later and try for the Sedge Warbler, it was four days earlier than my earliest) Not knowing at which end of the reservoir it was meant I walked to the end and virtually back again before hearing it behind me! That will teach me to take the easy route. I did get a flyover female Goosander and a superb low hunting female Peregrine for my troubles, as well as the Sedge Warbler.

Back around No.5 we had good views of the courting Kingfisher(s) another singing Blackcap and at least 9 Little Egrets on the No.1 island, now starting to give their weird ‘bubbling’ call. I picked up another medium sized Raptor getting mobbed by a couple of Crows but it disappeared before we could clinch it.

Needless to say we could find neither sight nor sound of the earlier reported Seal.


On this date: 01 04 91 At Walthamstow the first Wheatear [male] of the year and 2 Sand Martins. Also 6 Goosander and a female Pintail.

Don't get fooled again

I am visiting birder of Sweden and am following much the blog from Walthamstow. I have opportunity to visit this day and was hope to much enjoy. However I write for warning to other visitors.

There are few birds, I think these people make stories about birds, these Walthamstow birders not make me fool second time. I am going Wanstead next week and hope see real birds.

I looking for the Mink but I am no seeing. Fisherman say me there is animal on bank of large reservoir, I don’t know number, but only there is Seal. This place is rubbish.

Olof Paril

Waterworks Warblers

Blackcap and Willow Warbler were in at Waterworks N.R. yesterday.


South Ranger: Parkland & Venues
Valley Regional Park Authority
Waterworks Nature Reserve and Golf Centre,
Lammas Road, off Lea Bridge Road,
London, E10 7NU
Telephone: 020 8988 7565 Fax: 020 8539 7004