Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Patchwatch - Common Tern

It was very foggy this morning.  Too foggy for any sensible birder to head out onto their local patch.  So this morning in the fog, I headed out to my local patch.   Visibility was poor, and birdsong was distinctly subdued, but it was the Common Terns that were particularly raucous.  They make a racket, but Terns are stunning birds, and it was a pleasure watching them.

Common Tern on Lockwood

A group of 11 Shelduck were on No.4 and a Reed Warbler sang from the scrub.  On Lockwood, Sand Martin were flying overhead accompanied by a few Swallow.  A pair of Egyptian Goose were attending to their young.

Shelduck on No.4


On leaving, the skies began to clear and the sun appeared.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Patchwatch

A morning visit to the ressies in dull and dreary conditions once again raised hopes for a local vagrant.  Heading to the southern complex, No.4 reservoir held around 30 boisterous Common Terns, with a decent flock of 14 Shelduck congregated on the bank.  Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, and Grey Wagtail were active alongside No.2.

Moving onto Lockwood, a single Yellow Wagtail flew through and there was a steady passage of hirundines and notable was a small group of Common Swift flying high to the east.  Half a dozen Common Tern were commuting between the reservoirs.

Later on, details were received of a Nightingale from Tottenham East Marsh.

Taken from londonbirders wiki:

Tottenham East Marsh: (actually in Walthamstow) Singing Nightingale on South side (07:20-11:50 at least), Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit & Yellow Wagtail over, Lesser Whitethroat

Monday, April 28, 2014

Patchwatch

Pretty routine again with the failure to connect with any passerines of real interest.  Despite reports of Whinchat and Wheatear over the weekend, the paddocks were quiet once again albeit with the ubiquitous sound of Common Whitethroat of which a minimum of six singing males were counted.  A Lesser Whitethroat rattled by the railway line, and at least one Reed Warbler was in song in the small reedbed by the boardwalk.  A pair of Meadow Pipit were content with a morning game of 'chase-me' over the cow field, two Shelduck flew low over the relief channel, and the Sand Martins were present again over the Lea.

Walking round to the Waterworks NR, I was pleased once again to have had a close encounter with another of my canine friends, the owners presenting typical indifference to my howls of unadulterated fear.  A high flying Yellow Wagtail called as it passed over the Pitch 'n' Putt.  A Gadwall and an Egyptian Goose were loitering on the River Lea overflow.  A single Lesser Whitethroat was present along the railway track.

In the reserve itself, Reed Warbler and Cetti's Warbler were in song, as was another Lesser Whitethroat, while Sand Martin were busily passing overhead.  Nine Common Pochard and two Little Grebe were present on the water.  A Peregrine carrying prey flew purposefully to the west over the Lea Bridge Road being mobbed by Gulls.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Patchwatch

More dross.  Wrong place, right time.  The dull, dreary conditions at this time of year are perfect for wayward migrants, unable to navigate due to mist, dodging showers, tired, needing a place to rest.  Of course they're not going to route their way through Walthamstow Marshes and definitely not at lunchtime which is when I decided to drop in myself.  Wayward.... definitely!  Yesterday, the paddocks held four Wheatear, not a bad count.  Today the paddocks held nothing, well nothing of real note besides a few Stock Dove, Linnet, and Pied Wagtail.

I could have turned round and returned home.  My expectations are far too high.  I decided to continue a walk round the Marshes.  I just can't help myself.  The draw of watching a local patch, the minds' utterances of that magic prize bird, a patch first, I daren't miss it, I've waited all year for the end of April.

A few Common Whitethroat were scratching away, some displaying, a delightful bird and up to six individuals counted today.  Two Lesser Whitethroat performed their diagnostic rattle, and five Sedge Warbler were heard at various locations.  Two Common Tern were seen flying over West Warwick and Sand Martin continued their passage north with around fifteen birds seen and accompanied by two Swallow.  Two Reed Bunting were on territory and two Reed Warbler sang close to the boardwalk.

A single Kestrel was the only raptor of note, and four Black Headed Gull flew through.

Until next time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Patchwatch

Walthamstow Marshes horse paddocks held 15 Stock Dove, and four singing Common Whitethroat were present along the relief channel.

At the Waterworks, a female Northern Wheatear sat on top of one of the new grazing area fence-posts, my first for this site.  Two Reed Warbler were on territory, the Cetti's Warbler was still present, and 11 Sand Martin flew through.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Walthamstow Marshes

A marked increase of at least ten Common Whitethroat were in song, a minimum count of eight singing Sedge Warbler, and a single Lesser Whitethroat were present. A Meadow Pipit was displaying on the cow field.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Patchwatch

The joys and frustrations of patch birding.  Joining 'the Prof' today for a walk round Walthamstow Reservoirs with the anticipation that only a warm spring morning after a day of dull and damp conditions can bring. Bouldering towards the ressies, the morning started with a couple of Common Tern over Low Maynard.  Three more then headed north that may have been the same group seen earlier.

Heading out onto Lockwood, a first summer male Northern Wheatear was present along the shoreline until it sat up on top of the tower at the northern end of the reservoir providing great views.

A Peregrine was seen distantly on a pylon where attempted nesting appears to be taking place.  A pair of Pheasant were present at the north end and walking back round, a Common Sandpiper loitered along the fringes before flying off onto one of the islands.

While crossing Forest Road, a Kingfisher shot through whilst making our way onto the southern complex.  A Lesser Whitethroat called and showed exceptionally well atop a bush along with a Sedge Warbler, and a Cetti's Warbler were in the immediate vicinity.

Blackcap were ubiquitous and a Common Whitethroat sang and displayed between the Warwicks.  At least two Reed Warbler were in voice along West Warwick.

Numerous Shelduck and Egyptian Goose were present throughout the complex, and Little Egret were seen regularly in flight.  Three Shoveler lingered on No.4 and another Common Tern flew in.  Two juvenile Greater Black Backed Gull were sat on the main island.

Hirundines trickled through all morning with Swallow and Sand Martin dashing through in modest numbers.  A group of House Martin wheeled over the filter beds.

The clouds thickened, the threat of rain and the hope of something a little different dropping in.  A touch disappointed that nothing materialised.

As the morning warmed up, Butterflies were active with good numbers of Small White and Green-Veined White.  Orange-Tip, Peacock, and Small Tortoiseshell were enjoying the pleasant conditions with a Brimstone and Holly Blue also noted.

A total of 62 species of bird and seven species of Butterfly were reasonable returns, but it could have been better.....

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fishers Green

At Fishers Green today the melodious song of the Nightingale was enjoyed down to a few metres.

Sight of the bird eluded me.  Just the most amazing sound though.  Blackcap appeared to occupy every bush, and a Cuckoo was naturally onomatopoeic.  A single Little Ringed Plover was impressively camouflaged against the shingle on Hall Marsh Scrape.  Two Little Egret were also present there.

Hirundine passage was very much evident today with decent size groups of Sand Martin with a few House Martin and Swallow in the mix.  A pair of Oystercatcher visited Seventy Acres Lake, and a Kingfisher was heard nearby.

A Lesser Whitethroat rattled away between the bushes by the Lea, where a Cetti's Warbler was typically explosive, and a Sedge Warbler scratched away by the river walk opposite Hall Marsh.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Patchwatch

Felt a little quieter this morning, Chiffchaff and Blackcap were less conspicuous but still decent numbers in song.  Started quietly with just a single Common Whitethroat scratching away in scrub opposite the paddocks.  A total of three Sand Martin flew through and seven singing Sedge Warbler were counted, all on the north marsh.  A male Northern Wheatear was flushed from the open area north of the railway.

At the Waterworks NR, two single Little Egret were seen.  One in flight heading north, and one close in on the Lea viewed from the black railings on the opposite side of the pitch 'n' putt.



On the reserve, two Reed Warbler were new for the year, the Cetti's Warbler was typically vocal, and there were counts of 11 Common Pochard, and three Little Grebe.  Two Sand Martin flew through.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Patchwatch

At the horse paddocks, a White Wagtail was present this evening with 15 Stock Dove, while a Kestrel hovered overhead.


Four Sedge Warbler were in song, and a possible Tree Pipit called overhead but wasn't seen so down as one that got away.  A single Sand Martin was seen distantly.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Patchwatch

Much better today.  A stunning morning, but a bit too good I thought.  Blackcap were singing everywhere, hard to count but at least 15 birds around the reserve.  A Common Whitethroat sang from scrub opposite the paddocks with another along Path 13.  A Willow Warbler sang from the main path beyond the railway bridge and a Sedge Warbler was present at the north end with another that showed well in scrub next to the railway bridge by the reedbed.

Walking back along the wooden boardwalk, a smart male Northern Wheatear was flushed from the deck and settled on a pylon above the railway line.  It then returned, and hung around for about ten minutes.


Back towards the paddocks, there was a small flurry of Sand Martin with a group of five and four through.  Following shortly behind my first House Martin of the year dashing through.  A Yellow Wagtail then flew low over calling as if it had just alighted from the paddock.  May have missed it on the deck earlier.

At least five Speckled Wood were on the wing.

A Sparrowhawk and Kestrel completed the list from a good morning.

A short evening visit produced the same or maybe a new male Northern Wheatear, this time showing well in the front paddocks by the horse stables.  A distant Peregrine was seen and a Rook flew low over the paddocks.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Patchwatch

Utter dross this morning.  On Walthamstow Marsh, a singing Willow Warbler, two Sand Martin, and a Swallow were modest returns for a decent walk round the reserve.  Blackcap and Chiffchaff continued to sing in number.

At Waterworks NR, the Cetti's Warbler was typically vocal.  Counts of eight Pochard, single Gadwall, and 11 Teal made up the duck numbers, with 'whinnying' Little Grebe.  Four Sand Martin flew through as did a lone Swallow, and a Lesser Whitethroat put in an appearance, heard singing in the thickets behind Bay 17.

Fared better on a second visit to Walthamstow Marshes in the evening with a singing Common Whitethroat, seven Meadow Pipit, and small groups of Sand Martin (2,5, and 4) moving through.  Two Pochard flew over as did a Gadwall and two Greylag Geese.  A Little Egret flew low up the relief channel, and eight Stock Dove were socialising with the Pigeons on the paddocks.  Finally, a singing Sedge Warbler was present just north of the Railway Bridge on the River Lea side.


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Patchwatch

Relatively quiet this morning around Walthamstow Marshes with my first Willow Warbler of the year singing opposite the paddocks along the edge of the relief channel.  Two Sand Martin were seen flying over the River Lea and a couple of Meadow Pipit flew over.  Singing Blackcap and Chiffchaff were numerous.

At the Waterworks NR, the Cetti's Warbler was in song, and Teal numbers have now reduced to six, with a pair of Tufted Duck and two Little Grebe.  Three Stock Dove flew over, and three Sand Martin were viewed from the reserve, two of which appear to have been same birds seen earlier at the Marshes.  The only raptors were two Kestrel, and a single female Sparrowhawk.

Butterflies provided more interest with a first Orange-Tip of the spring, while two Speckled Wood, five Small White, three Peacocks, and a Comma were on the wing.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Patchwatch - Black Redstart

Always a good day when you manage to bag three new patch birds on a lovely sunny Spring morning. Heading first as always to the horse paddocks at Walthamstow Marshes which appeared relatively quiet. Nothing of real note present apart from two flyover Shelduck and a handful of Linnet preparing for a bit of nest building.  Heading up towards the last paddock at around 8am, a bird alighted from the fenceline.  The bins went up to find a lovely male Black Redstart that after a couple of minutes disappeared from view.  The bird was then seen again on the west side of the paddocks flitting frenetically between the fenceposts.

very poor shot of the male Black Redstart at Walthamstow Marshes

There were at least eight male Blackcap singing along the path up to the Cornmill Car park, and a Sand Martin was seen flying over the river Lea near the footbridge next to Leyton Marsh.

At Waterworks NR, the Cetti's Warbler continued to sing, my first Swallow of the summer flew through followed by two (singles) Sand Martin, a Rook (another patch first!), flew lazily north, and there were counts of eight Common Pochard (seven drakes), two Tufted Duck, 11 Teal, and two Little Grebe.

Later over the Lea Bridge Road, a Red Kite soared high over.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Patchwatch

A warm and clear morning with light winds.  Firstly to Walthamstow Marshes where in the front paddocks a single Fieldfare and Grey Wagtail were present.  Walking up past the horse paddocks, six Meadow Pipit, three Pied Wagtails were seen, and two Reed Bunting.  Chiffchaff were everywhere with around fifteen in song as well as around eight Blackcap.  Two Shelduck flew over.

At Waterworks NR, the Cetti's Warbler was in song, as were a couple of Blackcap.  Eleven Teal and three Tufted Duck were on the various waterbodies and a Little Egret flew over.

Small White and Small Tortoiseshell were the only butterflies on the wing.