Thursday, 29 May 2014

Blyth's Reed Warbler, Wanstead Flats

News broke of a singing Blyth's Reed Warbler West of Centre Road on the Flats at Wanstead.

Being only 6 miles from home and more importantly a Lifer for me and dad it wasn't long before we were on site.
As expected there were quite a few familiar faces already present when I arrived and plenty more arrived during the time I spent there. 

The first half an hour on site produced no sightings and silence from the bramble patch, but then a few brief calls were heard followed by a couple of very brief flight views deep and low within the brambles.
These were to be the only views we would get during the 5 hour stint we put in.
For the first two hours on site the bird stayed in the central bramble patch, but then took flight and went back into the brambles and gorse bushes where it was first found.
It stayed in these bushes for the rest of the time we were there, and would call a few times then burst into song, and then go silent again for the next half an hour.
Catching any kind of view of the bird proved very frustrating, even when it sounded very close and quite loud as if it was sitting up, there was still no movement seen or sightings of the bird.

Although the bird was heard calling and singing at regular intervals it proved to be very elusive and frustrating to see, all we managed was the very brief flight views within the first hour on site. 
After 5 hours and after the rush hour traffic had eased we decided to head for home.

  Congratulations to Nick Croft , a cracking find and well deserved for the time he puts in on site.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Temminck's Stint, Tyttenhanger GP's

Reports of two Temminck's Stint still present at Tyttenhanger GP's for their third day, persuaded us to make the trip.
Being only twenty four miles from home, it was no more than forty minutes before we were pulling into the fishermen's car park.
After paying the £2 car park fee and grabbing some quick directions we headed off along the footpath making our way towards the East bank.
Taking a wrong fork off the footpath saw us take the long route round, and we ended up on the top bank overlooking the spit.
A quick scope of the area produced a distant and brief view of a single Temminck's Stint before it disappeared in among the vegetation.
Carrying on round we found a path heading down towards a small group of birders, including Harry and Barry. Barry is now convinced we are stalking him!
From this viewing point much better views were had of both birds, but they would frequently disappear among the vegetation before emerging again.
Given the size of these birds any vegetation they moved into made them very difficult to pick up. While we were there the two birds were favouring the far edge of the back spit, making the birds almost impossible to pick out with the bins but when they did emerge from the vegetation some great scope views were had.

It was good to end a recent run of dipped bird trips. Red-rumped Swallow at Thamesmead missed by seconds, Red-footed Falcon at Lee Valley, although doubts have arisen since as to whether the bird was there to begin with since, and the latest a Great Reed Warbler although we didn't have much information to go on and we did get sightings of two Common Cranes and a Red Kite while on site.

The only negative from today's trip was that the birds remained well out of photography range while we were there. But given the recent dips I was just happy to see the birds.

For anyone thinking of going for these birds and who doesn't know the site, the map below may be of some help.

Tyttenhanger GP's 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Lakenheath: Cuckoo's doing well here.

The thinking this morning was to make an early morning stop at the NWT Weeting Heath reserve before  any heat haze kicked in.
As it turned out we didn't have to worry about any heat haze as the sun failed to show at any point during the whole morning.
The visit did however produce good views of a pair of Stone Curlew along with a couple of Woodlarks.

At Lakenheath it wasn't long before the first Cuckoo was heard calling, it was then seen flying overhead and landing in a distant tree.
Lakenheath must be one of the strongholds of this species, as it has always produces good numbers of Cuckoo's each year we visit.
Several birds were heard and seen during the morning, including a close encounter with a pair that flew from the nearby reedbeds directly in front of us.


Another bird landed at the top of one of the tall poplar trees, that will hopefully host some Golden Orioles this year.
According to the warden someone had reported a flash of yellow that morning, could it be a returning Oriole?
A Crane was heard calling from within the reedbed, and Marsh Harriers were very evident, with four birds seen in the air together.
Bitterns were heard "booming" regularly, and Bearded Tits were watched flying across the channel at the Joist Fen Viewpoint. 

View from Joist Fen Viewpoint.

While scanning the area from here our first Swifts of 2014 were seen, along with a couple of Hobbies and Common Buzzards.
On the return route a Kingfisher dropped onto a perch at the visitor centre pond, giving good if brief views. Before leaving another year tick was added when a Garden warbler was found in the scrub surrounding the car park area.