Friday, December 29, 2006

Stoke Newington species list, 2006

Stoke Newington Birds in secret listing shocker

Borne out of Christmas tedium, the following is the list of species I've recorded in the neighbourhood over the last year. There have been some real surprises during 2006, especially during autumn migration, and on the whole the area has greatly exceeded expectations; on the other hand, there are certain species which were as good as expected, which failed to put in an appearance. Such is the beauty and unpredictability of working a local patch.....

Examples of such unpredictability include the surprise records of Golden Oriole, Black-tailed Godwit, Tree Sparrow, Osprey & Yellowhammer - in most cases, a welcome pay-off for being in the right place at the right time during passage periods. Regular and extensive visible migration watches brought particularly satisfying returns. On the other hand, notable absentees (all of which were more likely than the above) include Common Redstart, Shelduck, Black Tern, Pied Flycatcher, Little Egret, Cuckoo, Stonechat and Firecrest.

The lack of suitable habitat for passage waders continues to frustrate, and the species which even the most modest drop in water levels would possibly accomodate include Redshank, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, and Little Stint. This year's wader species were hard work, with the expected list (Common & Green Sandpipers, Snipe) being supplemented by flyovers only - Lapwings, Curlews, a single Woodcock and the Godwit, the latter trying hard for several minutes before giving up and moving on.

Stoke Newington's only real woodland, Abney Park Cemetery, is also potentially far more productive than records suggest. A combination of under-watching, and the basic difficulty in finding the birds in such an extensive habitat, means several possible woodland species (Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Firecrest) may have gone unnoticed during the year.

For the purposes of 'Stoke Newington Birds', the Stoke Newington recording area referred to here is defined as a mile radius from the centre of Abney Park Cemetery. Most records come from Stoke Newington Reservoirs, but some (marked with an asterisk) come from elsewhere in the recording area.

1 Mute Swan
2 Greylag Goose
3 Canada Goose
4 Egyptian Goose
5 Wigeon
6 Gadwall
7 Teal
8 Mallard
9 Shoveler
10 Red-crested Pochard
11 Pochard
12 Tufted Duck
13 Ruddy duck
14 Goldeneye
15 Little Grebe
16 Great Crested Grebe
17 Black-necked Grebe
18 Cormorant
19 Grey Heron
20 Sparrowhawk
21 Common Buzzard
22 Osprey
23 Kestrel
24 Hobby
25 Peregrine
26 Water Rail
27 Moorhen
28 Coot
29 Lapwing
30 Snipe
31 Woodcock
32 Black-tailed Godwit
33 Curlew*
34 Green Sandpiper
35 Common Sandpiper
36 Black-headed Gull
37 Common Gull
38 Lesser Black-backed Gull
39 Caspian Gull
40 Yellow-legged Gull
41 Herring Gull
42 Greater Black-backed Gull
43 Common Tern
44 Rock dove/feral pigeon
45 Stock Dove
46 Wood Pigeon
47 Collared Dove
48 Rose-ringed Parakeet*
49 Tawny Owl*
50 Common Swift
51 Kingfisher
52 Green Woodpecker
53 Great Spotted Woodpecker
54 Skylark
55 Sand Martin
56 Swallow
57 House Martin
58 Tree Pipit
59 Meadow Pipit
60 Rock Pipit
61 Yellow Wagtail
62 Grey Wagtail
63 Pied Wagtail
64 Wren
65 Dunnock
66 Robin
67 Whinchat
68 Wheatear*
69 Ring Ouzel
70 Blackbird
71 Fieldfare
72 Song Thrush
73 Redwing
74 Mistle Thrush
75 Sedge Warbler
76 Reed Warbler
77 Blackcap
78 Garden Warbler
79 lesser Whitethroat
80 common Whitethroat
81 Chiffchaff
82 Willow Warbler
83 Goldcrest
84 Spotted Flycatcher
85 Long-tailed Tit
86 Blue Tit
87 Great Tit
88 Coal Tit
89 Golden Oriole
90 Jay
91 Magpie
92 Jackdaw
93 Rook
94 Carrion Crow
95 Starling
96 House Sparrow
97 Tree Sparrow
98 Chaffinch
99 Brambling
100 Greenfinch
101 Goldfinch
102 Siskin
103 linnet
104 Lesser Redpoll
105 Bullfinch
106 Yellowhammer
107 Reed Bunting

Sudan Golden Sparrow

Of the 110 species I've recorded since covering the area regularly (from 1st August 2005), three - Garganey, Pied Flycatcher and Pheasant - were before 1st January 2006.

Records from other observers during 2006: Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sandwich Tern, Pheasant, Arctic Tern (?).

To have recorded more than 100 species at such a small, confined and truly urban site is unexpected and encouraging, and presumably constitutes the highest ever year count for the area; here's hoping next year will be as productive.

Happy New Year


28th December 2006 (add.)

Walthamstow Reservoirs 0730-1330 DC, MJP
mild, o/c. light/mod SSW.

A long overdue first visit to the largest and most productive site in the lower Lea valley; five hours covering the whole site, thanks to guidance and local knowledge from David (Callahan, regular patchworker). Apparently a below-par day for the area, but easily enough to enjoy as a debutante.

Egyptian Goose - 2
Hybrid Canada/Greylag - 5
Shelduck - 4
Gadwall 19
Teal - 142+
Goldeneye - 18 (inc. 5 ad drakes & 2 1st win drakes)
Ruddy Duck - 68
Little grebe - 30
Green Sandpiper - 1
Common Sandpiper - 4
Kingfisher - 1
Meadow Pipit - 2
Stonechat - 1 female
Goldcrest - 2
Goldfinch - 15

The pair of Egyptian Geese that regularly frequent WR, and SNR, on their travels around the capital finally volunteered their BTO ring numbers after being tempted by christmas cake.....

Goldeneyes, 18 in all and including several adult males, provided interest on almost all of the ten reservoirs covered.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

25th, 26th & 27th December 2006

two post banquet walks with friends and a house flyover.....

25th - Clissold Park (1300-1430)

Pochard - 1 male
Shoveler - 1 male
Grey Heron - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Chaffinch - 12

26th - Walthamstow Marshes (1300-1500)

Little Owl - 1
Meadow Pipit - 6
Golfinch - 27
Chaffinch - 40+
Greylag - 7 over
Kestrel - 2

27th - Geldeston Road

Rose-ringed Parakeet - 1 over

(the fifth record from the window, confirming our street as the best site for this species in the Stoke Newington area....)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

24th December 2006

SN Reservoirs 0740-0920 MJP, PR
o/c, cold. light-mod NE.

Teal - 1 male
Water Rail - 1
Shoveler - 9
Black-headed Gull - c1500
Common Gull - 25
Herring Gull - 8
LBB Gull - 12
Great Crested Grebe - 4
Little Grebe - 2

Predictably quiet early session on patch, with wildfowl numbers as expected (although once again the WR is proving increasingly attractive) and Coot numbers much lower than of late. A steady passage of Black-headed Gulls from first light, coming in from the north-east and moving south-west, numbered at least 1500, a high count for the site. A male Teal and a Water Rail (both at the ER) provided a little seasonal interest.

Friday, December 22, 2006

21st & 22nd December 2006 (add.)

Walthamstow Marshes 1130-1300 (both days)
fog, cold, still (both days)

Little Owl - 1 (22nd)
Stonechat - female (both days)
Chiffchaff - 2 (21st)
Meadow Pipit - 5 (21st), 2 (22nd)
Linnet - 3 (21st), 2 (22nd)
Goldfinch - 14 (21st), 7 (22nd)
Chaffinch - 16 (22nd)
Greylag - 3 (22nd)
Little Grebe - 1 (22nd)

two late morning walks around the marsh this week in thick, Dickensian fog.... the Little Owl is one of the highlights of watching the patch so far.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Flamborough Head - 17th - 20th December 2006

Flamborough Head, 17th - 20th December 2006

A few days back home (for the first time in months), two of which were spent at least partly out in the field.

Thornwick Bay to South Landing (along the cliff-top), 18th December 2006

(North Landing)

The full circuit on a truly perfect mid-winter's day, from the village, via Thornwick Bay, North Landing, Breil Nook, Selwicks Bay, the Fog Station, south cliff and South Landing. Clear, blue skies, sunshine, little wind, a sharp frost thawing and barely anybody else encountered.

Highlights included a female Merlin and 50+ Skylarks at Northcliffe, a Short-eared Owl and several small, mixed groups of Linnet & Twite at Head Farm, a more accomadating party of 42 Twite feeding along Old Fall hedge set-aside, a male Pintail close in with Mallards on the sea, five Stonechats and four Hares scattered along the route.

(Selwicks Bay)

click on images to enlarge

(Twite flock, Old Fall)

(Short-eared Owl, Head Farm)

(Rock Pipits, South Landing)

(male Pintail with Mallards on the sea)

(South Landing)

Bridlington Harbour, 20th December 2006

half an hour on the southern edge of the harbour (by the Spa Royal Hall) watching several Purple Sandpipers and five (very relaxed) Red-throated Divers, plus Turnstones, Sanderlings, Redshanks etc.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

14th December 2006 (add.)

Walthamstow Marshes 1130-1300 MJP
Mild, o/c. Blustery W.

Stonechat - 1 female
Meadow Pipit - 5
Little Grebe - 1
Goldfinch - 15

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

13th December 2006

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 0750-0930 MJP,PR

Peregrine - 1 imm. male
Chiffchaff - 1
Fieldfare - 1
Greylag - 5 (WR)

It looked like being a very quiet morning, when an immature male Peregrine (a surprisingly scarce bird in the area, with only a couple of records this year) performed beautifully for around 15 minutes over the East Reservoir, chasing pigeons, briefly alighting, dive-bombing several times from up high and weaving in and out of the tower blocks.

Otherwise, a single Chiffy is remaining faithful to the New River path (east), and duck numbers, although quite low overall, are split between the two reservoirs (probably indicative of improved water quality on the WR).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

5th December 2006 (additional)

Walthamstow Marshes 1140-1300
changeable, showery. blustery W.

Stonechat - 1 female
Meadow Pipit - 6
Goldfinch - 20
Canada Goose - 35
Kestrel - 2