Thursday, May 03, 2007

3rd May 2007

Walthamstow Marshes 1100-1250 MJP
o/c, brighter later. mod N.

Hobby - 1
Cuckoo - 1 singing
large falcon sp. - south @ 1210 towards waterworks LNR (see below)
Common Whitethroat - 21
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Sedge Warbler - 6
Reed Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 1
Garden Warbler - 1 (again singing in northern copse)
Blackcap - 12
Willow Warbler - 2
Reed Bunting - 5
Linnets - pair (now breeding)
Swallow - 3
Swift - 60+

Relatively speaking, a rich and varied session on the marshes. A Hobby, present for a few minutes and giving good views before leaving to the north, was the first site record this year, and a Cuckoo singing loudly from an exposed perch in the north copse was another personal site tick - although reliable locals have apparently been listening to it daily for at least ten days.

Warblers were particularly good, with (for the second time in ten days) eight species present, and a high count of 21 Common Whitethroats. The real surprise of the day however came in the form of a large falcon, in from the north-east and heading south at some speed, viewable for about ten seconds - just long enough to be able to tell what it wasn't (Peregrine, any smaller spp.), and not exactly what it was (ticking many ID boxes for Saker, but not conclusively).

The chances of conclusively identifying, or establishing the credentials of, the bird are next to none, but it reintroduced a (currently rare) unexpected complexion to local patch-watching at least.