Friday, September 28, 2007

28th September 2007

SN Reservoirs 0630-0830 MJP, LP
o/c, cool, bright spells. mod NE.

Redwing - 68
Chaffinch - 72
Song Thrush - 23
Mistle Thrush - 12
Meadow Pipit - 3
Starling - c70
Swallow - 1
Sand Martin - 2
House Martin - 2
Chiffchaff - 4
Blackcap - 1
Wigeon - 5

A productive morning's skywatching (at last!), with conditions ideal and the classic common autumn migrants on the move, to varying degrees. Thrushes moved over in force, with Redwings dominating (after yesterday's first record of the autumn at the marshes), and Chaffinches were also numerous; almost all flyovers headed west and north west.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

27th September 2007

Walthamstow Marshes 1030-1200 MJP
mainly bright, o/c. blustery NE. cold.

Stonechat - 3 (ad male & 2 imm males, cow field)
Redwing - 8 west
White Wagtail - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 1
Grey Wagtail - 2
Pied Wagtail - 10
Stock Dove - 5
Meadow Pipit - 20
House Martin - 6
African Grey Parrot - 1
Sparrowhawk -3 (2 high and south-west)
Chaffinch - c15

A cold, autumnal and blustery day on the marshes, with the winds from the north-east and the temperature low. The weather system lends itself perfectly to continental drift migration, and the east coast is surely the place to be, with the winds veering easterly off the lower edge of a high pressure over Scandinavia - perfect conditions for finding quality birds on the coast. However, being trapped in London, you make the best of it, and today's haul showed more interesting movements than of late.

Three Stonechats in the cow field were fresh in, a fine selection of wagtails in the horse field included both White and Yellow, Meadow Pipits were dropping in while watching and at least 20 were present, both grounded and over, and the first Redwings of the year - eight west, calling - were a pleasure to hear again.

26th September 2007

three sites covered today:

Walthamstow Marshes 1030-1200hrs MJP
blustery W, o/c, cold, mainly bright.

African Grey Parrot - 1 (perilously associating with the Kestrel family)
Meadow Pipit - 16
House Martin - c40
Clissold Park 1300-1450 MJP
Yellow Wagtail - 1 over
Meadow Pipit - 1 over
Shoveler - 1
Little Grebe - 5
plus new broods of Mallard & Moorhen.

Abney Park Cemetery
15 Long-tailed Tits & 2 Stock Doves

Geldeston Road
Tawny Owl calling from back gardens, early hours

Monday, September 24, 2007

24th September 2007

SN Reservoirs 0630-0840 MJP, LP
initially windy (SW), dull & overcast. see below...

Peregrine - 1 adult male, caught pigeon, then flew SE
Water Rail -1
Reed Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
House Martin - c40, tight flock south
Wigeon - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Shoveler - 43
Pochard - 17
Tufted Duck - 46
Gadwall - 20
Little Grebe - 6
GC Grebe - pair with three young chicks

What began as a dull, grey, windy morning on patch turned into something of an unexpected adventure at around 0740, when out of the blue, the SW wind intensified to gale force, the sky blackened, the torrential rain was horizontal and Laurence and I clung onto an Oak tree for the longest minute I've experienced for years....

Birds were (predictably, given the conditions) limited to say the least, and visible migration was non-existent but for a tight, fast-moving and evidently very sensible flock of House Martins, which flew clean through just prior to the storm. The male Peregrine gave great views, and the Water Rail showed in the same corner.

Friday, September 21, 2007

20th September 2007

First day out and about in the neighbourhood in over a week (on account of a trip to Corfu - see last post), and three sites covered:

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 0630-0845 MJP, LP
mild, o/c. mod WSW.

Water Rail - 1
Jackdaw - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 8
Meadow Pipit - 1 south
Reed Bunting - 2
Mistle Thrush - 10

Walthamstow Marshes 1200-1330 MJP
o/c, odd showers and sunny ints. mild. mod SW.

Greenland-type Wheatear - 1(horse field)
Yellow Wagtail - 2
Meadow Pipit - 3

Clissold Park 1400-1550 MJP

Firecrest - 1 (with mixed flock in NE corner of park)
Chiffchaff - 3
Little Grebe - 4

A good day all round, with quality (if not quantity) at all three sites. The reservoirs were hard work, and visible migration remains practically non-existent, but the first Jackdaw of the autumn and a single Meadow Pipit at least served to of things to come. Chiffchaffs were more numerous than of late, and a Water Rail feeding along the NW corner of the ER was the first of the autumn and the highlight of the morning.

The marshes were also fairly quiet, but for a Greenland Wheatear in the horse field - on size, stance and colouration, the bird has evidently made a transatlantic crossing as the first part phase of its migration, which is always a real marvel.

A walk in the park also yielded an unexpected gem in the form of a Firecrest, which moved through (and gave views down to a couple of metres) with a mixed flock of tits, finches and warblers; the third individual in the park this autumn, which is a great strike rate.

north-west Corfu, 10th - 18th September 2007

A last minute, cheap package trip with my partner Amity to the north-western coast of Corfu. more details to follow, but for now, a few photos from the trip.

10th September 2007

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 0640-0930 MJP, LP

1m Wigeon, c35 Shoveler, c45 Gadwall, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler, c6 Chiffchaff, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Swallow, 1 Kingfisher.

Also, on Rectory Road: 2 almost-fledged House Martin young still being fed in the nest by parents, on corner of Evering Road.

Friday, September 07, 2007

7th September 2007

Clissold Park 1815-1900 MJP, AJD
warm, still, sunny.

Firecrest - 2
Goldcrest - 3

Spot the sprite in these lousy photos.....

Back from three days in Wales, playing shows and camping in the Black Mountains, in time to catch the warm evening sunshine in Clissold Park, and not one but two Firecrests. One was reported earlier in the day by the cafe, and Laurence (Pitcher) strongly suspected a second bird was present, calling nearby; this evening, it took less than a minute to locate both birds, feeding together in the Yew a few metres in from the Park's Church Street entrance. Both gave great views, calling regularly and remaining very approachable despite a lot of disturbance nearby. (Thanks to Laurence for the tip off.)

After a lovely couple of days surrounded by the best of Wales' birds and countryside, come Monday I'm out on Corfu for a week or so; while it's a productive time over here re: migration, well, I think I'll probably cope.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

4th September 2007

Walthamstow Marshes 1030-1210 MJP
bright, high cloud, some sun. cool mod N.

Redshank - 1 NE, calling
Yellow Wagtail - 1 NW
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Common Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 2 singing
House Martin - c30
Swallow - 3 N

Not a great deal to report regarding passerine migrants on the marshes, with the cow field bereft of e.g. Whinchats and Yellow Wagtails (perhaps as a result of recent mowing in half the field), and few warblers etc in the scrub. But, a flyover Redshank, calling loudly and heading north-east, was another surprise wader this year.

Laurence (Pitcher) covered the Reservoirs this morning, and had 2 Sedge Warblers, c10 Reed Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Yellow Wagtail (south), 4 Linnets (west), 1 Hobby (east), and 1 Teal.

Monday, September 03, 2007

3rd September 2007

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 0645-1040 MJP, TB
high cloud, some sun. mod NNW.

Redstart - 1 male
Spotted Flycatcher - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Common Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 1
Garden Warbler - 2+
Sedge Warbler - 5
Reed Warbler - 5
Willow Warbler - 6
Chiffchaff - 4
Common Tern - 1(high, NW)
House Martin - 37
Sand Martin - 4
Swallow - 1
Wigeon - 1
Gadwall - c30
Shoveler - c25
Little Grebe - 2
Sparrowhawk - 2

up on patch shortly after dawn, and as promised by overnight showers, migrant passerines were rich and varied. Missed the Redstart by a few minutes (I was over on the East Res at the time) and failed to connect after a lengthy search with Tony, but enough variety to soften the fall; indeed, watching all eight common spp. of warbler within an hour is a treat anywhere, let alone in central London.

Three Spot Flys and a Blackcap were along the southern flank of the ER, Common and Lesser Whitethroats were along the New River path west (as was the Redstart), Garden Warblers were there and also along the northern flank of the ER, Sedge Warblers were scattered liberally amongst the reeds of the ER, Reed Warblers were, as is often the case at this time of year, pretty much anywhere, and Phylloscs were scattered, but mainly along the New River west.

A Common Tern high and NW was the first for a while, all three hirundines moved through, the Wigeon is the first of the autumn, and dabbling duck numbers are high.