Friday, November 30, 2007

28th - 30th November 2007

selected highlights from the last three days:

28th Nov:

Abney Park Cemetery: 4 Redwings, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Stock Doves
Middlesex Filter Beds NR: 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests & c30 Long-tailed Tits, also 5 Siskins
Hackney Marshes (River Lea): f Peregrine & c85 Fieldfare over, 25 Teal, 8 Gadwall & 2 Little Grebes on the river, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Siskins

29th Nov:

Middlesex Filter Beds: 16 Siskins, 1 Chiffchaff
Hackney Marshes (River Lea): pair Bullfinch, 3 Siskins, 3 Redwings, 26 Teal, 7 Gadwall, 1 Kingfisher
Stoke Newington Reservoirs: Chiffchaff, Water Rail, 12 Common Gulls, 9 Herring Gulls, c150 BH Gulls, c25 Gadwall, 37 Pochard, 7 Shoveler

30th Nov:

Abney Park Cemetery: 3 Redwings, 2 Goldcrests, c20 long-tailed Tits, f Sparrowhawk

And so November grinds to an overcast, dull halt. For the last couple of weeks I've been visiting several other local sites just for the sake of variety, and it's been well worth it. Middlesex Filter Beds NR, and the River Lea at Hackney Marshes, are two attractive sites just south of the Lea Bridge Road, and just east of the Lea navigation canal. Both are well hidden, are unfortunately rarely covered by local birders, and along with Waterworks NR (which lies just beyond the river to the east) and Walthamstow Marshes NR (just to the north) represent an patchwork oasis amidst the industrial and urban sprawl of the east end.

Back in Stoke Newington, the last couple of weeks have been fairly quiet, with little of note to report since the Cetti's on the 11th (perhaps the bird of the year for the reservoirs); there are, however, traditional late autumn migrants / winter visitors around, with finches and thrushes from the continent being well represented lately. Siskins are a pleasantly regular presence, Lesser Redpolls and Bramblings are regular at this time of year (albeit in small numbers), and a pair of Bullfinches at the reservoirs on the 26th were a just reward for dedicated, early morning visible migration watches. Redwings and Fieldfares continue to move through the area (with small numbers using the Cemetery, the park and the reservoirs for feeding).

Wildfowl numbers have risen at the reservoirs, with Pochard and Gadwall numbers embellished by recent arrivals. Chiffchaffs are also dotted around suitable habitats, always a pleasure to see in the dark days of winter. Wader records, however, remain almost non-existent; the high water levels at both reservoirs, and the lack of any interesting flyovers this autumn, leaves the present tally for the season at one Common Snipe and a couple of Lapwings.

(Once again, apologies for the lack of photographs on the site lately. technical problems have meant that all my shots from October and November remain un-uploaded still.... when the problem is resolved, I'll post a series of entries containing the highlights.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

15th - 27th November 2007

A summary of records of the last ten days or so:

15th Nov

Middlesex Filter Beds: Chiffchaff, 1 Brambling, 4 Siskins (MJP)
Hackney Marshes (river Lea side): 16 Teal, 3 Grey Wagtail (MJP)
Clissold Park: 3 Goldcrests, 5 Pochard, 3 Little Grebes (MJP)

16th Nov

Clissold Park: 2 RR Parakeets, 2 Grey Wagtails, 6 Pochards, 3 Little Grebes (MJP)

26th Nov

Abney Park Cemetery: 5 Siskins, 3 Goldcrests, 1 Coal Tit, 2 Stock Doves (MJP)

Stoke Newington Reservoirs: East Res - 34 Redwing (WNW), 44 Fieldfare (WNW), 9 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Bullfinch (SE) 109 Tufted Duck, 3 Shoveler, 21 Gadwall, 4 Pochard, 129 BH Gull, 9 LBB Gull, 2 Herring Gull. west Res - 32 Pochard, 15 Gadwall, 19 Tufted Duck (LP)

27th Nov

Abney Park Cemetery: 4 Redwings, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Stock Doves (MJP)
Middlesex Filter Beds NR: mixed passerine flock included 2 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests & c30 Long-tailed Tits, also 5 Siskins (MJP)
Hackney Marshes (River Lea): f Peregrine & c85 Fieldfare over, 25 Teal, 8 Gadwall & 2 Little Grebes on the river, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Siskins (MJP)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12th & 13th November 2007

A walk in Clissold Park on each day:

5 RR Parakeets, 4 Pochard, 3 Little Grebes, c10 Mistle Thrushes, c 20 Goldfinches

3 RR Parakeets, 2 Redwings, 8 Pochards, 4 Shoveler, c15 Greenfinches, c20 Goldfinches, 4 Little grebes, c15 Mistle Thrushes

Sunday, November 11, 2007

11th November 2007

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 1320-1540 MJP
o/c, mild. light to mod NW.

Cetti's Warbler - 1
Siskin - 7
Chiffchaff - 2
Water Rail - 1
Common Gull - c25
LBB Gull - c30
BH Gull - c250
Herring Gull - 12
Gadwall - 29
Little Grebe - 5

An afternoon session on patch, and well worth it. After Laurence (Pitcher) heard and briefly saw what he strongly suspected to be a Cetti's Warbler on the north bank of the ER four days ago, Paul (Robinson) and I spent the afternoon (til dusk) staking out the spot in the hope of a vocal burst or glimpse, but with no luck; likewise the following morning, when Laurence and I tried brief luring with phrases of call and song via an MP3 player and speakers.

So it was a pleasant surprise (having temporarily forgotten about it) when the bird rattled out an unmistakable call, the first of three phrases within half an hour (between 1415 & 1445). A brief view was a bonus, albeit in flight and for no more than a couple of seconds, thanks to one of the resident foxes darting into the reeds where the bird was hidden. Evidently pretty mobile (the bird was present on the other side of the ER, 180 degrees from Laurence's initial suspected record), hopefully it'll stick around for a while.

A new species for the site and the area, and a nice bonus in these dark and tempestuous days.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

8th November 2007

three sites today:

Stoke Newington Reservoirs 0655-0900 MJP, LP, TB
o/c. mod NW.

Water Rail - 2
Fieldfare - 14
Redwing - 18
Meadow Pipit - 2
Sparrowhawk - 2
Reed Bunting - 2

Walthamstow Marshes 1050-1215 MJP
bright, some sun; mod NW.

Skylark - 2
Meadow Pipit - 8
Fieldfare - 9
Mistle Thrush - 22
Linnet - 4
Pied Wagtail - c30
Grey Wagtail - 3

Clissold Park 1300-1450
o/c, showers. mod, gusty NW.

Shoveler - 2
Pochard - 6
Little Grebe - 3

Another quiet day in the area, with visible migration very limited this week, and little else grounded to report.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

7th November 2007

four sites covered today:

Walthamstow Marshes 1000-1120 MJP

Fieldfare - 12
Redwing - 1
Mistle Thrush - c25
Meadow Pipit - 6
Brambling - 1
Linnet - 5

Abney Park Cemetery 1145-1215 MJP

Redwing - 2
Goldcrest - c7
Long-tailed Tit - c15

Clissold Park 1220-1310 MJP

Redwing - 3
Shoveler - 1
Pochard - 5
Goldcrest - c3
Little Grebe - 2

Stoke Newington reservoirs 1330-1540 MJP, PR

Kingfisher - 1
Gadwall - c30
Redwing - 2
Common Gull - 18+
BH Gull - c400

Laurence also had 8 Redwings, 4 Chaffinches, 1 Brambling, 2 Greenfinches, 11 Goldfinches, 10 Starlings, 1 Siskin (all WNW), 1 Chiffchaff, and 1 Water Rail at SNR this morning.

1st - 6th November 2007 (update)

still ill, so I haven't been out anywhere near as much as I hoped at this time of year - unfortunately, standing in the wind at 6.30 in the morning isn't part of the medical advice insisted upon..... but, I've made it out every couple of days in some capacity, and there's been little of much note to report locally.

working backwards from the start of the week:

Walthamstow Marshes, 1st November:
12 Meadow Pipits, 1 Skylark, 4 Linnets, 1 Jackdaw

Clissold Park, 2nd November:
14 Mistle Thrushes, 4 Little Grebes, 3 Shoveler, 5 Pochard, Red Admiral

Clissold Park, 6th November: m Blackcap, 2 Goldcrests, 5 Pochards

There were 5 Wigeon & 3 Teal reported from SNR on the 6th.