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.)