Tuesday, February 26, 2008

25th & 26th February 2008

26th Feb - Walthamstow Marshes 1045-1230 MJP, JA
bright, mainly sunny; brisk WSW.

Jack Snipe - 1
Common Snipe - 27
Fieldfare - 52
Redwing - 3
Linnet - pair
Stock Dove - 7
Stonechat - 1 female
Reed Bunting - 2
Meadow Pipit - 16

(Fieldfares in the Horse Field. Numbers are down slightly from last last week, but are still high.)

An excellent late winter / early spring day on the marshes, mainly thanks to the Bombcrater Field. Lacking the cattle which are often employed to graze this fenced-off, marshy field, in recent months I've occasionally walked within its boundaries to count numbers of Common Snipe, which from this season's experience are apparently omnipresent during the winter months in this area. From the field's perimeter, none can be seen, and it's hard to imagine such a small, disturbed, urban site attracting such numbers.

Limiting my own contribution to disturbing the field to once every few weeks in the winter (and never in the summer, when ideally the gates and open-plan fencing around the field would be sealed off), between 2 and 20 Common Snipe have been present, with high single figures being the norm. Today's surprisingly high count of 27 is possibly the result of a combination of last night's heavy storms, and the time of year (when birds are en route between wintering and breeding grounds). To flush a single Jack Snipe from the same field, near the ponds - an area first for me, after several years hoping for one - was an unexpected bonus.

(It's worth pointing out that, while the field isn't private, too much disturbance of course isn't a good thing for the wildlife there. Today will probably be my last walk through the field for several months, and views of most species can be obtained from the perimeter fence. Indeed, of the range of species which might be expected as 'specialities' of the field - including Stonechat, Whinchat, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and Reed Bunting - almost all my better views have come from the open, public land surrounding it on all sides.)

Abney Park Cemetery 1300-1450 MJP

little to report except for the common breeding species, although two pairs of Stock Doves were present at suitable nest-holes.

(from the top - Woodpigeon, Song Thrush, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker)

25th Feb - Stoke Newington Reservoirs MJP
a brief visit from the north-east corner of the ER.

Great Black-backed Gull - 1 ad.
Blackcap - 1 singing
Jackdaw - 3 over
Grey Wagtail - 2