Sunday, 27 November 2016

The magic Autumn four...

As we said goodbye to Autumn and hit November predictably the patch has become sterile and the last couple of weekends haven't produced anything of note - and if we don't have a cold snap soon the run up to the New Year could be a big non-event. But with the patch year list sitting on a healthy 103 there are a couple of notable omissions I'm still looking to add - KingfisherTreecreeper and Woodcock which could push that year list to new personal heights - with 104 being the number to beat. That's the beauty of having a personal target it's keeping me motivated and pushing me all the way until the end of the year, even if it is as dead as Dodo!

But looking back over the Autumn it was an exceptional period of time to be birding on Wanstead Flats, I personally added four patch ticks, all of which were real quality birds and wouldn't have looked out of place at the likes of Dungeness, Landguard or Portland - sometimes it's easy to forget where exactly the patch is situated, this is not some coastal peninsula but an urban piece of greenery in an highly populated part of East London with a few football pitches, a small lake, an ornamental pond, a couple copse's and pockets of long grass - but boy oh boy on its day it can give any of those big three locations a run for their money.

Those magic Autumn four...

7th September
Ortolan Bunting
Wanstead Flats

8th October
Yellow-browed Warbler
Wanstead Flats

8th October
White-fronted Geese
Wanstead Flats

29th October
Great Grey Shrike
Wanstead Flats

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Where's Valentino?

I'm starting to get mildly concerned about East London's favourite Mediterranean Gull - Valentino.

We are now into the 1st week of November and there's been no sign of him on Wanstead Flats or Valentines Park. You can usually guarantee a sighting by now as we exit the the tail end of autumn at either of his favourite East London haunts - maybe the old boy is just taking his time, or has age finally caught up with him?

It was back in 2000 when he was first reported at Valentines Park and this winter would have been his 16th return visit to the area, but at the grand old age of 18 (if not a bit older) I do wonder if his time is finally up? I for one will be saddened if this is the case as I'm a big fan of Med Gulls plus he's always been very obliging when in front of the camera, there's still hope and time yet for an appearance...but just in case last winter was his final bow, here are a few of my favourite images of this local celebrity.

Med Gull, Adult Winter, Valentino

Med Gull, Adult Winter, Valentino

Med Gull, Adult Winter, Valentino

Med Gull, Adult Winter, Valentino

Med Gull, Adult Winter, Valentino