Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Fruits of Autumn

After last weeks relative success and the first real autumn movement of passerines, with migrant Reed and Sedge Warbler, several fresh lemon yellow juvenile Willow Warblers and my first Northern Wheatear all seen on the Flats, I was hoping for more of the same today. There was another Wheatear, a couple of Willow WarblersYellow Wagtail and a new-in Common Sandpiper on Alexandra Lake but overall things felt generally quieter.

Just like last week, there were both Blackcap and Garden Warbler gorging on the ripened fruits on the bushes of the Elder and Blackberry, and there seems to be a healthy crop of Blackberries across Wanstead Flats which bodes well for the rest of the autumn for all of our Sylvia Warblers and for us patch birders!

Autumn, Blackberries

Sunday, 30 July 2017

One good Tern, deserves another

With reports of both Wheatear and Whinchat now passing through one or two sites around London, I thought I give the patch a bash on Saturday morning in hope of finding one or the other, unfortunately there was no sign of either, but the discovery of a Common Tern on Jubilee pond more than made up for my disappointment - with the added bonus of the bird actually being on the deck and not the usual flyover view.

Common Terns at Wanstead are a surprisingly difficult bird to catch up with, this was my first bird on the patch this year and I only saw one last year. There would be a time when you could guarantee seeing one or two birds feeding up and down the lakes in Wanstead Park throughout the summer, but in recent years they have failed to show-up and now we only get the odd bird just passing through.
So you can imagine my surprise when I scanned through the Gulls that stand on the posts which surround Jubilee Pond to see a Common Tern perched on one!

Jubilee Pond sadly suffers from being an urban pond in a heavily populated part of east London and is plagued by all kinds of human litter. It's not unusual to see bags of empty beer cans and bottles floating in the water, along with the usual crisp packets and sweet wrappers littering the waters edge, and not to mention the amount of food waste dumped by certain individuals who claim they're just feeding the birds! But despite all this, the pond seems to have a healthy population of small fish, enjoyed recently by a visiting Great crested GrebeKingfisher and now this Common Tern - so imagine what other birds and wildlife could also enjoy this urban pond, if only people would learn to love and respect this potentially wildlife rich environment.

Wanstead, London