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

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Manx Shearwater, KGV Reservoir

With news of a Manx Shearwater still showing on the KGV Reservoir, both Paul Hawkins and I thought we'd give it a go, and after few minutes of scoping the South Basin we soon picked out the Manxie floating on the water in the far North-West corner, the views were a little distant but we were both happy to catch up with this somewhat lost Atlantic seabird, especially as this was a London tick for the pair of us.

Paul soon left to attend family duties, so I continued around the reservoir to try and get slightly better views. As I approached the bird along the centre causeway a Lesser black-backed Gull started to harass the Shearwater and the bird took flight following the outer edge of the reservoir - heading in my direction, straight towards me!

With my camera switched off and still in its bag, I quickly plonked the scope on the ground, grabbed the camera and fired off a dozen or so shots (without even checking any settings) and was amazed to see this wonderful seabird effortlessly glide passed within just a few meters from where I was standing. The bird continued around the edge of the basin and then turned in, landing bang in the middle of the reservoir - what a privileged view.

Thankfully a couple of the images were in focus...

London, KGV Reservoir

London, KGV Reservoir

London, KGV

KGV, London

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull?

The juvenile Gull season is now upon us and typically 1st out of the traps are Yellow-legged Gulls so when I picked up these juvenile bird amongst our band of mixed aged, non-breeding loafing large Gulls which frequent the football fields and Alexanadra Lake throughout the summer, straight away I was thinking Yellow-legged Gull - but it wasn't the most obvious of individuals and it could actually be a juvenile Lesser black-backed Gull!

Thought and comments welcome?




Also of note was the discovery of a juvenile/female type Common Redstart in the brooms, my 1st ever record for July and more proof if needed that Autumn is just around the corner...bring it on!