Saturday, 21 September 2019

A Little Bit of Quality

As we enter the 2nd half of September the quantity of passage migrants is starting to dry up on the patch, but there are still quality birds to be found with singles today of Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and Wheatear. Today's Pied Fly was my 3rd this autumn and continues the great run of these birds stretching back to the 11th August. Wheatears on the other hand have been low in number throughout spring and autumn with a peak of 12 on the 29th August, this has been reflected by the number of photos I've used this year of Wheatear on the blog...just two (including this one) I'm aiming to put that right next year!

An early morning Wheatear along the Ditch of Despair

Friday, 13 September 2019

Wanstead August Stats

20 records of Pied Flycatcher, 29 records of Common Redstart, 41 records of Tree Pipit...the numbers don't lie - by all accounts it's been an excellent August for common passage migrants passing through Wanstead Flats, confirming what we all already know that Wanstead really is one of London's prime locations for connecting with spring and autumn migrants.

None of this data would be possible without the continuing efforts of a small band of Wanstead regulars who diligently work the patch, with a special shout out to Nick Croft who pounds the well trodden paths for many hours, most days.

Thursday, 5 September 2019


Waders are revered at Wanstead and Greenshank had only ever been recorded by team Wanstead (well Nick) as a rare flyover, so for the team to see one on the deck and feeding in the shallows of Heronry Lake is just a little bit special and what a great way to bring up the 100 for the year on the patch.

Wanstead, Wader, Autumn Passage

Wanstead, Wader, Autumn Passage

Wanstead, Wader, Autumn Passage

Wanstead, Wader, Autumn Passage

Monday, 2 September 2019

Poolside Birding on the Greek Island of Zakynthos

I've just returned from a super-chilled week on the Greek Island of Zakynthos with the family, although birding was never part of the agenda I couldn't help but explore the local area close to our accommodation, whilst always keeping one eye on the sky as I lounged around the pool. The habitat on our hillside location in the south of the island near Keri was a mixture of pines, Olive plantations and some impenetrable thorny scrub. Each morning I'd make a quick recce of the area before breakfast, the plan was always to get out just after sunrise but I often struggled due to the prior evenings intake of the very likeable Mythos Beer!

It soon became apparent that Zante wasn't exactly alive with birds (well not in this location) in my week on the island I only managed to amass a grand total of just 21 species - I know my birding was limited but I had hoped for a few's the list and the details.
  1. House Sparrow - A small local flock of around 10+
  2. Collared Dove - Several local pairs
  3. Eleonoras Falcon - 2 over the accommodation (1 dark phase)
  4. Common Buzzard - Up to 4 birds circling daily
  5. Sparrowhawk - 2 sightings of single birds
  6. Marsh Harrier - 1 female distantly picked up through the bins
  7. Sardinian Warbler - Numerous pairs, c20 in the area
  8. Serin - 1 briefly in Pine Trees
  9. Red-backed Shrike - 1 male, intermittently seen throughout the week
  10. Spotted Flycatcher - Up to 4 birds seen in the area
  11. Swallow - Numerous, 50+ most days - Including 1 albino bird
  12. Red-rumped Swallow - 20+ most days
  13. House Martin - 20+ most days
  14. Sand Martin - c5 seen most days
  15. Northern Wheatear - 1 in flight
  16. Scops Owl - 1 briefly perched on electricity wires (Well spotted Mrs B)
  17. Great Tit - 4 (1 single bird and a group of 3)
  18. Greenfinch - small local flock of 5 >10
  19. Honey Buzzard - 2 calling birds flying low over the accommodation
  20. Yellow Wagtail - 1 in flight calling
  21. Hobby - 1 over the accommodation
Greece, Zante,
Red-rumped Swallows 
Greece, Zante

Greece, Zante

Greece, Zante
The most numerous bird on my holiday patch - Sardinian Warbler (m)
Greece, Zante

Greece, Zante
Spotted Flycatcher 
Male, Greece, Zante
The local male Red-backed Shrike always kept its distance
And lastly a couple of none bird photos of interest - European Mantis and Cone-headed Grasshopper both of which wouldn't look out of place in the next Aliens instalment.

Greece, Zante

Greece, Zante