I kicked-off the challenge on Monday 23rd March and it was slow, very slow but an early start was rewarded with flyover Greylag and Canada Goose both of which are not regular garden sightings, a small movement of c50 Chaffinch on the 24th was the highlight of another slow day and I had to wait until the 26th to score my first Common Buzzard (even though reports from around London were popping up all the time) but it wasn't until the 27th that things really hotted up!
The 27th is my birthday and I had planned a leisurely breakfast with the family. Having spent an hour on the patio skywatching from around 7am and seen very little and I was getting cold (as the garden is North facing and shaded) and I stepped inside to warm-up. I've been doing the daily Joe Wicks Bodycoach PE lesson with the kids at 9am each morning (hey, I've got to keep fit somehow) and went and got changed into some sports casuals - I'm glad only the family can see me! I was sipping a green tea when I clocked a large bird quite low over the rooftops, even without raising the bins my first impression was possible raptor - then I grabbed the ever ready bins and WOW! A Male Marsh Harrier was slowly heading north just over the treeline.
A Marsh Harrier is not only an awesome garden tick but is also considered to be a local mega at Wanstead - I've only ever seen a single bird in almost 10 years of working the patch and that was last autumn, as it stands my currently total is 29 for the #BWKM0 from my urban Woodford Green garden.
So there's a birthday I won't forget in a hurry. Royal Mail may have failed to deliver any cards and presents and I won't see any extended friends and family but the biggest and best prize (excluding the slippers and Gin Mrs B and the boys bought me) was that Marsh Harrier - It has to be said that birding, even from the restriction of your own back garden could be just the cure to get me and many others through this difficult time.
|One of the highlights of the week - a low circling Common Buzzard right above the garden|