Tuesday, 9 February 2021

The Beast from the East Delivers

Ever since seeing the long-range weather forecast last week, I had an inkling this week was going to be a bit tasty on the patch. I had a hint of what was to come on Sunday when I birdied the patch for four hours in a snow blizzard and a biting easterly wind, although nothing of real note was seen apart from a 2nd-winter Yellow-legged Gull and a notable increase in Gulls across the patch generally, it clearly set the scene for the following days.

On Monday as the cold-front moved through, bringing more snow and the predictable arrival of Lapwings with it - Team Wanstead recorded over 500 throughout the day (our second highest ever daily total). These classic indicators of a cold-weather movement are always a good sign that birds are on the move. I also chipped-in with 10 Common Snipe circling the fairground, Snipe are typically recorded in one's and two's at Wanstead so to see a large flock is unprecedented and doubled our previous highest count of five. I should point out that I was year ticking Shelduck at the time (thanks Richard) but after ticking the bird on Jubilee Pond its origins are a bit questionable, as it was just a little over-friendly!

And then today (Tuesday) still very cold and more snow flurries, Tim found a party of 9 Wigeon on Alexandra Lake, I decided to give these a miss, even though a year tick went begging I was hoping someone would pull-out a slightly bigger prize and then this afternoon...Boom! Another message from Richard (who had clearly had his Weetabix this week) KITTIWAKE on Alex! 

Kittiwake is a full-fat patch tick and a Gull I was desperate to see on the patch having missed the last one on the football pitches in January 2014. I dropped everything and dashed out the door, a short drive later and there it was (and so was most of Team Wanstead ) a lovely 1st-winter bird sat quietly on the water, looking slightly exhausted as they always do on inland waters, none the less it did fly around for a bit when I was there, so there is hope this bird will survive the winter storm and find its way back to the coast again.

The Beast from the East II has clearly delivered a bit of patch gold but it isn't over just yet, so what's next...or is that just being greedy?

London, Wanstead,
Number 148 for the patch list - What a beauty!

London, Wanstead
1st-winter Kittiwake's are so much better than adults

London, Wanstead
There's something about seeing a displaced bird in an urban setting that I really like

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