Posts Tagged ‘Walthamstow Wetlands’

Now it had already been a very good morning already at the Wetland Centre when the news broke of a Bluethroat at Walthamstow Wetlands. Now I am not normally driven to chasing around after birds but there are some species for which I would make an exception – Gyrfalcon would be one and Bluethroat would be another. So it did not take much thought to abandon all previous plans and head off to the opposite side of London to see if I could see a Bluethroat for the first time. Would it still be there when I arrived?

DSCN9152-6

And so an hour or so later I found myself, along with a group of about a dozen others on the banks of the East Warwick Reservoir which makes up part of the Walthamstow complex. The bad news was immediately forthcoming – the bird had not been seen for an hour or so. Then one birder relocated it – it was partially hidden by the vegetation and the bank of the reservoir and it took me a while to get into a position where I could see the area where it had been seen and there it was, standing with its back to me! No sight of the amazing colouration on its throat and chest and then it was gone back into the vegetation. Over the next hour or so I got four brief views and the bird was revealed in all its glory. Sadly too far for any photos but I just enjoyed watching it.

IMG_0047-11

Bluethroat. Photo by Keith Cutting. Taken at Dungeness in Kent a few days before I saw the bird at Walthamstow

33960376875_615db82f29_z

Bluethroat. Photo by Karsten Wentink. https://www.flickr.com/photos/vankarsten/

On the way back to the reserve entrance I stooped off for 15 minutes to see if the Little Bunting would appear to crown the day – but no luck – well perhaps I was expecting too much!

Eurasian Magpie (top left), Canada Goose (top right), Greylag Goose (centre right) and Reed Bunting (bottom)

What a day – I think one of the best I have had- some very good birds.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull (Common) [group] (Larus canus canus/heinei)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Bluethroat (White-spotted) [group] (Luscinia svecica cyanecula/namnetum)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

4 weeks ago when I saw the Little Bunting at Walthamstow Wetlands, Keith was in South Africa and so our trip today was with the specific purpose of him seeing this bird which has been around for a few months now. I have read that this is only the 11th time that this species has been recorded in London, so one which we may not get the opportunity to see again.

 

It had been seen about 15 minutes before we arrived and so it was that we spent most of the day checking out the feeder station and the bushes near East Warwick reservoir which has been its usual haunt. A group of Reed Buntings were present together with a flock of linnets.

 

Common Linnet (left) and Reed Bunting (right)

Mid-afternoon I wandered off for a look at a nearby lake and found some herons nesting in the trees already.

 

 

Canada Geese (top), Grey Heron (centre) and Egyptian Geese (bottom)

When I got back there had still been no sighting. Eventually, around 3 pm, we both decided to go for a coffee at the reserve centre and then come back for a final 30 minutes before the reserve closed at 4pm. Well at 3.55 the Little Bunting was spotted in a tree in the hedge, it then flew down towards the feeder area. It never did emerge from the graas although I did get a brief view of it through the vegetation. Talk about leaving it until the last minute! Not the longest of views but at least Keith got to see it.

16493096066_841e3746bc_z

Little Bunting. Photo by Vince (https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggieman/)

My favourite picture of the day though was this fella who came to visit whilst we were having coffee

DSCN9128-13.jpg

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail (Pied) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapiadarius)                                                                          Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Terrestris)

 

A bright winters day and a trip to Walthamstow Wetlands in east London, in search of a Little Bunting which has been present for a number of weeks. This rare visitor to the UK breeds in Northern Norway and Russia and winters in Nepal and China, so this bird is way off course. By nature, it is a skulking bird so on arriving at the area where it had been seen it was just a case of scanning all the small birds coming to the feeding tray. It took about 90 minutes but eventually, I saw a small bird moving behind the tray and then there it was, clearly visible. It moved quickly to the right and then disappeared into the vegetation. Some others present continued to see it for a minute or so in the vegetation but then it was gone. I later heard that it came back about 2 hours later.

16493096066_841e3746bc_z

Little Bunting. Photo by Vince Garvey (https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggieman/)

After this, I took a walk around the reservoirs where the usual array of waterfowl were present. The highlight was a drake Greater Scaup, which is not common inland so was a good record.

scaup8084279261_476ee48be5_z

Greater Scaup (m). Photo by Andrew Reding (https://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter/)

Great Crested Grebe

Grey Heron

Common Linnet (top), Great Cormorant (bottom left), Canada Goose (bottom right)

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Greater Scaup [sp] (Aythya marila)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Feral Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

On a cold chilly and somewhat damp morning, Keith and I made our way to east London to investigate the newly opened Walthamstow Wetlands nature reserve. Although Walthamstow Reservoirs (as it was previously known) has been accessible to birdwatchers for a number of years (by permit), the changes in water management has led to a new approach which has opened up the site to the public for more recreational use with the creation of footpaths and the conversion of the old engine house into a visitors centre and cafe. From here we had good views of a Red Fox.

Old Engine House, now the visitor centre

Red Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are many circular walks and Keith and I headed off to the two reservoirs known as East and West Warwick. Her we found a number of species of gulls and duck. As we walked along the side of West Warwick a female Goosander took to the air and flew off towards the visitor centre.  Returning to East Warwick 30 minutes or so later we found that, or maybe a second, female Goosander present.

Common Gull

Goosander (f)

 

From the elevated reservoir path, we also saw a pair of Europen Stonechat and witnessed a tussle between a Kestrel and a magpie who both wanted the same perch.

Kestrel and Magpie dispute post

Stonechat

 

Crossing the Coppermill stream, past Coppermill Tower, which when open will give views of the entire reserve, we were surprised to see a Mallard with 13 small chicks, which could not have been more than a week or two old. Very late breeding – Witness once again to the mild autumn that we have had in London.

Coppermill Tower

Mallard with young

 

 

 

 

 

Making our way back to the visitor centre between No5 and No 2 reservoirs we found a female Goldeneye on No 5 and a number of Great Crested Grebe on No 2. By now the rain had begun to settle in for the afternoon and so after a warming cup of tea, we decided to forgo a walk around the northern section of the reserve which contains a further two large reservoirs and head for the station and home.

Great Crested Grebe

Goldeneye (f)

 

A wonderful introduction to a new jewel in Londons natural habitat, I expect it will not be long before we return.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Common Merganser [sp] (Mergus merganser)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)

Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)