Sunday, 6 January 2013

Cheap birding

One thing I like about this London listing farrago is that it doesn't cost that much.  So far. Today for an outlay of one of her majesty's shiny pounds, though I did try and get a way with 50p only to be found out, I picked up 3 lovely ducks, a Woodcock, pair of Bullfinches and a Tawny Owl, plus a Grey Wagtail.  Now if only all birding could be like this.  OK I failed to get to the Lea Valley, but this time it was not my fault.  Bloody Network Rail.  Anyhoo, who should I meet on the train?  None other than Marco heading in the same direction and for the same objective. Didn't take long, what with a gaggle of birders, including Harry (who got the same bird from his toilet when resident on the Girling), Barry and Roy Woodward, eagerly awaiting it's every surfacing.

It remained firmly to the east side of the Lower Maynard, so Marco and I wandered off to look for Goosander and stuff.  The relief channels were full so no Green or other Sandpiper, so we had to make do with 3 red-head Goosander and a pair of Goldeneye and a 3rd female. When we returned the LT duck had thoughtfully swam back closer to our bank, yet not quite close enough for a good shot.  So have some crap instead.

Tiring of that we wandered round the rest of the complex on the hunt for Kingfisher or other stuff.  Marco was telling me of a White-headed Duck that wintered here some time ago. Curse my hedonistic lifestyle of yore.

Circuit done and only another couple of Goldeneye and a calling Chiffy (doing chiff-willow combinations) for our pains, we decided to leave Walthamstan for home pastures. Oh well while I am here might as well pop out on the patch.  Not a lot goes on at this time of the day so I went to the park, to dip Nuthatch.  Nuthatch dipped I and I then went to dip Water Rail. That done it was on to the sewage works. No sooner had I got to the big hedge that I started to hear Bullfinch, yay!.  Further on the river had fallen by a few feet and now gravel bars were showing, a good sign for Green Sandpiper.  Following the lower path I had a Woodcock fly over my head and looked to land in one of the many ditch features of the golf course. Seconds later a Pipistrelle flew down the river.

I stayed until dark with no further reward, so I thought might as well get the Tawny out of the way, and so slowly made my way up to Reservoir Wood, where I got them at the back-end of last year. An hour later while I lent against one of the great oaks, one finally did the decent thing and called.   Seemingly coming from the wood on the Wanstead golf course.  A good day.  And did I mention how cheap?

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