Sunday, 20 January 2013
After a bid of a wade around snowy Wanstead, ensuring that Messrs Lethbridge and Vaughan didn't see any good stuff while I might be away (successfully accomplished), I finally persuaded myself to go west to see the reedlings on show in McKenzie Park. A change of scene.
It was still snowing when I left the tube, the posh voice in the elevator telling me I was in the right, smart and filthy rich, part of town - ones over this way just intone that you should not piss in the elevator... or might if I ever used them.
Very friendly birds they have down here, always putting their best sides forward for the eager tourists. The beardies were just in front of the Serpentine restaurant, and could have been some good business out of it, if it weren't so damn expensive and birders being what they are. The reed bed (hah!), was the one that had just been put in last time I was here and just goes to show what can be achieved with a bit of environmental planning (City of London take note). As other reporters have said, the females were ridiculously easy, but with the snow, the wind blowing the reeds, the birds bending the reeds, and my optics steaming up, I had to rattle off a good 400 shots just to get a few half decent ones. It's good when birds show this well as the general public can get in to it as well. But what ridiculously small wings. I mean with wings like that you can't fly that far!
Certainly a time to fill my boots as it were, I don't suppose I'll get better shots. Never have done before. All piss poor flight shots and blurs. My boots well and truly filled (ice and water unfortunately) I sloshed off for my main target. Treecreeper. Since its becoming painfully clear that Wanstead is once again creeperless, this is as good a place as any to stick the curve-beaked, big footed freaks on to the London list for the year. Main problem, where to look? Luckily I came across a party of Long-tailed Tit and followed them on the leeward side of the trees. Soon caught sight of the little mouse like bird as it wandered up the snow free side of a trunk.
Not so lucky with my other two targets: Red-crested Pochard and Mandarin, but there's always Connaught Water and Rickmansworth for those. I gave up as it got dark and just before frost-bite separated me from my toes.