Monday 20 September 2021

A bit more garden birding

With Suzannes worsening mobility restrictions I'm spending more and more time at home which has sadly limited my birding exploits this year to date so the garden has become my new patch.

Yesterday I saw a Chiffchaff in the tree and it spend some time feeding occasionally flying to the roof and the lower bushes. Chiffchaff is probably an annual visitor to the garden but only on rare occasions so when it does visit it's a bit special.

Chiffchaff in the garden

Today whilst washing up I noticed a male Sparrowhawk attack the House Sparrow flock but it was unsuccessful on this occasion and after climbing around the base of their safe bush it flew onto my feeding stump. I had the window open so grabbed the camera and managed a couple of shots before it flew off.

Male Sprawk



Oh and the Green Warbler vanished the same evening of my last post saving me the stress of worrying about missing that twitch any longer.

Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Sparrowhawk in the garden

So I'm still watching the daily updates from Bempton and the Green Warbler is still there and giving itself up to most birders that can be bothered to go for it. For some reason I haven't managed to work up the appetite to travel for it which wasn't helped by the first day stories of the crowds, tape luring, encroachment and general poor behaviour and it's just not exciting me in the same way the Albert did. The year has been strange to say the least but the bird is a real rarity and may yet pull me towards the twitch if it continues to hang around but if I'm honest I'm half hoping it moves on to save me the stress of deciding if I do or don't want to see it. 

Anyway to take my mind off the little Green Warbler I've been doing some garden work like cleaning the block pavers and repointing the Indian stone etc and as I stood admiring my work from the kitchen window today I spotted a couple of Magpies alarm calling and assumed a cat was nearby but as I opened the back door I could see they were letting everybody know I had a Sparrowhawk in the garden.
The young hawk had caught a Collared Dove and over the next hour sat at the bottom of the garden and ate the entire catch. Using the cover of shrubs I managed to grab some shots as it consumed it's prey.

I went in and left the bird to finish it's meal but a few hours later it came back and just sat on my fence wings hanging trying to dry out from the heavy rain we've had all day. Again I managed to open a window and grab a couple of images.

A very nice consolation prize for staying home.

Sunday 5 September 2021

Another Wryneck at Wanstead

I was minding my own business yesterday when news came out of a Wryneck at Wanstead so I called the Jims and ten minutes later picked them up and headed to Wanstead to find that the bird had just flown. We searched in vain for the Wryneck with no joy but did manage to get the Jims a couple of year ticks with a Spotted Flycatcher at the end of Long wood and two Pied Flycatchers in the birches. A fly over juvenile Cuckoo, two Whinchats and at least three Wheatears made it an enjoyable walk even without the target and it's always nice bumping into the patch workers at Wanstead for a catch up.

Fresh from yesterdays dip I woke this morning and drove back over to Wanstead on a solo run and found a small gathering at the end of Long wood. Marco had just seen the Wryneck so it was now a waiting game. In the next four hours the bird showed briefly on five or six occasions always a little distant but gave decent views through the bins even if it was just out of reach of my 400mm lens. (see heavily cropped evidence below) The juvenile Cuckoo made another fly past and a Spotted Flycatcher performed for a while along with the Wheatears. 


One of those really elusive Wrynecks

Nice to bump into Mike and Paul from the Lee Valley who I hadn't seen for a while along with a few of the locals who are always welcoming to us "good bird" invaders to their patch. I just missed the six Curlew which I'm told are rarer than Wrynecks at Wanstead which illustrates well the challenges of patch birding. This was my third Wanstead Wryneck but I've never seen a Wanstead Curlew.

Covid year list now a miserable 218 chasing my worst ever year of 238