Monday sightings

Pete Lambert wrote today:

Disturbed a green woodpecker from the edge of the east channel at WM East as I arrived today. It flew into trees at WM East. Four gadwall in the channel north of the East Bridge, 3 males, one female. Walking along by the West channel, again heard ‘gip’ calls that sounded like water rail but didn’t see it. 2 redwings high W calling as I waited for a glimpse of the water rail. Sparrowhawk west over Lee Navigation as I walked down the towpath and 2 egyptian geese at the Centre (Droopy pair).

Nothing much on Clendish Marsh but 7 siskins flew NE at 08.47 calling, then 3 fieldfares went high W -without calling. Reached WM West where there was a grey wagtail on the concrete in Pymmes Brook by the path to Northumberland Park Station. Stopped there as I heard longtailed tits calling – found a goldcrest there and heard a chiffchaff calling behind me, but then heard a bullfinch calling from the trees at the channel. It flew up and went north a little way – a female bullfinch – but then flew off E still calling. Given the few records we get here, it’s likely this is the same female seen first just over a week ago.

Walking S from the Chalk Bridge I saw 3 little grebes on the Navigation and 2 in the channel as well. A single reed bunting flew NE calling over WMEast as I left – don’t seem to be many of these around at the moment on the Marsh. Finally as I walked out to Blackhorse Lane, a female goosander flew S by the side of the Lockwood Reservoir and came down at High Maynard Reservoir.


November Bird Survey

Last weekend was the FoTM monthly bird survey and as we set out Dave Ch. described the weather as ‘dreich’ – a good Scottish word for the overcast and damp conditions.
The autumn colours were subdued in the poor light (as seen in my photo).

Soon after we set out I glimpsed a bird in a tall tree and saw a ‘black cap’ but then another glimpse looked more like a chaffinch. Dave then caught a sight of it and suggested female bullfinch. We were fairly sure that was the correct call and realised it would be a ‘write in’ i.e. it was not listed on the record sheets we use for the survey.
We knew we would be quizzed on our identification so were pleased when the light briefly improved and we had a clear view and she flew off showing her white rump. Later on as we returned near the area, I heard the soft single note call which bullfinches make – very satisfying.

There were still many robins (39) singing and calling, and dunnocks (20) were singing too.
A few tit flocks were seen containing – long tailed (23), blue (25) and great (9). Other notable birds were grey wagtails (2), little grebes (2), great spotted (3) and green (1) woodpeckers.

However, the bullfinch was definitely the bird of the day!


Tottenham Marsh Thursday 18 Nov

Pete Lambert wrote yesterday:

It was dry when I left home but began to rain as I reached WM East. Could see some gadwall feeding in the channel N of East Bridge, looked like 3 pairs. Siskin called overhead as I walked by the west channel but I couldn’t see it, but I could see the three fieldfare that flew calling high NW and on over WM West. Surprised to see a pair of gadwall in the channel south of the Green Bridge – was that eight gadwall?

Pair of egyptian geese at Centre (Droopy pair), then another pair in Pymmes Brook just south of bridge to Car Park. May not have been Little and Large, but the third pair. These have no distinguishing features that I can see. Will try and get photo next time. One redwing called from the bushes at the Car Park and flew out. Clendish Marsh very quiet, except for a chiffchaff calling from Pymmes Brook.

Rain stopped after an hour and on WM West I saw a sparrowhawk chased out of the poplars along the Lee Navigation by a crow. Then I heard a green sandpiper call and saw it come high NW over the pylon wires before coming down to Pymmes Brook. From the bridge at the Gasometer I could see it standing on the concrete.

From the Chalk Bridge I could see a little egret feeding in the channel NE of the bridge. Walking down the towpath, north of the Green Bridge I heard what might have been a water rail calling. It wasn’t giving the obvious squealing call but a call that I hear as “gip,gip”. This is more like some moorhen calls so I’m never completely sure about my ID until I see the bird. Stood on the Green Bridge looking north to where the calls were coming from but couldn’t see the bird. Did see three teal there (1 male). Walking home through WMEast at 9.48, suddenly saw four goosander come up over the east channel by the East Bridge and vanish north. A few minutes later, three of them returned and circled over the north end of the Marsh before disappearing behind the trees. Seven gadwall now in the east cahannel, four of them male.


Monday report – New Record for the Year

Pete Lambert wrote yesterday:

Felt like winter this morning, with frost on the ground and a low mist over the Marsh and the channels.

Walking in on the footpath from Blackhorse Lane, saw a fieldfare in the trees round the Reservoir and a little egret feeding in the channel there. Neither records for Tottenham Marsh itself, but both were the only ones I saw in my three hour walk out this morning. My only redwing of the morning went west over the houses and down to WM East, calling. On to WM East itself and there were three gadwall feeding in the channel north of the East Bridge (although by the time I’d left there were six gadwall here, four males and two females). Green woodpecker flew up near the west channel by the Sandpiper Bridge and went south down the Lee Navigation.. As I walked south along the channel, two female goosanders flew north and two pheasants shot SE across the channel and into cover. Nearer the Green Bridge I heard redpoll calls and the calls went SE but I never saw the bird (or birds). South down the towpath to Stonebridge Lock produced three goldcrests, one on the west bank of the Navigation and two together on the east bank further down.

Outside the Centre at Stonebridge Lock there were two egyptian geese (the Droopy pair) and then another two in Pymmes Brook just south of the bridge to Clendish Marsh. This didn’t look like “Little and Large”, so may be the third pair that’s around. Fourth goldcrest of the morning was in the trees at the SW of Clendish Marsh. Walking down the towpath from the Chalk Bridge I saw a female goosander fly north over the Navigation – perhaps the third of the morning? But the golden moment was at WM East on my way out when I heard a bullfinch call from the SE corner. Walked back and saw a female bullfinch fly up calling, lost it in the trees at the south end. This is my first bullfinch record for the year bringing my year total to 99 species! (Maybe this is the bird seen by David Chapman and Debbie on WM West yesterday.)


Friday 12th Sightings

‘Little and Large’ ‘Droopy’ Pair

Still windy this morning, but started well with a perched redpoll! Redpoll called overhead as I was walking towards the Sandpiper Bridge and came down by the Lee Navigation. Walked over the bridge and found it 2 or 3 metres away sitting in an elder. Best views I’ve had for sometime, as usual records here are hearing them overhead and catching a glimpse of the bird as it flies over.

After my mention the other day of no teal in the channel at WM East, today a male teal was cruising there, seen from the Green Bridge. Arrived at Stonebridge Lock to find two egyptian geese but this wasn’t Little and Large. Took photos and I’ll see if good enough to send to David Chapman (They are – See above DMC), but one has whitish head and drooping right hand wing, which is a bird I’ve seen before (and have named “Droopy” – not very original, but quite descriptive). I am guessing this is a different pair (the “Droopy pair” for short), rather than it’s Large with a new partner of Droopy – but who knows!

Few groups of redwings flying over. A group of seven SW calling and 2 SE calling, plus two other groups of small thrushes which didn’t call but I presumed were redwings (I’ve never recorded groups of song thrushes flying). 6 of these NW, then later 2 SW.

When I got to the Chalk Bridge over the Lee Navigation, on my way home, a female goosander appeared up from the channels east, then flew off high N over Banbury Reservoir. Going out from WM East over the East Bridge, I found 4 gadwall in the channel (2 male, 2 female), the first record this month.

Finally, I checked all the starlings flying overhead, trying to spot waxwings (they are said to have a similar shape in flight), but no luck. I’ve never found my own waxwings, only ever seen some that others have reported, so fingers crossed.


Latest sightings

Pete Lambert reports on his visit yesterday:

Almost a week since my last visit to the Marsh on 4 Nov., so I was pleased as I walked down the footpath from Blackhorse Lane to the Marsh to see a goosander fly low north over the channel east of WM east. A female (or immature) bird, this was my first record of the autumn/winter. Later, a mistle thrush flew West over WM East, only my fourth record this year. A little egret was feeding in the channel East of WM East and a reed bunting (female/imm) was calling from a bush on Clendish Marsh.

I still haven’t seen any returning teal or water rail in the channels, although Michael saw some teal last week. And still no wintering stonechats! I hear that at Wormwood Scrubs it’s the same story, so perhaps something has affected the population that usually returns to London for the winter. Last winter was a cold one but I’ve looked at my records for the 1990s and there were wintering stonechats every winter during that decade, so perhaps there’s another explanation.


Latest Update

Pete Lambert Wrote today:
Peregrine flew north over WMWest at 9.10, perhaps heading for the Waste Disposal chimney at Angel Road. More movement with a flock of about 45 fieldfares SW over Clendish at 8am (my first big group so far). Also c80 redwings SW at about 7.40 plus a few odd ones later. Invisible birds heard overhead included siskin at 7.20 and skylark at 9.20. Met up with ‘the two’ goldcrests along the towpath. My two egyptian geese (Little and Large) back at Centre again. Disturbed one little egret feeding in the west channel at WMEast.

Saw a person watching the ‘open’ areas on Clendish who I also saw last Thursday. Once again s/he was on the opposite side of the Marsh to me so I wasn’t able to speak to them – house sparrow counting?

The shoveler I reported Sat, were the first of the year for me, bringing my count for 2010 to 98 (99 if you want to count the escaped canary).