Friday, 8 April 2016

This week in London...

The second week of the Easter holidays is coming to an end, and in between going in and out of school for one reason or another, I've stayed well within London since getting back from Israel on Saturday night. It all started so promisingly on Sunday with a visit to the mud by the O2 in Greenwich delivering nicely with a juvenile Iceland Gull.
juvenile Iceland Gull O2 Greenwich, London 3rd April 2016
I was pretty pumped with this bird, as it's not everyday that within a couple of miles of my home here in Central London I get graced by an Arctic beast. More pumped than I was with this wake up call the same morning - an albino Ring-necked Parakeet squawking away outside my flat.
albino Ring-necked Parakeet Rotherhithe, London 3rd April 2016
Sunday evening it was back to the gulls on Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe. And in among the non-breeding flock was a NTGG ring: -
1st-winter Herring Gull Rotherhithe, London 3rd April 2016 - ringed at Pitsea on 16 January 2016, then at Beddington on 26 January 2016, Little Marlow GP, Bucks 12 March 2016 and again Beddington on 4 March 2016
Remarkably the Common Scoter that was about before I left for Israel was still on the lake at Southwark Park on Monday and Tuesday. Despite the long stay in perhaps not the most prime location for a sea duck, it was still feeding happily and seemed in good health.
female Common Scoter Southwark Park, London 5th April 2016
Later on Tuesday, after a couple of Willow Warblers in the morning (one in Russia Dock Woodland and another in Southwark Park), I was in school when I got news from Richard P-J that there was a male Redstart at Stave Hill, Rotherhithe. I managed to wrap up what I was doing pretty rapidly and joined him for some decent views late afternoon - the initial male joined briefly too by a female. A great record and only about my fifth in Rotherhithe!
male Redstart Stave Hill, Rotherhithe, London 5th April 2016
The weather was cold, wet and generally grim on Wednesday with little doing. Except for a couple of ringed Herring Gulls on the Thames (the same bird as Sunday and this Suffolk ringed bird): -
1st-winter Herring Gull 'VVB' Rotherhithe, London 6th April 2016 - ringed at  Felixstowe, Suffolk as a chick on 3 July 2015, seen there again on 27 August 2015 and then Grand Union Canal, Southall, Greater London 16 March 2016
Thursday was frustrating too, with just a single ringed adult Herring Gull (a regular bird) the only thing of note by the O2 in Greenwich while Rotherhithe was devoid of birds until I stumbled upon the male Redstart again (I didn't even bother looking for it on Wednesday due to the weather) - the first one here that has stuck more than a day!

And to today, with the sun shining a bit more and the temperature a tad warmer. Into school for the morning and then to Waterworks NR where I wanted to acquaint myself with a singing Siberian Chiffchaff. Thanks to Paul W for all the info, and the bird for showing nicely too - a relatively weak singer but sounds a bit like this, while on half a dozen occasions over the course of an hour I heard the bird contact call, a short monosyllabic 'weep'.
Siberian Chiffchaff Waterworks NR, London 8th April 2016
And then it was back to Rotherhithe, where once again the male Redstart gave some fleeting appearances in the scrub in the cairn meadow below Stave Hill, while this inquisitive Ring-necked Parakeet decided to poke its greenness from a nest hole nearby: -
Ring-necked Parakeet Rotherhithe, London 8th April 2016
And then to round things off, there was a Yorkshire ringed Herring Gull on the river near my flat this evening.
Herring Gull Y:109 Rotherhithe, London 8th April 2016 - ringed at Harewood Whin, Rufforth, Yorks on 26th October 2015 and then I saw it in Rotherhithe initially on 6th March 2016
A shame that migration and weather hadn't taken me further afield, but as Karen says it'll have done you good spending time at home and not travelling. Not sure about that to be honest.

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