Trip reports

The Day of the Hobby - at Wanstead Flats

Hobby chasing dragonflies
rspb images

Monday, 30 August 2010

Wanstead Flats is the local patch of Tim Harris and he kindly agreed to introduce us to the best birding parts of the area. He also had a friend scouting around for us as you never know what might drop in at this time of year - this was how we had brilliant views of a Whinchat [my personal favourite of the day as I have failed to see this in London before].

As if this wasn't enough, Tim was also persuaded to provide a write-up of our walk which I've copied below [thanks from a grateful website editor!].
Blessed with wonderful sunshine, though at times the breeze was rather chilly, about 20 participants set off from the Jubilee Lake car park, at the western end of Wanstead Flats in search of - well, pretty much anything they could find. After a quick look at the small patch of heather in the SSSI, the advance party had the first real excitement of the day when they saw a Weasel stop, stare, and scamper for cover just east of Centre Road.
Shortly after, we could be forgiven for thinking we were in Falsterbo [Ed:- from which Daniel had just returned - not really jealous!] as a Hobby and a Kestrel jousted high over our heads as a Sparrowhawk soared nearby.

The previous night had been clear, and maybe this explained the absence of Wheatears, presumably having taken another step on their journey south. However, there was a very obliging first-winter Whinchat near Alexandra Lake and three or four Spotted Flycatchers in the vicinity.

Overhead there were two more Hobbies. News of a Pied Flycatcher by the riding school adjacent to Wanstead Park meant we made a slight diversion but to no avail: there was no sign of the bird.
Tit flocks were checked for warblers and flycatchers; one flock by Perch Pond did contain two Spotted Flycatchers.

Then a welcome break for a cuppa and cake at the refreshment kiosk, while watching the ducks and Little Grebes on Heronry Lake, was enlivened by - yes, you've guessed it - two more Hobbies.

The final leg of the walk involved admiring the Mute Swans and their seven cygnets on Shoulder of Mutton Pond and a breeze through Reservoir Wood before we said our goodbyes.

Thanks for Tajinder and Daniel for organising and assisting.