Trip reports

Fairlop Waters walk on 18th Nov 2017

Male lapwing in breeding habitat

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Many thanks again to Richard for organising this walk and providing the following write-up:

"It was a fresh November morning as we met in the car park for the start of this walk around Neil Twyford's local patch and we had barely got our optics from the boot of the cars when Neil had spotted one of our winter visiting thrushes, the Fieldfare, with several birds perched in the surrounding trees around the car park.

We then proceeded to walk around the edge of the boating lake and as we scanned over the water, a good number of adult and also juvenile Great Crested Grebes were present busily fishing. Our attention was then drawn to a couple of geese circling the lake which turned out to be Egyptian Geese - they appeared to be a bit nervous of settling down which could have been due to the boating activity going on.
Two Mute Swans then decided to fly up from the lake flying very low over our heads, we almost had to duck down, always lovely to see these huge birds in flight so close and to hear their powerful wings making that distinct rhythmic whistling sound from a bird that is normally almost silent. Other waterfowl included good numbers of Tufted Duck and, of course, our old friends the Mallard!
Two of our most familiar herons were also present with Grey Heron and Little Egret both fishing on the far shore. Not forgetting to scan the lake's island edge too, gave us nice views of several resting Lapwing huddled together, looking black and white from a distance but when seen through the binoculars, we appreciated their exotic green/purple plumages.

We left the lake and Neil asked us to hang back while he checked for a bird he had been regularly seeing perched on its favourite lookout post. Luckily for us it was there, a Buzzard allowing us great views through our telescopes of a bird normally seen soaring high up in the sky.
We moved on and stopped by a wooded area listening to a mixed tit flock including Long-tailed and also the tiny Goldcrest busily moving through the trees and bushes surrounding us. We also heard a very brief call of what we believe to be a Nuthatch, unfortunately only for a split second. We waited around for a while to see if it called again but with no luck - what was interesting was that Neil commented that this would have been a first for this species reported in this area.

On the smaller fishing ponds we found Pochard and Teal quietly going about their business. Sadly no sign of the Little Owl despite our efforts, a bird that is seen normally regularly here.
On our walk back to the car park, flocks of Linnet and Goldfinch were circling around and settling in the bushes surrounding the leisure centre with several Green and a Great Spotted Woodpecker also feeding on and around the small trees close to the centre, while a Kestrel hovered close by giving our group great views of this bird in hunting mode.
Total bird count was 44 species for this walk.

Thanks to Neil and Alan again for leading a lovely walk and we look forward to the Spring Fairlop walk in May 2018."

Editor's note: Neil was a little disappointed that he had not found any unusual birds for us (although we were all very happy with the walk and what we had seen) - the next weekend a Great White Egret arrived!