Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Walthamstow Reservoirs, east London - 16th February 2010

Scheduled to lead a guided walk at the Wetland Centre (cancelled due to torrential rain), the opportunity of a 'long lunch hour' arose; despite the godawful weather, the temptation to head the couple of miles north-east to the north end of Lockwood was too much to resist. A once-in-a-lifetime find by local birder Lol Bodini (congratulations Lol), a Dusky Warbler has somewhat incredibly taken up residence in the scrub along the flood relief channel, and shortly after midday I was through the gate with the rain pummeling down.

Kingfisher, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Green Sandpiper, a pair of Goldeneye and a rather lovely Slavonian Grebe later and I made it to the area the bird was favouring (with thanks to all who provided details); it hadn't been seen for an hour, the rain was worsening, and a steady stream of twitchers began to assemble.

With some of the latter evidently having mastered their fieldcraft techniques from Pingu and their whispering skills from Brian Blessed, it took a while before the coast was clear and I could get some quality time with the bird, when it performed beautifully, calling and feeding happily. Well worth the wait and the soaking - without loudhaler voices, bright red golf umbrellas and masses of clattering tripods, it's amazing how close you can get.

Rain, (lack of) light and the bird's skulking nature equalled zero photo opps, but no matter, a fine bird in a superbly unlikely but familiar setting just a few minutes up the A10. (And fortunately arrived back at work with plenty of dark daylight left - a scan of the East Res and a tiny sliver of mud in the far corner produced a very welcome Jack Snipe).