Welcome to my birdwatching blog. This blog will contain stories about my bird watching trips, interesting bird news and other tales that may or may not be bird related. I want to make it useful to the avid birder as well as those who may only have a passing interest in bird watching. I enjoy photographing bird life, common and rare through a spotting scope, not that they always sit still long enough for me. Being on the outskirts of North East London, my reports will not only cover my local patch of Redbridge/Waltham Forest, but also dip into deepest Essex, Suffolk, Kent and Norfolk.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Birds of a feather

My early morning starts really have been bearing fruit or rather, birds. This morning I took myself off to a decent patch of scrubland in Chigwell, just off Five Oaks Lane. As per usual, the air was filled with birdsong, notably at least seven song thrush and maybe four or five willow warblers.

Parking is difficult at this site.
The area consists of a wide area of scrub with young hawthorn and rosehip bushes the grass is high (and wet with dew) so walking through this before the sun has had a chance to dry it out is rather uncomfortable. The scrub is surrounded by mainly oaks but with some fir and some other stuff – don’t really do trees. To the east is Havering Park and to the north, Hainault Forest golf club.

There were plenty of birds to be seen. There were Great spotted and green woodpeckers in the wooded areas along with 3-4 blackcaps and many song thrushes.
The scrub held linnets, greenfinches, dunnocks and a couple of reed buntings. The scrub also had a very special bird in its midst. Now getting dangerously low in numbers and with no sign of an improving trend, the yellowhammer is highly threatened. But here at Five Oaks Lane, amonst the burnt out cars and deralict farm outhouses, this beautiful bunting seem to have what could loosely be called a stronghold.

There were probably 4-5 male birds singing although they were not easily found. One bird did show quite well near an area I can only describe as an old paddock, close to the road, with, as it’s centrepiece, a huge pile of old rubble from some demolished building – attractive.

Cuckoo running free too.
 The other cool thing about this paddock area was that it was also home to a pair of cuckoos. Well, it was probably some poor warbler’s home as cuckoos are too lazy to build a nest or even incubate their eggs. I realised this was an opportunity to catch one on camera but never easy. I stood around for nearly an hour before I had any chance to capture one. It was still a bit distant but it’s a start!

As the sun warmed the air, skylarks too to the skies and as I walked back through the now dry grass, I pondered on the fact that it wouldn’t take much to recreate this type of environment to encourage yellowhammers, cuckoos et al , so long as it made it a little difficult for people to walk around.

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