Thursday 8 October 2009

Cetti's dip

I got a bit of a surprise today at school when I took a sneaky look at my phone and found a text from Johnny Allan stating that there was a Cetti's Warbler at Beddington by the feeder!!! This is a mega patch bird (2nd record- 1st in 2002)! I counted up my money and changed my after-school plans so that I could twitch the bird. This bird follows a lot of talk amongst patch birders that we are due for one; it seems that if we talk about a bird, it turns up! Another example is Spotted Flycatcher; there was discussion that we should get one this year following no records last year and 3 turned up this year (one of which I found).

I was there at 15:40 and not in a hopeful state of mind, for an hour or two I had been hearing negative news and didn't expect much. There was so much vegetation that the bird could have been in and these birds are hard to catch when at their breeding grounds and where they are vocal, let alone at Beddington Farm! I half halfheartedly walked the public footpath (here I met Roy Weller who reported a probable Raven) before forgetting the idea of trying to pin the bird down and made my way up to the Irrigation Bridge, just after I'd checked the lake which literally looked like a tsunami had just hit it because of the destruction which is apparently in line with the landowner's conservation management plan . . . 3 sides of the lake which were once lined with willows were as flat as a pancake and the main island and main spit looked like a squelchy piece of mud that someone had just stepped in and were now joined together. There were few other birds than Herons, Gulls and Crows to be seen- what a depressing sight (not forgetting the ex-scrape just south of the lake which is completely unrecognisable state; you could be forgiven for mistaking it for a football pitch which has had all it's grass pulled up). Enough ranting.

I managed to get myself into the gully just north of the slope leading up to the Irrigation Bridge in the hope of flushing a Wryneck but this produced nothing and I came out covered with seeds, thorns, cuts and grazes. I crossed the bridge and entered the Shrike Field which links on to the Biker's Field. The only notable birds were one or two Stonechats showing well in the latter field.

From here, I made my way over the 100 Acre bridge (I hate crossing this bridge, it always feels like one of the wooden planks is going to come loose and you will fall onto the railway track below) and gave Jim's Pit a quick check. Here there were 3 or 4 Snipe and perhaps 50 or so Teal with a couple of Lapwings and little else.

Time to go home so I made my way back to Hackbridge train station then walked home from Sutton, a dip, but it was expected really.