Sunday, 6 June 2010

May 2010 - bird news

It was an excellent month in Alexandra Park, even if numbers of unusal migrants were low.

The month started well on 3rd May with a new species for the park, a female or immature Marsh Harrier low and towards Queens Wood at 0945 (Bob Watts). Just a few days later on 7th May came another first for the site, albeit only heard. Four bursts of distinctive weela-wheeo calls, diagnostic of Golden Oriole, were heard by Andrew Gardener at 1057 whilst at the Grove from somewhere behind the cafe. Presumably this bird was on the move as there was no further sign by 1320.

The next notable find was picked up by Bob Watts while giving Wood Green Res a last look on the way back from work: the site's first Black Redstart since 2006. It fed flying up and down the side of the Thames Water building and was successfully twitched by Dominic Mitchell and Gareth Richards, and was last seen by James Palmer at 1930. Earlier in the day the spring's only Whinchat had been flushed towards the Cricket Scrub from the perimeter by Dave Callahan. Bob Watts later saw this at 1750, albeit briefly, as it flew from cow parsley into the scrub beyond the elms.

A distant sighting of Red Kite from the "obs" heading east at 1755 on 13th May was probably the second bird of the month after a distant kite sp on 4th May and a third followed soon thereafter on 17th. A Spotted Flycatcher found by Andrew Gardener in the Grove's veteran oak on the morning of 22nd May was the only spring record but presaged a more exciting find in the shape of a Honey Buzzard which flew east in the company of a Common Buzzard which it attacked at 1247. Andrew Gardener, Dominic Mitchell and Bob Watts were lucky enough to connect; the comparison of the longer-winged, flat-winged, a smaller headed Honey compared to Common Buzzard were notable. Earlier in the month on 3rd May a bird fitting a description of Honey Buzzard was reported flying low over the Garden Centre at 1157 with mobbing crows in tow. The last notable bird of the month was a 1st summer male Greenland Wheatear on the Pitch and Putt found by Andrew Gardener on 30th May.

Also seen during the month there were several Hobbies and a few Common Buzzards, as well as two Sedge Warblers on territory in the Cricket Pavilion car park and near the Balancing Pond, with two Reed Warblers breifly in song for a few days at the Cricket Scrub and Conservation Pond. All in all a very satisfactory month, culminating in a running total for the annual site list of 101 species.