News broke recently of a Yellow-browed Warbler nearby to Beddington Farmlands on the Wandle Trail at Poulters Park. Kojak and I headed over today to try and see it- mission successful and we found it in the company of 2 'Siberian Chiffchaff', 10 Common Chiffchaff, about 8 Goldcrest nearby and a female Firecrest was a little further up along the river. There was also a Blackcap singing nearby. The reason for the concentration of so many wintering warblers was the clouds of midges along that stretch of the river. It was pretty unbelievable to see so much insect life and warblers for a winters day but the weather was very sunny and the first break in windy and dull conditions for a while. Without doubt one of the best local days birding on a mild sunny mid-winters day that I can recall for a long time.
In the afternoon we did the path at Beddington Farmlands, had a few extra bits including 2 Stonechat, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk. In the evening I did the roost counts- about 1500 Jackdaw and 500 Ring-necked Parakeet.
Yellow-browed Warbler above and below- vocal at times, sticking to the same small area of Buddleia and Lavatera beneath an Oak and also hopping down into the brambles along the river bank
'Siberian Chiffchaffs' (above and below) - we heard a call a couple of times but at least one bird responded well to tape. Both seemed pretty classic birds with drab upperparts and contrasting pale underparts with traces of yellow confined to the primaries and tail
'Siberian Chiffchaff' (above) compared to Common Chiffchaff (below)
2 'Siberian Chiffchaff' together (also Common Chiffchaff)
Female Firecrest (above and below)
Male (above) and female (below) Common Stonechats at Beddington Farmlands
The Wild Plum blossom was out for the first time this year
Pretty amazed to see this chick out already- a Coot? Moorhen? Little Grebe? It was on its own looking rather lost. (It's a Little Grebe chick- thanks Dave Harris and Dave Lambert)
Gadwall (above) and Teal (below) were also along this stretch of the Wandle with Little Egret by the goat bridge and a couple of Little Grebe on the pond at Watermeads Reserve.