Harrow Lodge Park isn't exactly renowned locally for its abundant bird life, but it has a lake and its 5 minutes walk away so with the evenings getting lighter it makes for a nice hour and a half's stroll with the chance of a couple of Pochard, and the certainty of a whole load of Tufties. Also, it's the quickest route on foot to the Chase, so I do quite a lot of my local birding there by both accident and design. It's the most local of my patches. In fact I quite enjoy it and for the same reason I enjoy the tower: when something unusual does turn up you really appreciate it. Following the drive yesterday, a bit of time away from cars and roads was exactly what I needed.
This post would have been written yesterday, but I fell asleep soon after getting in and eating. So much for the band rehearsal.
It was also a pleasant trip out for my camera, which has been gathering dust lately. It all started with the unmistakably Essex cry of "Oi mate, fotograf this" *drops trousers* Ah, I see the chavs are out.
First up was a Thrush, looks to me like a Mistle. No song from this one, but a couple of hundred yards away I came across another and it sounded like a Blackbird with an imagination, so I'm sticking with my initial impression.
Then it was on to the main attraction, which in Harrow Lodge Park is its lake. A decent selection of Wildfowl to be found, including a couple of Great Crested Grebes and our now-apparently-resident Black Swan. Far better picture of him this time round.
And just for the lovely Maiden_Lulu (A.K.A 'the missus'), some Mallards, because I know she likes them.
Also by the lake and happily sitting in a tree, singing its heart out was a very photogenic little Robin. This may just be the best Robin picture I've ever managed to take.
The star of the show yesterday though was a Little Brown Job, obligingly confirmed by the nice folks at Birdforum as a Chiffchaff. First ever for me at this site, though I don't know of anyone else who birds Harrow Lodge so it might just be me. I reckon its a pretty good record though.
And this one's for Parus:
A wander down the River Rom in Dagenham Chase produced a disappointing lack of anything, but specifically Kingfishers - it seems breaking the seal hasn't lead to the hoped-for flood of them. Still, I'm not greedy. And I got my first Great Spot of the year, trying very hard to hide in the branches at the very top of a very distant tree. Distant enough that based on my initial eyeballing, and before I actually zoomed in on the picture, I thought it was a collared dove. Very conveniently, he managed to leave all his identifying features sticking out, and a few seconds later the sound of drumming filled the air anyway.
I'm going to try and head back over this week and see if there are any other interesting little Warblers hidden in the woodland area where I found the Chiffchaff. It would certainly liven the patch up a bit. For now though, I'm still knackered and am off to bed.
Oh go on, have a Blue Tit.