Wormwood Scrubs > January 2009 Scrubs Report
January 2009 Sightings at Wormwood Scrubs
What a lame start to the year!
No birds, bad weather, cold conditions and in our defence, very few visits. The last consideration is a crucial one because until recently, November until mid-April was virtually unbirded, so things could have been worse.
For once there is not much to add aside from hoping that February picks up and you will be reading about the wondrous species that revealed their beautiful selves to us.
House Sparrow — female (A. Cook)
Contributors: Robert Ayers, Kim Dixon, David Jeffreys, David Lindo, Roy Nuttall et al.
A majestic party of 4 birds circled the western end of The Scrubs at some height on the 29th.
One was flushed from the Central Copse mobbed by crows on a 24th and a female was reported from the north-west corner on the 29th.
A female was noticed perched in a tree in the north-west corner of the site on the 2nd, no doubt relishing the tranquility before her inevitable discovery by the all-seeing crows. It or another was hovering over the grassland on the 24th and 29th.
A lone bird was disturbed by one of the groundsmen during the last week of the month. Several crows mobbed it as it flapped away.
The large congregations continued into the early cold days of 2009. Over 250 birds were milling around on the pitches on the 2nd.
At least 40 birds were still to be found during the beginning of the month. This total was nowhere near the exceptional heights achieved in January 2008 when over 120 abounded on the 20th.
Steady numbers of this ominous predator were seen during the month with a peak of around 30 on the 29th.
This is a species that must be grossly undercounted as we only ever seem to see 10 or so. It cannot be possible that the same few birds are continually circling around.
Around 60 birds were present during the month.
Last January's Central Copse roost of over 600 seemed like a distant bad dream and a year later 30 birds is deemed a veritable swarm. It is rather strange that this roost appears to have been abandoned. But it does seem that this species has fickle site fidelity.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
A single bird was watched in the Central Copse on the 24th.
Around 20 birds were milling around in a single flock on the 29th increasing to 30 on the 30th. Last January we could not muster any more than 3 birds.
An unseen bird was heard on the 29th calling over the western end on the 29th and a female was seen the following day by the community centre.
The usual low number was detected with most of the 6 birds or so located in and around Lester's Embankment.
Low numbers were notable primarily along Lester's Embankment.
At least 6 birds were encountered during our travels through the hallowed turf in January.
Our wintering birds suddenly disappeared after the 2nd, perhaps moving on due to the intensely cold winter that we had been experiencing.
At least 3 singers were along Lester's Embankment during the month.
A prospecting pair of this proud thrush was still hanging around the western edge of The Scrubs from the last days of 2008 until the 29th.
At least 10 birds were counted during the month.
A female of this diminutive member of the warbler family was found near the cottage at the western end on the 2nd.
Only 4 birds were found on the 2nd with the majority of our missing population hopefully being well fed and watered in the nearby gardens.
Like their larger cousins, Blue Tits were thin on the ground and indeed, they seemed in shorter supply than in January 2008. At least 8 were counted on the 2nd.
The largest flock encountered during January was on the 2nd and contained at least 10 birds.
Ever present, at least 15 birds were encountered on the 2nd.
A single bird was seen along the western edge on the 30th.
At least 100 of these marauders were at large on the 2nd increasing to over 400 birds on the 29th. These birds all flew up at the same time as if warding off an unseen assailant. Our guess was that they were spooked by a high-flying Peregrine.
Paltry numbers were present during the month, peaking at around 20 on the 2nd.
A single bird was seen in a front garden hedge in Braybrook Street on the 29th.
Small numbers were present, usually seen or heard as they flew past.
A loose flock of 35-40 birds were feeding on the buds in Scrubs Lane Wood beside the railway.
The month opened with only a singleton on the 2nd increasing to about 8 birds on the 30th.
A pair was flushed from the grassland on the 2nd. Generally, these birds are not immediately apparent, especially as their flight pattern is superficially similar to that of the Meadow Pipits they often associate with.
2009 Year List
- Mute Swan
- Black-headed Gull
- Common Gull
- Herring Gull
- Lesser Black-back
- Feral Pigeon
- Wood Pigeon
- Rose-ringed Parakeet
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Meadow Pipit
- Pied Wagtail
- Song Thrush
- Mistle Thrush
- Great Tit
- Blue Tit
- Long-tailed Tit
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow
- Reed Bunting
36 species thus far (40 species in January 2008 & 35 in January 2007)