Wormwood Scrubs > October 2011 Scrubs Report
October 2011 Sightings at Wormwood Scrubs
The Ouzel has landed!
Every year there seems to be a recurring pattern whereby in September The Scrubs is heavily birded by every available Scrubber plus the occasional visiting birder and then come October, we're back to skeletal coverage. It's nobody's fault, that's just the way it is. However, we must be missing a whole host of birds.
Previous Octobers have had us elated after seeing such delights as Great Crested Grebe, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose, Pheasant (rare here), Golden Plover, Tawny Owl, Short-eared Owl, Barn Owl, Woodlark, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzels, Grasshopper Warbler, Dartford Warbler, Cetti's Warbler, not one but two Richard's Pipits and of course, last year's fabled Great Grey Shrike.
This year was quiet in comparison with the star bird being another Ring Ouzel and a supporting cast that included a Coal Tit, a passing Common Buzzard and the reappearances of two old Scrubs stalwarts — Stonechat and Bullfinch. We are on a respectable 93 species for the year but can we make 100 by December 31st 2011?
That is up to us.
Ring Ouzel (S. Daly)
Contributors: Rob Ayers, Mathew Bournat, Charlie Farrell, Louis Freeland-Haynes, Nick Gibson, David Jeffreys, David Lindo, Roy Nuttall, Anders Price, Neville Smith, Bob Stills, Paul Thomas et al.
One flew east on the 20th and a 1st winter bird headed west on the 23rd.
Two flew through on the 18th.
One was seen on the 30th.
One headed low north at 11:30 on the 16th with several crows in hot pursuit. It was our first ever October record at The Scrubs.
As usual, this common raptor was a frequent visitor to The Scrubs.
One of our regular birds was seen hunting over the grassland on the 15th and it or another was heard calling in thick fog the following day. Sporadic sightings followed for the remainder of the month.
An adult male cruised at tree top level over Scrubs Lane Wood on the 8th.
Low numbers were seen during the month with a peak count of 24 on the 28th.
Very overlooked this month as the only report was of three on the 30th.
At least 15 were on and around the pitches on the 16th.
The usual low numbers were present.
Occasional observations were made with no major counts recorded. It was probably more of a classic case of being overlooked as opposed to a genuine downturn in numbers.
At least 200 were present on the 16th and on the 20th, the same date that a flock of 100 flew overhead. On the 29th at least 950 headed southwest including a large group of around 700 birds. The following day at least 390 passed through.
The usual roost was present.
We had daily visits from this raucous ground loving 'pecker leading us to think that this species is largely a winter visitor to our area, perhaps originating from nearby Kensal Green Cemetery.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Daily records of up to two birds were received.
After just two birds being reported from last month we had a steady trickle of migrants that started on the 1st. In total that movement involved some 34 birds.
Interestingly, like last October, a few birds were observed heading over during the early days of the month with five on the 5th and one the following day.
On the 8th, six headed west before lingering over Acton for around 10 minutes.
No big numbers this month with the 45 or so counted on the 6th being the maximum. Far less than during October 2008 when up to 75 birds were found including a curious grey-phased individual.
Observer vigilance was much higher this month and as a consequence more wagtails were noticed, invariably flying over. A couple were seen on most days but we couldn't be sure if all the birds flying over were of the nominate race ‘yarrellii’ and not the continental ‘White’ Wagtail ‘alba’ that also passes through Britain at this time of year.
One or two were noted through the month.
A paltry three were noted on the 26th.
Only three were encountered on the 16th.
Five were counted on the 16th.
A female/immature turned up in the grassland on the 17th and remained until the 29th.
Small numbers noted during the month.
A few birds were seen throughout the month usually either within Chats Paddock or Martin Bell's Wood. The biggest movement was 75 on the 29th.
The first record for the month concerned five individuals sunning themselves in Martin Bell's Wood on the 15th. Small numbers occurred thereafter apart from the 20th when 55 flew over and on the 28th when 22 moved north.
The maximum count was around 25 on the 15th. Some of those birds and other reported during the month were quite flighty implying that they could have been migrants.
The female that was discovered in Central Copse on the 10th by an elated Scrubber, automatically became the bird of the month. It was the third autumn record for The Scrubs since the last in October 2009 that involved three individuals.
Sightings continued into October with a maximum of three birds on the 1st. The last bird was heard ‘chacking’ from within a bramble patch at the western end of Lester's Embankment on the 28th, making it our latest ever.
We thought that we were doing extremely well being treated to late birds as September croaked its last breaths. That was until a bird was noticed on the 1st. It turned out to be our first October record since 2005.
With the good coverage from the available Scrubbers the numbers of this common warbler were well recorded with birds seen on most days until a singleton on the 20th.
Up to three birds roamed the area in amongst the tit flocks.
Only five were reported on the 16th.
Our elusive bird showed up in a tit flock again on the 20th.
Around 10 were counted on the 16th.
The peak count was around 18 birds on the 17th.
Fifteen were counted on the 16th.
A singleton was noticed on the 11th.
One or two flew over during the month.
The peak count was around 80 birds on the 16th.
Around 20 were present during the month.
A few were noted in their usual Braybrook Street haunts.
Passage numbers were lower than last October with just 106 compared to last year's 500 plus.
A small number was recorded with the biggest flock being of 10 birds on the 17th.
A much over looked little finch, this bird looks decidedly dull and boring as it flies overhead with little in the way of diagnostic features to hang your hat on. This in itself is a good signifier of Redpolls flying over. The other is its chipping flight call, when you can hear it over the noise of the urbanity that surrounds us of course.
At least 26 birds were picked out amongst the hordes of unidentified finches that flew over our patch.
Around 30 were reported on the 13th.
Classic low counts were the order of the day. Just 10 on a couple of dates were the most that we could muster.
Last month's movement continued into October and involved 55 birds including at least 29 on the 17th.
A male and two females made a long awaited appearance at The Scrubs when they were discovered in Chats Paddock on the 20th. Once a regular breeder this gorgeous, shy finch has become something of a rarity and indeed, these birds were the first to be settled here for several years. On the day of their discovery, an additional female was seen landing in the bushes at the western end of Lester's Embankment.
Up to two birds remained in the vicinity of the grassland and Central Copse during the course of the month.
2011 Year List
- Little Egret
- Grey Heron
- Mute Swan
- Canada Goose
- Egyptian Goose
- Red Kite
- Common Buzzard
- Ringed Plover
- Bar-tailed Godwit
- Black-headed Gull
- Common Gull
- Mediterranean Gull
- Herring Gull
- Lesser Black-back
- Great Black-back
- Common Tern
- Feral Pigeon
- Stock Dove
- Wood Pigeon
- Collared Dove
- Turtle Dove
- Rose-ringed Parakeet
- Green Woodpecker
- Great Spotted Woodpecker
- Sand Martin
- House Martin
- Meadow Pipit
- Tree Pipit
- Pied Wagtail
- Yellow Wagtail
- Grey Wagtail
- Common Redstart
- Northern Wheatear
- Song Thrush
- Mistle Thrush
- Ring Ouzel
- Garden Warbler
- Lesser Whitethroat
- Common Whitethroat
- Sedge Warbler
- Reed Warbler
- Willow Warbler
- Spotted Flycatcher
- Great Tit
- Coal Tit
- Blue Tit
- Long-tailed Tit
- Carrion Crow
- House Sparrow
- Lesser Redpoll
- Reed Bunting
93 species thus far (93 species in October 2010 & 90 in October 2009)