Our first port of call was Walthamstow Wetlands for our main target of the day - the wintering Little Bunting. And in the sun we were pleasantly surprised how quicky we saw it. During an hour and a half it showed about half a dozen times popping up into the same bush each time in the company of c10 Reed Buntings and c40 Linnets. While we were there chatting to a couple of local birder we also had 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 Sparrowhawks and a handful of Ring-necked Parakeets. A wander round to no.4 reservoir and we were soon watching the adult drake Scaup with a small group of Tufted Duck, job done! After a coffee in the seriously impressive visitor centre (an old converted Victorian pumping station) we moved on.
Walthamstow Wetlands visitor centre
A short drive away in Snaresbrook a 3rd year Caspian Gull has been frequenting Eagle Pond and we found the bird within a few minutes as it flew in and was eventually tempted closer with a loaf of Kingsmill! There were good numbers of Tufted Duck there plus a dodgy Canada Goose with lots of white on it's face that got Jus excited but little else.
Connaught Water on the edge of Epping Forest is somewhere I've not been for years and a quick circuit of the lake on our way out of London revealed 15 Mandarin (3 females, 12 drakes) a single Pochard and a Common Buzzard before we headed up the A12.
With time on our side for once we opted to finish the day at Abberton. It was an excellent call. Starting at the viewing screen in Wigborough Bay we quickly located the 3 Little Stints on a muddy spit striaght out from the screen plus c10 Goosander in the distance and c40 Pintail before we moved to the Layer Breton causeway for the remaining light. In abiut 45 minutes there we had 8 Smew (2 drakes) even including some displaying with the males sticking their head crests up and putting their heads back a little like a Goldeneye would, a point blank Black-necked Grebe, Great White Egret, c380 Shoveler, c40 Goldeneye and finally 2 fly-over Ruff.
Yearlist = 149