It was booked weeks before, and much looked forward to. A trip to Visit Friend Laurence P on the south coast in an attempt to find some of the first arriving juvenile Yellow-Legged Gulls on the year.
Our first site drew a blank, but a small boating lake within Princes Park, Eastbourne was host to this beast. Presumably a Male, the bird gave incredibly close views and we got through two loaves of mighty white pretty quickly.
The bird was quite worn on the tertials, most scaps and the tail, which seemed to be slightly stuck together, perhaps a substance picked up on route from the Med, as a ringed bird in the same place a few years back from Perpignan would suggest.
The following day we returned to the same spot to find a different bird. Smaller, slightly less worn and just as generous with its proximity.
On approaching the underpass along the main path of Walthamstow Marsh I heard a distant; sweet and bright dysllabic whistle. Then the repeating of a section of song, four syllables, unfamiliar in a patch context but defiantly totally arresting. My thinking was it had to be Rosefinch. Having only heard one sing a few weeks before at Dungeness it was fresh in my mind but without seeing the bird I was reluctant to blast out a hasty tweet – a photo of an escaped Canary type thing on Hackney Marshes had been sent to me by a non birding friend a week or so ago and I didn’t want to mess this up. There is little high ground and i couldn’t see the bird at all.
I called local Paul W and he arrived at a time when the bird had been silent for 15 mins. Five minutes later It sang clearly a 5 syllable undulating song. Paul agreed ‘Thats got to be Rosefinch’ ,but still no visual. I scanned from the highest point I could find, and saw the bird distantly perched up in a Hawthorn.
The appropriate texts and calls to locals as well as RBA etc were made and people began to arrive.
With nine previous records its a pretty good bird for London. Many people seem to have come to see, and hear it and I’m very pleased to have eventually found a (much more) twitchable bird on the patch.
The Bird ended up stayed for nearly 2 weeks and later choose the ariel of the Anchor and Hope as its singing perch.