Red Kite - photographed in Wales (Russell F Spencer)
After years of waiting, years of quietly feeling extreme jealousy towards all the sites that surround Wormwood Scrubs scoring regular Red Kites, we finally broke our duck and produced not one but two separate birds during the London Natural History Society bird walk that I was leading on Sunday.
The weird thing was, when I met the group of c45 people and was giving them an introductory talk, I mentioned that one of the things that they needed to do was to keep an eye skyward because I fancied a Red Kite. We had walked practically three quarters of the way around the site and were on the last leg of the walk when I looked up to see a high soaring kite slowly drifting east. "Kite!!!" I shouted at the top of my voice, overwhelmed by the emotion of seeing my Scrubs bogey bird.
I made sure everyone got onto it as it slowly drifted across the beautiful blue midday skies. But then something else caught my attention, much lower down on the horizon not far above the rooftops to the south. It was another kite! I screamed yet again! It felt like a dream. I could barely speak for the next 20 minutes of the guided walk and I had to apologise to the group for my lack of commentary.
Where do I go from here? What other bird can I now reasonably wish for at The Scrubs? We've had amazing records over the years like an Ortolan, Wryneck, 3 Richard's Pipits, 2 Marsh Harrier, 2 Honey Buzzards, Osprey, Goshawk, Barn Owl, Bittern, Little Bunting, Ring Ouzel, Nightingale, Firecrest, Dartford Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and a Wood Warbler in 1980 which was before my time. That's 124 species in a park surrounded by urbanity with no standing water.
What can I wish for now? A shrike?