Journal archives for November 2020

November 02, 2020

The Telford trap

"Telford Gardens" always seemed a euphemistic description in a city where "X Gardens" generally denotes a concrete jungle of high-rise flats surrounding a shopping mall. To be fair, however, Telford Gardens does contain a tiny garden. And the garden has acquired a certain fame, or perhaps one should say notoriety, as a mecca for migratory birds. The garden is, literally, a migrant trap. Surrounded by high-rise blocks on all sides, it appears as an oasis amid the concrete jungle. Perhaps it was the tiny pond which this autumn attracted a ruddy-breasted crake. This morning, the normally crepuscular crake could just be made out sheltering in the middle of a hibiscus bed. A gardener helpfully volunteered that if he sprayed water at it, it would come out (and allow itself to be photographed). Before I could protest he fired his hose into the flowerbed and sure enough, the terrified crake came skittling along the flowerbed, allowing for a blurred record shot which just sufficed to show its ruddy breast. Now, a crake is not equipped for VTOL. It takes off horizontally, like a gallinule taking off from water. In order to escape from this enclosed space, a bird needs to achieve a daunting angle of climb which a crake may not be capable of. The prospects for the crake to escape from this migrant trap do not look good.
Meanwhile, the star bird of the season, a Middendorff's grasshopper warbler, was effectively captive on another tiny flowerbed. The authorities had at least erected a barrier keeping photographers a meter away, but it was still being photographed by long lenses at point blank range. At least the warblers seem to be able to escape from the trap, since Pallas' and lanceolated grasshopper warblers have recently passed through and moved on.

Posted on November 02, 2020 12:14 PM by stephenmatthews stephenmatthews | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment