Well that was pretty rubbish. For the main, July is like June: no birds so it's bugs and plants and enjoying the sun, and falling asleep in the sun, or staying in bed avoiding the sun. You get a few tantalising interludes which make you think: "next time", and then "next time" is crap, but you keep on trying. Occasionally. Or just stay in bed.
Not surprisingly there were very few avian highlights. They were happening everywhere else bar Wanstead, London, the South East, anywhere near....
Crossbill: five early birds on 3 occasions
Common Sandpiper: a year's worth in one day, and then another
Great White Egret: Mr Howard (RSPB Rainham's very own) spots a GWE flapping north up the Roding. Odds on someone would have seen it if they had been in the Old Sewage Works that morning. I was in bed 50 miles away. Consolation is: Don't need it!
I am not even going to bother trying to big-up anything else just to pad the highlights out, it's gone, done, forgotten...
What we did have was returning ducks: first the Gadwall, then a few Teal and finally some Shoveler on the Heronry, all looking a tad worse for wear, but welcome none the less. Returning gulls; Black-headed Gull numbers soon reaching 3 figures
There were a few more Reed Warbler sightings and soundings, Garden Warbler too...
... that's quite enough, anymore and I might have nightmares and relive the whole bloody month.
Wanstead Flats: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Sand Martin, House Martin, Swallow, 50+ Swift (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Little Egret, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Common Tern, 5 Black-headed Gull, 50+ Swift, House Martin (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Sand Martin, 3 House Martin, 30+ Swift, eclipse drake Gadwall on Alex (first returning autumn bird), 3 Little Grebe, 4 Meadow Pipit, 6 Skylark (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Reed Warbler on Shoulder of Mutton, Common Tern over, 9 Black-headed Gull, eclipse drake Gadwall (probably the same as on Alex), Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebe, female Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: Lesser Whitethroat SSSI still singing, 4 House Martin, 30+ Swift, 9 Black-headed Gull W, 20+ Herring Gull W (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Lesser Whitethroat Old Sewage Works, Common Tern, singing Goldcrest (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding young still in nest hole, Lesser Whitethroat singing SSSI, possible calls of young Willow Warbler, 30+ Swift, 3 House Martin (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Common Tern, Nuthatch (Bob Vaughan); Little Egret, 10 Black-headed Gull circling over Shoulder of Mutton, 20+ Swift, House Martin (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 5 Lapwing S (Bob Vaughan).
Wanstead Park: 2 singing Coal Tit (Bob Vaughan).
Wanstead Flats: Kestrel, Coal Tit (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Garden Warbler still singing in old sewage works (Tim Harris), Common Tern heronry, Common Buzzard (Jonathan Lethbridge/Nick Croft), Little Egret, Great Crested Grebe, 40+ Swift, House Martin (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 34 Black-headed Gull (incl 1 juv), 5 Skylark, 2 Meadow Pipit, 3 House Martin, 20+ Swift (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: 3 Common Tern, 17 Black-headed Gull, Hobby, 7 House Martin, 10+ Swift (Nick Croft); Garden Warbler Bush Wood (Tim Harris).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Gull, 20+ Black-headed Gull, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Common Tern E, Sand Martin, 3 House Martin, 30+ Swift, singing Meadow Pipit, 5+ Skylark (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Little Egret on Heronry, 2 Common Tern, House Martin, 20+ Swift (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Gull, 35 Black-headed Gull, 2 Sand Martin, 3 House Martin, 20+ Swift, 8-10 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 5 Stock Dove, Goldcrest calling (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: 2 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret, Garden Warbler still singing in the Old Sewage Works (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Little Egret and Common Tern Heronry (Josh Selfe).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Teal Alex (Dan Hennessy).
Wanstead Park: 7 Little Egret, 3 Common Tern, juv Black-headed Gull all Heronry (Dan Hennessy).
Wanstead Flats: 6 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 52 Black-headed Gull (4 juv), 30+ Swift, House Martin, family group of Lesser Whitethroat (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: 32 Black-headed Gull (3 juv), Common Tern, Little Egret, Coal Tit, 2 Mink (Nick Croft); Grey Wagtail, large Grass Snake swimming towards me against the current, also Shrew running across path, also Weasel along lakeside path - paddling in the River Roding 3.30pm (Jean-Patrick Elmes).
Wanstead Flats: 2 Crossbill just off the flats (J Lethbridge)
Wanstead Flats: 52 Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, 10 Skylark, 4 Meadow Pipit, 10+ Swift, House Martin (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: 3 Little Egret, 38 Black-headed Gull 8juv (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Flats: Little Egret E over Alex, 80+ Black-headed Gull (8 juv), ad Common Gull, 3 singing Meadow Pipit (1 with food), 6+ Skylark, Coal Tit, f Sparrowhawk, m Kestrel (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 5 Common Sandpiper on Heronry (first for site this year), Peregrine Falcon being mobbed by resident pair of Hobby, m Sparrowhawk, Common Tern, 2 Sand Martin, 7 House Martin, 20+ Swift, Grey Wagtail (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan/Dan Hennessy)
Wanstead Flats: 5 Lapwing E, 100+ Black-headed Gull, 5 Common Gull, 30+ Swift, 7 House Martin, Lesser Whitethroat, 8 Meadow Pipit, 3 Pied Wagtail, c10 Skylark, Purple Hairstreak (Nick Croft).
Wanstead Park: Kingfisher, 3 Grey Wagtail 1juv (Nick Croft).
Barking (River Roding): Great White Egret north up Roding (Howard Vaughan)
Wanstead Flats: Little Egret west over jub, 7 House Martin, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sparrowhawk, 5 Common Gull (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: Crossbill E over Shoulder of Mutton, 3 Grey Wagtail, 2 returning Shoveler, Peregrine Falcon in Old Sewage Works, Little Grebe with 4 yg Heronry (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 displaying Skylark, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, House Martin, c9 Swift, 200 Black-headed Gull, 4 Common Gull, Herring Gull (Nick Croft/Tim Harris)
Wanstead Park: Reed Warbler doing subsong OSW, 2 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret, Grey Wagtail, Shoveler (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)
Wanstead Flats: Tawny Owl calling at daybreak (Dan Hennessy); Goldcrest, Sparrowhawk, 2 f type Kestrel, juv Common Gull, 2 House Martin, 10 Swift (Nick Croft/DH).
Wanstead Park: 2 Shoveler (DH), 2 Hobby pr, Goldcrest, 2 House Martin, 5+ Swift (Nick Croft/Dan Hennessy).
Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper (Jono Lethbridge); eclipse Gadwall, Little Grebe with 3 yg, 8 Mistle Thrush, House Martin, Swift (Nick Croft/Dan Hennessy)
Wanstead Park: 3 Little Egret, Little Grebe with 4 chicks, Great Crested Grebe, 2 eclipse Shoveler (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Flats: 2 Lesser Whitethroat, Chiffchaff numbers building in SSSI, House Martin, c30 Swift, 2-3 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 3 Gadwall (Nick Croft)
Wanstead Park: 2 Grey Wagtail, 7 House Martin, 2 Shoveler, Great Crested Grebe sleeping on Perch Pond (Nick Croft)