7 May 2014

April devine

April and Spring migration. April certainly happened, but as for Spring migration, well that might have just us by.  Sixteen added to the list, which sits comfortably ahead of 2012 (13), one ahead of 2011 (15) and appreciably below last year (19), which doesn't read too badly.  However, the classic migrants never really got here, and if they did their numbers were way down on what we would have hoped,

2 Redstart days: 2 males
20 + Wheatear days: helped by a pair hanging around for just under a week.  The highest figure of just 3 a poor showing on last spring
Just the one Ring Ouzel, albeit a rather showy one while it lasted
No Whinchat for the month
Still no Tree Pipit
Still no Stonechat
No grunting Sedge or Reed Warbler
A poor showing on Willow Warbler, and none have stayed
Less than 10 reports of Yellow Wagtail

The days have been too fine and the nights not wet enough to drop any passerines, and the few grubby days we did have in April it was the waders and a duck which turned up. With the Jubilee still a complete disaster and the fair around the same time, there was no repeat of Little Ringed Plover.  Mores the pity.

But there were highlights

  • Osprey on the 8th: patch blocker un-blocked and seriously exciting stuff
  • Common Redstart on the 9th 
  • Lesser Whitethroat on the 9th: a week earlier than previous records and a contender for one of the earliest records for the UK, its looking like a good year with 8 recorded singing on the flats.  Now hopefully they will all stop singing and get down to the business of producing a little Lesser or two
  • Ring Ouzel on the 10th and easily the most approachable-ish bird we've had
  • A pair of Shelduck on the 13th became a common occurrence as they did the rounds of all the ponds, and a record 6 were seen on the 27th
  • Another run of good days brought Common Sandpiper to the Alex on the 24th
  • The same day the second Red Kite of the season 
  • The first Whimbrel for two years, over Alex on a grimy 25th
  • A rather smart looking Red-crested Pochard also on the 25th briefly graced the Ornamentals, appropriately, earning Sally Hammond a gold star

 (Pic: Bob Vaughan)

  • The first returning Hobby (3) on the 26th
  • The sole Garden Warbler pitched up in Motorcycle Wood (and is still there) on the 28th.  Shy and hesitant at first, but now bashing out it melodious song from the depths of copse
  • Latest ever Fieldfare on the 21st
  • Oh! and the Pheasant gave itself up to some of us who could be bothered
 (Pic: Bob Vaughan)

So it looks like we will have to wait for the autumn return for Tree Pipit, though Whinchat have made a late May appearance (better late than yada yada!), and if it the weather doesn't turn decidedly crappier over night over the next few weeks, it looks like you might be subject to some poorly focused Butterfly and insect life pretty soon.


A few Pochard are turning up here and there, we've been here before, but maybe they will breed somewhere; there's certainly still quite a sizable Tufty contingent promising much.  Five breeding swan and still a lot of first summer and un-paired individuals hanging around.  Mallard would be more successful if the males didn't try and harangue the females while they are looking after their young.

The Little Grebes have started earlier this year (2 young on Alex and quite a developed youngster on Heronry) and lets hold our breath for the GC Grebe risking Heronry and the Basin this year.  The Little Grebe (or pair) is still stubbornly holding forth on Angel as the water slowly recedes...

Linnet could be a new breeder after a too long absence, with 2 or 3 birds kicking around the gorse. No Redpoll or Siskin reports for April (after the 2nd) and the Reed Buntings have disappeared too. It has and still is a good year for Song Thrush still singing 6-7 months on from when they started, haven't seen any young though.  Unlike Robin, so far I've found 3 young birds, but there must be many more.

Curiously Jubilee has become a creche for young large larids with over 30 birds counted on a few occasions: mostly Lesser Black-backs and Herring Gull, though a non-adult GBBG was noted in amongst them.  Black-headed Gull are noteworthy again.

The Hirundines are back and that is good.  Swallows have been trickling through most days and Sand Martin are almost daily on Alex, a small movement of 40 birds was noted on the 18th.  The House Martin have returned to their nest site, but how many are actually there is still not certain as numbers fluctuate daily.  The Swifts returned in small numbers by the end of the month, but were passage birds, May will bring the hoards to the skies over the patch.

Raptors: Osprey and Kite aside, a few Buzzard graced our skies and the pair of Hobby were back in the park by the end of the month.  The female Kestrel which showed signs of injury to the face, appears to have recovered, but sightings of the male bird have been low. Sparrowhawks are nearly a daily occurrence, while the Peregrine put in a an appearance on a few days. I am feeling confident that May will bring a Honey Buzzard - an obvious one please.

As for the Skylark and Meadow Pipit, I am not sure what's going on.  The mipit may well have had one brood already, they are incredibly quick fledgers, but the larks seem content chasing each other around all day, turning up in different parts of the long grass.  Assuredly the Corporation's signs have had little effect on the hard core of dog walkers, which probably hasn't helped.

House Sparrow, dozens of them, are invading the brooms again doing whatever sparrows do in broom at this time of the year, but it does show that there is still a healthy-ish population surrounding the flats, which is good.

Come on May.


Wanstead Flats: 27 Tufted Duck, 8 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 9 Little Grebe, 4 Reed Bunting, 6 singing Chiffchaff, 5 singing Blackcap, 5 Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, 5 Skylark, Kestrel (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: singing Willow Warbler nr Hollow Pond, 4 Blackcap, c6 Chiffchaff, 2 Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, 12 Shoveler, 2 Meadow Pipit, 7 Chaffinch N, pr Grey Wagtail (Stuart Fisher)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: Green Sandpiper SE at 06:50, Lesser Redpoll over calling, 5 Blackcap, 6+ Chiffchaff, 12 Shoveler, pr Stock Dove, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Goldcrest (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: Willow Warbler, 2 Swallow, 6 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon, 2 Pochard (Tony Brown et al)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Swallow, Little Egret, 2 Pochard, Willow Warbler, Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, 3 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 3 Swallow, Little Egret, 2 Teal, 6 Little Grebe, Linnet, 2 mating Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk (Wanstead Birders)


Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 2 Willow Warbler (one present on court site all day), 6 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, pr Grey Wagtail, 6 Shoveler, no Black-headed Gulls now, Coal Tit, Goldcrest (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: Osprey NW at 08:15, 2 Swallow, Willow Warbler (Wanstead Birders) 


Wanstead Flats: m Common Redstart west of centre rd, Wheatear, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Swallow, pr Linnet, Reed Bunting, f Kestrel (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: singing Lesser Whitethroat [Ldn yr-1st] earliest by a week in Old Sewage Works, 4 singing Willow Warbler, 4 Little Egret, Yellowhammer N, pr Linnet, pr Sparrowhawk, pr Great Crested Grebe (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: m Ring Ouzel, 2m Wheatear, singing Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Willow Warbler (Wansteadbirders)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: 2 Wheatear m&f 1pm on deck for a few seconds but scared off by numerous dog walkers, 2+ Willow Warbler, 7 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 2 Nuthatch (Epping Forest side), 4-5 Grey Heron over, Sparrowhawk, 4 Shoveler, 3 Black-headed Gull over, 2 Coal Tit, Goldcrest (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: House Martin, 5 Swallow, 3 Wheatear (Wansteadbirders)

Wanstead Park: 2 singing Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 2 Little Egret (Wansteadbirders)

Wanstead Flats: 12 Sand Martin, 3 Swallow, 3 singing Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, f Wheatear, m Pochard, pr Shoveler, 5 Linnet (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)

Wanstead Park: pr Shelduck on heronry, 2-4 Little Egret, f Bullfinch, Sparrowhawk, singing Lesser Whitethroat (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Yellow Wagtail north, 5 Meadow Pipit, 3-4 singing Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Sand Martin, 2-3 Linnet, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 singing Willow Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Little Egret, pr Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft)

Leyton Flats/Snaresbrook: pr Shelduck on Court lawn early am (presumably the pair from Wanstead), Swallow N, 13+ Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Coal Tit, f Shoveler on Eagle (Stuart Fisher)


Wanstead Flats: pr Shelduck briefly on Alex (the pair that have been doing the rounds), 6-12 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 4-5 singing Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, 3-4 Linnet, Reed Bunting (Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: pr Shelduck on Heronry, Pochard, 3-4 Little Egret, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine Falcon, possible Water Vole on the Roding (Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: m Common Redstart, 4 singing Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, 3 Swallow, 2 Sand Martin, 2 Linnet, Sparrowhawk, pr Shelduck nw (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Common Whitethroat, pr Great Crested Grebe, 4 Little Grebe, Sparrowhawk, 2 Bullfinch (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: 3 Wheatear, 4 Common Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, 2 Linnet, Swallow, House Martin back over nest site, lonely male Pochard (Wanstead Birders) 5 Sand Martin (Alex) (James Palmer)

Wanstead Park: Willow Warbler (Bush Wood), Kingfisher, 3 Common Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat OSW (TimHarris/Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Common Buzzard north, 2 Shelduck, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, 40 Sand Martins north-east, 2 Swallows, 5 Lessser Whitethroat singing, 2 Common Whitethroat singing, 2 Linnet (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 2 Lesser Whitethroat singing, 4 Common Whitethroat singing, 1 Willow Warbler (T Harris)


Wanstead Flats: 8 singing Lesser Whitethroat divided between SSSI, Long Wood & Alex scrub; 2 Common Whitethroat; 1 Willow Warbler (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: 6 Swallow, 6+ Sand Martin, 6 singing Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, 2 Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, pr Shoveler, 4 Little Grebe, probable Yellow Wagtail (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: pr Shelduck, pr Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler (Tim Harris/Nick Croft/Sally Hammond)


Wanstead Flats: 2 Wheatear, Willow Warbler, 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 6 Common Whitethroat, Yellow Wagtail, 2 Kestrel, 35 Herring Gull, 4 Linnet, House Martin, 2 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, Fieldfare (Wanstead Birders)


Wanstead Flats: Common Sandpiper, 2 Willow Warbler, 8 Lesser Whitethroat, 20 Common Whitethroat, pr Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail (Nick Croft/Barry Bishop) Red Kite (Rose Stephens)

(Pic Rose Stephens)


Wanstead Flats: Whimbrel (first for 2 years), Shelduck, 12 Sand Martin, 6 Swallow, 3 Sparrowhawk (Nick Croft),

Wanstead Park: Red-Crested Pochard (Sally Hammond) 2 Egyptian Goose (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Wheatear, Little Egret (Wanstead Birders)

Wanstead Park: 2-3 Hobby, 2 Swift, House Martin, Swallow, Sand Martin, Willow Warbler, 2 Lesser Whitethroat, 3 Little Egret, Pheasant (Nick Croft/Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: 6-9 Shelduck (Marco Johnson/Bob Vaughan)


Wanstead Flats: Garden Warbler, 7 Lesser Whitethroat, 20 + Common Whitethroat, 2 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, 2 singing Meadow Pipit, 4 Swallow, Sand Martin, 2 House Martin, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Little Grebe with young, 3 Linnet, 30 + sub adult Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed on Jubilee (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Garden Warbler, 4 Swallow, 3 House Martin, Buzzard, 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Egyptian Goose (Nick Croft/Marco Johnson)

Wanstead Park: Yellow Wagtail n over basin (Dan Hennessy); Peregrine Falcon, 20 Common Whitethroat, 3 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Little Egret, Kingfisher (Nick Croft)


Wanstead Flats: Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, 20 + Common Whitethroat, 2 pr Pochard + 1 other male, sub-adult Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Swallow (Bob Vaughan/Nick Croft)

Wanstead Park: 2 Little Egret, 3 Lesser Whitethroat (Nick Croft)

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