Compiled by Howard Vaughan
RSPB Rainham Marshes
Wader and tern passage continued during the month with a scattering of expected species but only the 10th stood out as properly noteworthy with 44 Grey Plover, 17 Sanderling, 14 each of Dunlin and Ringed Plover, nine Whimbrel, seven Turnstone and a Knot in gloomy conditions that also brought four Med Gulls, 65 Common, four Arctic, six Black, two Sandwich and two Little Terns into our stretch of the Thames. The day was wrapped up rather nicely by Fraser Simpson with a late evening fly through Collared Pratincole! A Wood Sandpiper was seen the following day and Ringed Plover were up to 33. There were several more Arctic Tern days with a dozen going north on both the 14th and 30th and there were two Black Terns on both the 12th and 14th. A Stone Curlew bedecked with colour rings was found on the 12th and the next day a Glossy Ibis spent a short while on Purfleet Scrape with another brief visit on the 28th. An immature drake Garganey arrived on the 11th and was joined by an adult male on the 14th and the latter was still being seen into June. Three Barnacle Geese were a little odd on the 19th. At least six Grasshopper Warblers were reeling amongst the commoner species and the Wryneck from 30th April made it through the 1st May. The odd Wheatear was seen during the month and a Redstart was found on the 3rd with the hoped for Spotted Flycatcher on the 29th. A Great Egret in full breeding plumage was found by Jerry Hoare on the 12th and was elusively seen till the 15th. Red Kites were noted on the 7th, 15th and 19th and a Black Kite was watched by Andy Tweed the following day with a female Montagu’s Harrier quartering for 15 minutes on the 22nd. Marsh Harriers are doing well and there are still two Short-eared Owls around.
Metropolitan Essex (LHNS recording area)
There were nine Red Kite sightings during the month including three over Walthamstow Reservoir (14th) and four over Gallions Reach (24th) while Honey Buzzards were seen over Romford (2nd) and Upminster (4th). Hobbies were seen at traditional spots with an aggregation of 14 over Hooks Marsh (16th) being notable. Walthamstow, Girling and KGV Reservoirs enjoyed some wader and tern passage with Turnstone, Sanderling, Whimbrel and Greenshank all noted while five Arctic Terns were seen on the 1st and 2nd, three Black Terns on 6th and one on the 7th and a Little Tern (8th). Two Black-necked Grebes and a male Garganey were seen on Walthamstow on the 12th with a Great Egret through there on the 25th while a Spotted Flycatcher and Short-eared Owl on the KGV on the 7th were both excellent records. A tatty immature male Garganey was present in the Ingrebourne Valley intermittently (with a female) but was also seen at Rainham and Fairlop waters CP (27th). The Valley also hosted a Wood Sandpiper till the 7th and Dagenham Chase had a Whinchat on the 1st with another at Wanstead Flats (4th). A Short-eared Owl was seen there the day after and the nearby Park and the Roding Valley Meadows NR both had Spotted Flycatchers from the 4th. Turtle Doves were purring at both North and South Weald and the Lower Lee Valley held several singing male Black Redstarts. Grasshopper Warblers were still reeling at Walthamstow Marsh, Cornmill and the Ingrebourne.