Compiled by Howard Vaughan
RSPB Rainham Marshes
August is a time for passage but it took a while to get going with most of the action in the latter half of the month when 22 species of wader were recorded in just three days from the 21st with Temminck’s (22nd) and Little Stints, Wood and Curlew Sandpipers being the pick. The Stints stayed three days but of the two Woods, one stayed till the 29th. Turnstones were recorded on the 1st, 5th and 23rd with the Spotted Redshank returning on the 18th for the ‘winter’. Tern passage was very poor with no count anywhere near 50 despite huge counts either side of us on the Thames. Sandwich Terns were perhaps more frequent than usual with good counts of 16 (18th) and ten (24th) with the 19th seeing 12 Arctics and another 28 along with three Little Terns on the 28th. An adult Roseate Tern on the 19th was the third August on the bounce for this species here. Juvenile Little Gulls were seen on the 20th and 28th along with odd Med Gull sightings. Yellow-legged Gull peaked at 46 (18th) and Dante Shepherd found yet another Caspian Gull (and 2nd cy bird) on the 10th which was seen again the next day. A smart eclipse male Garganey arrived on the 24th and six Pintail were on cue on the 29th and a single Scoter was seen on the 17th. Little Egrets reached a respectable 44 on the 9th and a Glossy Ibis was seen on the 6th and 11th. Passage passerines were generally scarce although Yellow Wagtails on the move were a daily feature. The first Whinchat was found on the 16th with Wheatear and two Spotted Flycatchers before the month end along with Redstarts on the 12th and 15th and Tree Pipits on three dates. An adult female Cuckoo was a surprise on the 12th and 14th and two juveniles were also noted. Eyes to the skies produced regular but probably local Buzzards and Marsh Harriers while hawking Hobbies reached seven and Kestrels. 11 Red Kites were seen on the 16th and 23rd and an Osprey and female Goshawk made for a good Bank Holiday.
Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)
The tern passage at Gallions Reach was probably the most notable movement of the month with some great counts that were not mirrored by Barking Bay and Rainham suggesting that perhaps these birds are arriving overland. An unprecedented 200 Sandwich Terns were logged including counts of 60 (24th) and 110 (27th) along with good three figure counts of Common Tern and a smattering of Arctics and two Black Terns (19th). The site also hosted a Red Kite (20th) and up to 20 Common Sandpipers. There were similarly good counts of Common Sands in the Lee Valley on the draining KGV Reservoir along with a good selection of common waders including a Sanderling (6th) and a Pectoral Sandpiper (9th). Garganey, Smew and Goldeneye were present throughout with what appears to be the “Rainham” Ibis from the 16th-21st and a Little Gull (28th). A Red-necked Grebe there on the 21st was a good early season find and observers found Redstart and Blue-headed Wagtail the same day. Turnstone and Oystercatcher on Walthamstow added to the wader tally and the Ingrebourne Valley also attracted the usual suspects of Green and Common Sandpipers while two Ringed Plovers at Fairlop waters on the 21st were a notable site record. Three more Glossy Ibis were seen over Buckhurst Hill on the 6th with two Red Kites there on the 28th while other skywatchers picked up three more Kites, an Osprey over Walthamstow (28th) and on the 30th a female Goshawk over Romford. The first Spotted Flycatchers and Whinchats were noted on the 6th and were then reported from many sites from mid-month with Wanstead Flats holding the peaks of seven and six on the 25th. The Flats also hosted Tree Pipits (21st and 25th), Pied Flycatcher (26th) and up to two Redstarts from the 22nd. Other Redstarts were seen at Bedfords Park (3rd), Ingrebourne Valley (21st), Dagnam Park (two on 24th), Fairlop Waters (two from 27th) and Weald Park on the 25th when 12 Spotted Flycatchers, Pied Flycatcher and a Wood Warbler were also seen. Other Pied Flys were at Waterworks NR (17th), Bedfords Park (25th) and Buckhurst Hill (27th) but it was probably the Hoopoe at Aldborough Hatch on the 18th that won the most plaudits.