Compiled by Howard Vaughan
RSPB Rainham Marshes
The weather was basically too nice during September for there to be any meaningful wader passage but there was a smattering of Greenshanks, two Curlew Sandpipers, three Knot and up to 15 Ruff seen on Aveley Pools. Caspian Gulls were picked up on the tide line regularly with perhaps six different birds seen and Yellow-legged Gulls peaked at 51 on the 30th. A few Sandwich and Arctic Terns were seen among the scant Common numbers and Blacks were noted on the 17th and 18th when an Arctic Skua was also seen. A Black-necked Grebe was new for the year on the 7th but duck numbers were still low with little water to attract them but two Garganey were seen on the 18th. Yellow Wagtails were seen in good numbers and Tree Pipits were seen on the first three days while a few Wheatear and Whinchat were found but the only Redstart and Spotted Flycatchers were on the 11th. A Great Egret arrived on the 25th and stayed into October and a Spoonbill the following day did likewise. There was a good hirundine passage on the 21st when a Kite was also seen. The 18th and 21st were Buzzard days with 15 and 25 respectively and the Hobbies put on a great show for most of the month.
Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)
There was a good spread of passage passerines across the area with Spotted Flycatchers, Whinchats and Wheatears in most suitable locations. Redstarts followed shortly behind with Wanstead Flats hosting the most with 11 ‘bird days’ with peaks of five on the 5th and six on the 11th. Another seven sites also held them with both Great Warley (7th) and Warley Place (11th) having three birds. All the Pied Flycatcher records were from the Flats with nine ‘bird days’ including three on both the 4th and 5th but it was the juvenile Ortolan Bunting on the 7th that stole the show. Six Tree Pipits were also seen there and another was over the Olympic Park on the 18th where Black Redstarts were still to be found. The first four Redwings were over Walthamstow Reservoir on the 19th with Arctic Tern (6th), Knot (7th), Osprey (10th) and three Spoonbills (18th) making for a good month! Another Knot was seen up Valley on the KGV Reservoir on the 4th along with a Turnstone and Slavonian Grebe. The Smew was still around and there was a Black-necked Grebe (10th) and a fine count of 55 Yellow Wagtails (18th). A Great Egret and 74 Little Egrets were seen in the Mar Dyke (1st) and Red Kites were noted once again around Buckhurst Hill and Theydon Bois. Down on the Thames there was a fine German ringed juvenile Caspian Gull at the Thames Barrier Park (from 25th) and 39 Sandwich and a single Little Tern were seen at Gallions Reach on the 14th.