ESSEX compiled by Howard Vaughan
RSPB Rainham Marshes
The first week of the month carried on where October left off with some great sightings including a Bonxie - 1st, Goldeneye -female 2nd and male 3rd, 11,200 Woodpigeons flying south, Woodlark, Tree Sparrow, Black Redstart, Woodcock and Snow Bunting - all on the 3rd, the reappearance of the Cattle Egret – 4th, Dartford Warbler – 5th, another Tree Sparrow – 6th and Bittern – 7th. The 9th was a good day for watching the river with seven Mergansers, Med and an adult Iceland Gull along with 13 Yellow-legs and several Caspian Gulls were seen but we missed out on the mid to outer Thames sea duck and skua action. A male Hen Harrier was seen on the 7th and ringtails were reported on the 12th and 29th- our best autumn for years. The Bittern was seen again on the 29th and Merlin, Peregrine, Marsh Harrier and both Barn and Short-eared Owls made for good raptor action along with our tame male Kestrel. Avocet, Sanderling, Knot and Jack Snipe were the scant wader highlights and a single Scoter with a single Brent Goose spent the 24th bobbing up and down the river with the tide. A Siberian Chiffchaff was recorded in the reed bed on the 25th.
Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)
Two Bitterns were regularly seen on Seventy Acres Lake in the Lee Valley with the first Smew on Friday Lake on the 10th along with a few Goosander and Goldeneye. Ten more Goosander were on the KGV (13th) along with two Slavonian Grebes (26th) and a Rock Pipit (2nd). Walthamstow Reservoir also recorded two Rockits the same day with Little Gull and Black-necked Grebe on the 22nd being the highlights. A peak count of 43 Mandarins was counted on Connaught Water on both the 4th and 28th with Goosander and Smew present too along with a Hawfinch on the 7th. Another Hawfinch was seen on Woodford Green on the 12th with a Cattle Egret over there on the 6th. A Goosander at Fairlop Waters on the 12th was a good record for the site and likewise was a Goldeneye at Mayesbrook Park on the 4th. Three Waxwings were seen briefly in Collier Row on the 3rd and a Short-eared Owl was on Wanstead Flats the same day with Jack Snipe on the 10th and a Merlin there on the 28th. Woodcock were seen at several sites and a Jack Snipe was seen in the Ingrebourne Valley (19th) with two more at West Thurrock Marshes along with 11 Avocet and a Kittiwake on the 24th. Further up river a late Ouzel was at Gallions Reach (6th) along with six Scoter (26th) and Brent Goose and Merlin (30th). Immature Caspian Gulls continued to be seen between the Thames Barrier Park and the mouth of the Lee and have been offering great views. The only Red Kite was over Coopersale on the 25th and a female Goshawk went through Gunpowder Park on the 18th.