London Natural History Society The place for wildlife in London

London Natural History Society - The place for wildlife in London

Essex compiled by Howard Vaughan

RSPB Rainham Marshes

March is always a crossover month between the seasons and this year was no exception with winter ducks lingering and waders such as Black-tailed Godwits and Ruff moving north with highs of 160 (1st) and 12 (11th). Jack Snipe suddenly became visible and at least four or five birds were seen on the scrapes throughout the month while Lapwings quickly settled down around them. The first Little Ringed Plover was back on the 21st and a single Knot was quite unusual. The last Caspian Gull was seen on the 2nd and a Med Gull was noted (12th) but there were no early terns this year. Wheatear and Sand Martin were both first seen on the 11th and several more of each along with the odd Swallow were seen. A Ring Ouzel on the 29th and Yellow Wagtail on the 31st were a little early for us but the first chattering Sedge Warbler on the 30th was bang on cue. Also expected were the eight Scoters on the 23rd with five Mergansers on the 27th and two more of each before month end. A Spoonbill flew over on the 22nd and three Glossy Ibises early on the 24th simply disappeared. Corn Buntings arrived back on territory and a single female Yellowhammer was seen on several dates. Marsh Harrier behaviour is looking promising and Red Kites were noted on multiple dates while at least three Short-eared Owls lingered all month.

Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)

Waxwings were still to be found in the Hornchurch / Rainham area all month with a roving group of up to 29 popping up almost into April. Walthamstow Reservoir had a great month that started with a White-front on the 1st and a Caspian Gull the next day. The Scaup stayed throughout and a Siberian Chiffchaff lingered and even sang while the first Sand Martin was seen on the 6th. The draining of reservoir no.5 drew in Black-tailed Godwit, Avocet, Grey Plover and Little Ringed Plovers along with a male Garganey (29th). Four Little Gull moved through on the 11th and two Kittiwake did likewise on the 22nd. The first Sedge Warbler was back on the 30th. Up the Lea Valley a drake Smew and two Black-necked Grebes stayed on the KGV till mid-month and a Scandinavian Rock Pipit was there on the 11th. A White Wagtail (9th) and Ring Ouzel (28th) were seen at Sewardstone Marsh and at the south end of the Valley there were four Little Ringed Plovers in the Olympic Park (25th). An Avocet in the Ingrebourne Valley on the 28th was an exceptional record and this site also held a good number of passage Green Sandpipers and a pair of Red Crested Pochards. Another female was noted on Wanstead Park till the 1st and this site also nabbed the first local Wheatear on the 11th. A Siberian Chiffchaff was seen again at Creekmouth where a Caspian Gull lingered and two more were still around Thames Barrier Park till the 23rd. A new first-winter was also seen on Eagle Pond on the 3rd. Nearby a Great Egret was seen over Gallions Reach on the 12th with a Kittiwake there on the 23rd. A few Sand Martins dribbled in and a Willow Warbler was early at Fairlop Waters CP from the 19th. A Merlin was seen near Upminster (9th) and the first Yellow Wagtail was over the same site on the 30th. Ravens were seen over Warley on a couple of occasions and four Firecrest territories were found there with other passage birds in Wanstead Park and at Sewardstone. A few Redwings and Siskins were on the move and four Crossbills were over Weald Park on the 5th. An Osprey spent two days on Orsett Fen on the 30th-31st and Red Kites seem to be here to stay now with over 40 sightings across the area including groups of up to seven in the Epping area and five along the post-glacial ridge. Happy days...