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

The wader passage from April continued well into May with Temminck’s Stint basically being the only ‘missing’ species. Both Curlew Sandpiper and Little Stint were seen in the first week and three Wood Sandpipers on the 3rd quickly became five with one staying until the 10th. Bar-tailed Godwit peaked at 40 (4th), Grey Plover at 22 (5th) and Whimbrel at 16 (5th) with Sanderling and Turnstone reported the same day. A pair of Black-winged Stilts dropped in on the 10th but did not stay the night and there was even a late Jack Snipe on the 6th! The 10th also saw three very high flying Spoonbills heading over the reserve but at least the Crane on the 21st had the decency to come down and stay till the following morning. It was the first here in 35 years and was very well appreciated. Eclipsing even this was the adult Laughing Gull seen by just a few lucky people on the 9th (a first for Essex) and the Bonaparte’s Gull from Barking did the decent thing and was seen from Ferry Lane on the 16th, 17th and 20th. Kittiwake, Caspian, Iceland, Med and Yellow-legged Gulls added a touch of winter gull magic to the spring! Ten adult Little Gulls on the 18th rounded things off nicely. There was no big tern push but Little (3rd and 5th), Black (two on 27th), Arctic and Sandwich were noted. A male Garganey on the 12th became a pair on the 13th and two males were seen on the 17th. Marsh Harriers were looking settled and several Red Kites were again noted along with a superb Black Kite (18th) and an eye level Osprey (20th). Four Turtle Dove fly throughs was the best spring showing for ten years and there were two Quail from the 6th-8th and another from the 22nd-24th. Birder behaviour was impeccable despite the frustratingly close encounters with this invisible singer. A female Ring Ouzel lingered from the 3rd -12th and Whinchats, Greenland Wheatears and a Black Redstart drifted through while the last Short-eared Owl sighting was on the 6th after another great winter.

Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)

The wader passage from April a first-summer Bonaparte’s Gull was found at Creekmouth on the 14th before spending time around Barking Bay/Crossness over the following week before returning to Creekmouth on the 23rd. Several Med Gulls were also noted and one Caspian Gull was still commuting between there and the Thames Barrier Park. Amongst the now regular Red Kite sightings a Black Kite was tracked from Gidea Park to Hainault Forest CP on the 10th while Honey Buzzards were noted over Romford on the next two consecutive days. Trios of Red Kites were seen through Romford and Buckhurst Hill on the 14th and Wanstead on the 28th – all others were of singles. Ospreys were seen over Gallions Reach (7th) and Walthamstow Reservoirs and Woodford Green on the 25th. The Reservoirs also held a good smattering of passage waders along with Arctic Tern and the first local Spotted Flycatcher on the 16th. Up the Lee Valley the Kittiwake lingered on the KGV until it succumbed on the 15th and Black Terns were seen in the 1st, 4th and 5th with a Little Gull on the 9th. A male Garganey took up semi-residence at Dagenham Chase from the 9th and a Great Egret was noted over Gallions Reach on the 11th. Black Redstarts seem to have several established territories in the area but Turtle Doves are still thin on the ground.