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

Waders held sway in April with almost every ‘normal’ passage species recorded with things really getting going from the 17th when the first Bar-tailed Godwit arrived. Others followed along with good counts of Whimbrel, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Icelandic Black-tailed Godwits. Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Knot, Turnstone and Grey Plover added colour.  Jack Snipe continued to be seen up until the 15th. Other late northbound passage birds included three Redwings on the 3rd, a Fieldfare on the 6th and the last Water Pipit on the 9th. Chats were strongly on the move with three 20+ Wheatear days and a good run of Whinchats from the 23rd. Two Ring Ouzels were seen on the 9th with other singles on the 25th and 30th. There was a smattering of Yellow Wagtails and Cuckoos were back from the 20th. A Hobby on the third was early but a Red-legged Partridge the same day was probably the rarity of the month! Red Kite sightings continued to increase with almost daily sightings during the middle of the month and the 1st and 11th were Buzzard days with 32 and 20 respectively. A late Merlin was seen on the 21st. There was some notable tern passage but with more quality than quantity. The first Commons were seen on the 3rd with Arctics from the 15th with a high of 27 through on the 30th. Little Terns were seen on the 21st and 30th and two Black Terns were seen on the former date too with two Sandwich Terns on the 22nd. A couple of Mergansers and Scoter were also seen on the river.

Metropolitan Essex (LHNS area)

The Lee Valley fared well during April with low water levels on No. 5 Walthamstow Reservoir attracting a good selection of waders including Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin and Grey Plover. The Siberian Chiffchaff was still there on the 9th when two Little Terns dropped in briefly. Six White Wagtails were noted on the 13th and a Pied Flycatcher was seen on the 29th. Up valley, the KGV played host to a variety of terns and gulls with a Sandwich Tern and Little Gull getting the month off to a good start on the 2nd. More Little Gulls followed on the 4th and 9th – when there were seven – with another single on the 26th. Nineteen Arctic Terns and a single Black were seen on the 17th and three more Arctic went through on the 27th followed by a Little Tern on the 28th. The same day an adult Kittiwake arrived for a protracted stay. A Ring Ouzel was seen there from the 25th – 28th along with a Blue-headed Wagtail on the 26th. Wanstead Flats is now a customary magnet for passerines attracting Redstarts (10th & 21st), Ring Ouzels (15th & 21st), Nightingale and Tree Pipit (22nd) and Whinchat and Woodlark (23rd) – great stuff.  The Ingrebourne Valley also saw three Redstarts along with two Jack Snipe till the 6th, Red-crested Pochard (12th) and a new patch bird with Grey Plover (20th). Six Waxwings were last seen in Hornchurch on the 6th and further Ring Ouzels were seen on Orsett Fen and over Gidea Park (13th) and the first local Whinchat was at Fairlop Waters CP on the 12th. A Grasshopper Warbler was on territory at Dagenham Chase and there were a couple in the Lee Valley including on Fishers Green Island where the Nightingales were back from the 12th. Two Tree Pipits sang in the Epping buffer lands and Turtle Doves were back at a traditional North Weald site. Down on the Thames there was still a Caspian Gull around Creekmouth and another was seen at Thames Barrier Park on the 6th. Thirteen Arctic Terns also moved through there on the 17th.  Further out there were 17 Whimbrel, six Med Gulls and a Kittiwake off Grays Beach on the 23rd. A female Goshawk was seen at Gallions Reach on the 8th and a Little Tern and seven Whimbrel were noted there on the 21st with 18 Med Gulls, three Arctic Terns and a Whinchat the following day.  Unsurprisingly there were 15 Red Kite sightings...