Common Teal at EIDB (Mark James Pearson)
January was an excellent month both in terms of quality and quantity, News Years Day was fairly quiet with a flock of 28 Fieldfares the highlight. On the 2nd a male Great Spotted Woodpecker was in the copse at EIDB, a Stock Dove flew north and an adult Yellow-legged Gull was on the Millennium Dome mudflats. The elusive adult male Black Redstart put in his only appearance of the month on the 3rd along with 31 Redwings (a distant flock of c130 thrushes was almost certainly this species but was too far away for a positive identification), a drake Gadwall at EIDB, and Chiffchaff at the Eco Park while six Song Thrushes flying north-east were almost certainly migrants, also on the 3rd a Common Sandpiper was in the wader roost along with a monthly maxima of 45 Redshank. The first Peregrine of the year put in an appearance on the 5th, six Reed Buntings were in the north-western reedbed at Bow Creek and 24 Fieldfares flew south-west. Overnight snow delivered two drake Pochards to EIDB on the 6th with the freezing weather prevailing until the weekend when it really paid dividends; four Common Snipe were flushed from the feeder stream in the Eco Park on the 9th and a Lapwing was roosting on the island at EIDB; the 10th was even better, along with three Common Snipe, two Jack Snipe (first site record), were flushed from the Eco Park, a Lapwing was in the wader roost, a Great Crested Grebe and a female Wigeon (second site record) were on the Thames off EIDB and a site record count of six Scaup flew upriver, the thaw set in on the 11th and predictably all the good stuff disappeared. A very good count of 402 Common Teal was made on the 12th along with an excellent local count of 26 Linnets, things then became very quiet until the 31st when a Collared Dove flew north, another Great Crested Grebe was on the Thames off EIDB and a monthly maxima of 13 Shelduck flew in to roost at dusk ; all in all an excellent start to the year with 59 species recorded. Finally, on a botanical note, the first Snowdrops of the year were beginning to flower in the copse at EIDB on the 31st.