Little Grebe at East India Dock Basin, October 2010
Two juvenile Common Terns on October 3rd were the last of the year, the only Yellow-legged Gull of the month was also on the 3rd and two Swallows passed through. Two Little Grebes were at the usual wintering spot in the north-west corner of the basin on the 8th, two Lapwings and a Common Snipe were also noted on the 8th along with two Chiffchaffs and 20 Goldfinches. A very good October count of circa 240 Common Teal was made at high tide on the 10th which was an excellent day for passage migrants; a Wheatear was in the gravel works, after a good spring passage this one turned out to be the only autumn record, seven Stock Doves flew south and two Collared Dove passed through, a flock of seven Skylarks flew east, a record number for the basin and 148 Redwings flew south; two Redshank in Bow Creek were the first of the autumn along with two Common Sandpipers; five Swallows a Lapwing and a Sparrowhawk also passed through and single Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chiffchaff were on the reserve. The last Common Whitethroat of the year was noted on the 13th along with ten Long-tailed Tit. A small passage of Meadow Pipits was noted on the 17th with eight flying west and four north, the only other migrant that day was a Skylark flying west, two Linnets were on the reserve with three Redshank and two Common Sandpipers in the high tide roost. A Common Buzzard flew north on the 18th and a Collared Dove passed through, a Green Woodpecker was on the meadow at the basin and a Peregrine, 12 Chaffinches and a Chiffchaff were also noted. The 24th seemed like a very unpromising day with just 13 Chaffinches the only birds of note, that is until we received a text message from John Archer downstream at Crossness informing us that a Spoonbill was heading our way; after half an hour it was located on the Millennium mudflats before flying off west only to return a few minutes later giving us excellent views of this totally unexpected vagrant, needless to say the first record for the Lower Lea and easily the best bird of the year (so far). The month ended quietly with four Little Grebes on the 31st, a single Chiffchaff and a very good local count of 20+ Long-tailed Tits.