Great Crested Grebe at East India Dock Basin, December 2010
November got off to a good start with a female type Black Redstart at East India Dock Basin on the 4th, but it proved to be very elusive, not being seen again until the 28th; a very good monthly maxima of 230 Common Teal was also made on the 4th along with a good local count of six Pied Wagtails. The 7th was a good day for passage with the following species logged: 570 Woodpigeon south-west, a record count of 325 Starling, 97 Redwing, ten Chaffinch, two each of Ring-necked Parakeet and Skylark and single Lapwing and Mistle Thrush flying south and west respectively; also noted on the 7th were single Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Kingfisher, the latter being unaccountably elusive this year. Four Little Grebe were on the basin on the 14th with the Redshank roost peaking at 13 on the same date; an adult Yellow-legged Gull was noted on the 17th then things became a little slow until the 21st when the first Dunlin of the year was at Bow Creek and a Great Spotted Woodpecker and six Redwing were also noted, the following day saw a peak count of four Common Sandpiper in the roost. Fifteen Lapwing flying north on the 28th was the best count of the year, also noted were a male Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. The month ended on a high when a Golden Plover flew east on the 30th, only the second site record, six Lapwing were also noted along with a monthly maxima of nine Shelduck.
December got off to an excellent start with the first site record of Woodcock, flushed from the copse at East India Dock Basin, an often punted species for the lower Lea and now firmly on the list; 13 Redshank and three Common Snipe were also seen on the 1st along with a good local count of five Meadow Pipit. A very good count of 40+ Common Gull was made on the 2nd, there was clearly an influx of this species into the London Area in early December as several other localities noted an increase in numbers during the same period; other notables on the 2nd included four Common Snipe and a Great Crested Grebe. The female type Black Redstart put in an appearance on the 4th, it was a little more accommodating this month being seen on a total of four dates until the 30th; Common Teal numbers rose to 410 on the 4th, but this count was beaten on the 12th when c430 were noted; Redshank and Common Sandpiper numbers peaked on the 4th at 14 and three respectively and six Lapwing and a Ring-necked Parakeet passed through. A male Merlin flew west on the 5th, only the third site record, then nothing much was noted until the 9th when a Curlew was found at Bow Creek , the first site record, also on the 9th, the first Shoveler of the year, the second Dunlin and a Mistle Thrush which averages about five records annually. A female Pintail at Bow Creek on the 11th was the first record for over four years, it appears to be overwintering and was still present at the end of the year, with two Redwing and a Chiffchaff noted also on the 11th. Three Great Crested Grebe were found on the 12th, the first multiple count of the year, along with two Reed Bunting, scarce this year, two Chiffchaff and a male Blackcap. The 19th saw a record count of 11 Common Snipe and a Jack Snipe at Bow Creek along with six fly-over Lapwing and eight Redshank and a Common Sandpiper in the roost, making it a five wader day; at least two Peregrines were in the area, possibly three, and good counts of five Meadow Pipits and four Reed Buntings were made; finally a monthly maxima of 20 Shelduck was noted on the 22nd.