Monday, May 30, 2011

Wild place Your Space

For the next seven days at EIDB, the RSPB are running the above event. It is fairly low key, just a few tents and guided walks and wildlife trails. There is also a watchpoint which will be expertly run by the East London Birders Forum. This watchpoint will be manned from 10.00am to 4pm every day until Sunday. It will be interesting to see if anything unusual is recorded, as this will be the most intensive birding this site has ever received. Also importantly this event should re-establish EIDB as a Nature Reserve, something which seems to have been forgotten in recent years.
Well what of this mornings sightings, for a quiet time of year there was a few things for the notebook. Forty 1st summer Black-headed Gulls were on the Basin and two Common Gulls, unusual at this time of year. A single Swift flew over, always one for the notebook. Two House Martins were collecting mud and a Sparrowhawk drifted over. I even managed to record a first for the year when a Ring-necked Parakeet flew into the copse. So quite a good morning, and the nest six days should hopefully produce something.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Spot On

Back to basics after my trip to Cornwall which had loads of birds and a few people. EIDB is usually the other way round. Nick had a couple of good birds (Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler) on Thursday evening in the copse, so I checked here first, though with clear skies I did'nt expect anything. After about 10 minutes of scouring the copse the Spotted Flycatcher flew into view on top of a tall tree, and then it flew into the depth of the copse. The copse at this time of the morning (07.30) was lively. A pair of Chaffinches, Blackcaps, Greenfinches and a male Reed Bunting and a Jay were present, but at about 09.30 it all went quiet. The Spotted Flycatcher could not be relocated. The Thames was again dead even though the tide was flowing. The weather started to change as the wind veered to the NW and cloud replaced clear skies. A Common Swift flew over, the first sighting this year, and I breathed a sigh of relief, this can be a hard bird at EIDB. One worrying sign was that the dock had the lowest ammount of water I have ever seen here, a combination of low tides, a lack of rain and leaky lock-gates were probably to blame, though water began to flow in as I was leaving

Friday, May 06, 2011

Dock Leave

An early morning visit before I head off for Cornwall for a few days, hopefully to see a few good birds and recharge the batteries. Its still very quiet on the river, the Thames in this area has so far failed to produce, though just a few miles down river at Barking and Creekmouth there have been plenty of good birds. Maybe the "Spanish Plume" will bring some stuff in. The most interesting sighting today on the Thames was a Common Seal hauled out on the 02 mudflats. Four Oystercatchers flew down the river and that was about it. A female House Sparrow was at the Ecology Park, a unusual sight here, though May is the best time to see this species here, and a Lesser Whitethroat was singing at Bow Creek. The Common Swift was as usual elusive, this must be one of the few places where Swifts can be absent from a year list (it has happened).

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

From Portugal to Poplar

The two Tufted Duck wearing nasal saddles at East India Dock Basin on May 1st, have been traced to Portugal, around 1375 kilometres from the patch! Both birds were saddled at São Jacinto Dunes Nature Reserve, Portugal; the male on December 16th 2007 and the female on January 14th 2011. Both birds were noted in the São Jacinto area until February 28th this year and were then refound in France at the Reserve de la Graude Noé, Val de Reuil, Normandie, where they remained from March 26th to April 8th. The next sighting, of the male only, was at East India Dock Basin on April 17th and again on April 27th. Unfortunately no details of the saddle could be made out so it was not until the female turned up on May 1st that a positive identification could be made. The above photographs were taken in Portugal and I am grateful to David Rodrigues for giving me permission to reproduce them here. Anyone who may be interested in the work being done in Portugal can find out more here: below are the details for both birds:

Male, saddle: U1 red: ring number: L68769, juvenile male (euring code 3)
marked at São Jacinto Dunes NR, Portugal on 16/12/2007 and seen locally until 3/3/2008
returned on 29/12/2008 and seen locally until 22/2/2009
returned on 5/12/2009 and seen locally until 8/3/2010
returned on 14/1/2011 and seen locally until 28/2/2011

Female, saddle: 1 red: ring number: LV1732, juvenile female (euring code 5)
marked at São Jacinto Dunes NR, Portugal on 14/1/2011 and seen locally until 28/2/2011

both birds were then seen at Reserve de la Graude, Noé, Val de Reuil, Normandie, France from 26/3/2011 to 8/4/2011, about 1232 kilometres from Säo Jacinto before the male turned up at East India Dock Basin on 17/4/2011 followed by the female on 1/5/2011, about 1375 Kilometres from São Jacinto.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Another red-saddled Tufted Duck

I photographed this female Tufted Duck at the basin this morning, the red saddled male was here and I was trying to attract him (unsuccessfully) with some (wholemeal) bread when Gary spotted this one, hopefully the cryptic pattern on the saddle will mean something to somebody There was some passage today including seven Mute Swans east, a group of six Common Sandpiper east, a Swallow north, two House Martins and a male Wheatear on Orchard Wharf. Most of the recent warblers have moved through with just three Reed Warblers, two Common Whitethroats and three Blackcaps present. Other notables included a pair of Greylag Geese, Sparrowhawk, two or three Oystercatchers, the 1st-winter Common Gull still hanging on, seven Common Terns and a singing Chaffinch.