Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Bird on the Thames

We are now in the period when Gulls, Terns and Waders appear on passage in this part of the Thames. For movement to occur certain conditions usually have to be present, these are,
1. North and/or East winds.
2. Rain/Showers.
3. Cloudy/murky
4. A rising tide.

This morning two of these conditions were present, a NE wind and a blanket of cloud, though visibility was good on the river. It did produce one very good species for this area, a juvenile Kittiwake, which flew upriver turned around at the Dome, stayed in mid-river for a minute (affording good views), and then went back downriver. This is only the third known record of this species at this site, and the first immature record. Unfortunately this star had a poor supporting cast, only 4 Adult Common Terns (I did expect far more with possibly some Arctic Terns)and a few Common Gulls the only notable birds.
The rest of the area was quiet, a Sparrowhawk flew over and Teal numbers have now reached 16 on the Dock. The only other migrant was a single Reed Warbler.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

All quiet on the vest and Y-front

My recent posts are becoming predictable. This morning with NW winds a rising tide and the time of year should have produced some Tern passage, but not a single Tern was seen, unprecedented at this site in the second week of August. Even if there isn't any passage there are usually about 10 hanging about on the Thames. The river was very very quiet with barely any Gulls around, and the only notable sighting was a Common Sandpiper. So what is happening?. Common Terns have possibly had a terrible breeding season, I haven't seen a juvenile this year. Gulls also may have had a bad one, hardly any young Black-headed Gulls are around. This could be down to a lack of food in the river or predation by larger Gulls, but I haven't seen many juvenile large Gulls. This could be a local problem, or it could be regional or national, the first reports of breeding success of Seabirds during 2011 should available from about October. I will report back on this.
Of course it could all change in a few days and loads of passage birds could be in the Thames. It wasn't only the Thames that was quiet, the rest of the area was just as quiet, the only Warblers were a few Reed Warblers still feeding young, three Teal were on the basin and a Peregrine flew over, and that was about it. The copse was dead apart from a pair of old pants that were hanging from a tree, much to the interest of the local flies.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Three Broods. Tuesday 2nd August

This morning was one of heavy showers until about 9am, conditions that have in the past produced a few interesting sightings. Swifts can appear, but true to form at EIDB there were not any Swifts, though two House Martins flew north. Seven Common Terns were on the Thames, though still no juveniles. There were a number of young Reed Warblers still being fed by the adults and a few leaf warblers moving through the scrub.
The highlight today was the emergence from the nest hole of three young Sand Martins at 09.10 just after the rain stopped and the sun came out. This is the third brood from this nest site and presumably the same pair, which is some going. Sand Martins are usually only two brooded. Two Oystercatchers flew over coming from Bow Creek. This species has been much more in evidence this spring and summer and it is possible that a pair is/has nested close by.