Monday, April 30, 2012
Double Dip at the Dock but a Treble Bonus
There was a strange yellow thing in the sky today, and it radiated heat. After what seems like weeks there was a respite from the rain. Though the sunny conditions also brought loads of people out, the dock was very disturbed. Today's visit was planned with the hope of getting Chiffchaff and Sand Martin two species that I usually record in March. There was a decent passage of Hirundines yesterday and I was hopeful, but to no avail, another blank. But it was not all doom and gloom two female Wheatears were on Orchard Wharf and these joined two males on the Pura Foods site. Whilst eating my lunch a Common Buzzard drifted over low flying east at 13.18 (1st record in 2012), and two Swallows flew south perhaps deciding to get out of the country while the going is good. So three site year ticks is not bad in a poor year. Other species around were a couple of Common Terns, two singing Blackcaps and a female Kestrel. The weather is set go back rain tomorrow with northerly winds not good birding weather unless you are a Thames watcher. These conditions were in place during the last weekend and a number of goods birds were recorded at various sites along the river. EIDB has over the years had a few decent birds in these conditions, but its very sparse. I have often wondered why waders, wildfowl and seabirds do not in general get up this far. I thought that perhaps the Thames Barrier acted as a barrier to birds, but I believe I now have an insight to the problem. This year I have regularly watched the Thames a few miles downriver at Gallions Reach and I have seen many good birds from here. On a number of occasions I have seen birds fly past me heading upriver towards Woolwich, they get as far as Woolwich Arsenal then turn around and fly back downriver. This has happened to Godwits, Dunlin, and Curlews. The river at Woolwich narrows and also the buildings start to rise giving a hemmed in feeling. The river at Gallions Reach and Barking has an open aspect and I believe this may be a reason why the most of the birds turn back. There are always exceptions and some species particularly Terns have a reputation for going upriver. It is something that I will continue to monitor.