Monday, June 25, 2012

Nuthatch, first for EIDB

June is usually considered the quietest month for birding in London. A time for recharging the batteries after rushing around trying to connect with migrants and a time for checking on breeding birds. The latter was the option today and some decent weather was a bonus. A check on the mud in front of the O2 revealed an adult Mediterranean Gull, a good bird for this area. The dock held 9 Shelducks, 3 Common Terns and  the usual waterfowl. Reed Warblers were feeding young as were a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, who have nested nearby. I decided to check the copse to see if any young birds were present, and immediately saw something strange, a bird was crawling down a branch head-first. A Nuthatch, the first to be recorded at the site and my 126th species here. I saw the bird very well, it was quite dull in colour so I presume a young bird. I think the nearest breeding area for the Nuthatch is across the Thames at Oxlees Wood, so it may have come from there. I phoned John Archer who also saw the bird, John also saw a 2nd Summer Yellow-legged Gull on the O2 mud, though the Med Gull had gone. The O2 mud has quite a turnover of Gulls  so is always worth a look. To round things off I recorded 4 House Martins on Bow Creek, and Insect interest was 2 Brimstones a Red Admiral and a Emperor Dragonfly. Who said June was quiet.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Touch of the Mediterranean

Woke up to bright sunshine, a good day to check the patch for breeding birds. By 10 am it was warm and I was basking in the sunny conditions at EIDB and feeling at ease with the world. I was noticing that the Black-headed Gull numbers were start to build up on the island when two full adult Mediterranean Gulls flew in at 10.25, they circled a few times calling, a very distinctive call which I don't hear very often. They landed on the island and were present for 15 minutes when all the Gulls were spooked by something. Some of the Black-headed Gulls returned, but not the Meds. I know some birders find Gulls boring and samey looking, but these two birds were magnificent. Jet black hoods with white eye crescents, red bill and legs, subtle tones of grey and white, what's not to like. I also managed to record a House Martin on Bow Creek, my first at the site this year.
The main reason for visiting the patch today was for breeding birds, well not surprisingly considering the weather, there was little sign of successful nesting. The pair of Common Terns have abandoned their nest, they laid eggs but I presume gave up, or the eggs were predated. The only young birds I saw were two Coots and some Dunnocks. Usually at this time of year there are a number of young birds around the copse (mainly Tits and Thrushes)  and juvenile waterfowl. I also failed to see any birds carrying food to nest sites. At least it is only mid June and pairs have the time to try again, but with the weather remaining dodgy the breeding season could be a wash-out. On a brighter note there were at least five singing Reed Warblers, a recent increase.