Sunday, November 18, 2012

Third quarter: July to September 2012 summary

Jersey Tiger: Bow Creek, 25/08/2012
A site record count of at least 30 Canada Geese flying into the basin to roost was made on August 28th, while a hybrid Greylag x Canada Goose was a somewhat incongrous addition to the Lower Lea list on September 5th. Two Shelducks  were seen on July 2nd, a very early date for returning autumn birds so perhaps they were local breeders from further up the Lea Valley, the only other records were of single juveniles on September 2nd and 4th. Five Common Teal on August 11th were the first of the autumn, numbers built up steadily from then on with 12 on August 18th, 21 on August 15th, 36 on August 31st, 45 on September 2nd, 53 on September 5th and 115 on September 26th. The escaped Australian Chestnut Teal  was also seen on August 11th. Tufted Duck numbers remained reasonably high during the first half July with a peak count of at least 29 on the 10th, thereafter numbers dropped off dramatically with a peak August count of just four on the 25th; there was something of a recovery in September with 14 on the 5th being the monthly maximum; both of the Portuguese red-saddled birds were noted during September, the male on the 11th, 13th and 14th, both birds on the 19th and the female on the 20th and 26th. Great Crested Grebe can be found fairly easily on the docks either side of the Lower Lea but can be unaccountably scarce here. this year so far there has been only one record of a singleton on the Thames off the basin on September 21st. Single Sparrowhawks were noted on six dates between August 10th and September 11th with two on September 28th, Kestrels were scarcer with just singles on September 9th and 19th. Common Sandpiper passage started with four in the high tide roost on July 28th and peaked at seven on August 11th; the only other waders recorded were singles of Oystercatcher on August 6th and Little Ringed Plover on July 28th. Adult Mediterranean Gulls were logged flying west on July 4th and east on August 11th, single Yellow-legged Gulls were noted on August 18th and September 12th with the first Common Gull of the autumn seen on August 31st. Despite the lack of breeding sucess this year Common Terns were still seen around the basin in small numbers with eight on July 10th and a movement of 18 flying west on September 24th the best counts. Singles Ring-necked Parakeets were seen on July 25th and August 26th and single Great Spotted Woodpeckers were noted on July 9th, August 6th and 11th with two on September 21st; Common Swifts were noted on five dates with the only significant count 15+ on August 1st. The breeding pair of Sand Martins remained until August 11th but the only notable passge was a count of 17 flying south east on the late date of September 20th; other hirundines were in short supply with two Swallows on August 11th and a single House Martin on August 7th with a good local count of five on September 11th. Wheatear passage was extremely poor with just a singleton on September 12th the only record. Reed Warblers were noted singing until July 9th with at least one pair still feeding young on July 26th, there was a small passage during August with singles on the 11th and 24th, four on the 18th and two on the 31st, with single Sedge Warblers recorded on July 26th, August 31st and September 11th. A Blackcap was singing until at least July 9th, thereafter there were only four more records, all singles on July 28th, August 25th and September 2nd and 5th, Common Whitethroats were much scarcer with just singles on July 26th and August 31st. Single Chiffchaffs were recorded on ten dates between July 28th and September 29th with four on August 25th and six on September 19th the only multiple counts; Willow Warbler passage commenced with two on August 6th, thereafter singles were noted on August 7th, 8th, 10th, 20th and 25th with a very good count of five on August 31st the last of the year. It was a good period for lepidoptera with a male Long-tailed Blue at the basin on August 10th, a Painted Lady on August 8th and a good run of Jersey Tigers with two at the ecology park on August 6th, one at the basin on August 18th and singles at Bow Creek and the ecology park on August 25th; finally one, or perhaps two, Harbour Porpoises swam up the Thames on September 14th.