This morning dawned bright and sunny , the predicted overnight snow did not fall so I was looking forward to a gentle stroll around the patch with no great hope of anything unusual to enliven my day. I arrived at the basin to be confronted with the site of a massive flock of Common Teal, a systematic count revealed 280, a very good count as this species has struggled to make double figures at the basin recently, I headed for Bow Creek and was amazed to count another 310 Common Teal here, I quickly returned to the basin just to check that the birds there hadn't shifted to the creek but they were still in situ; this combined total of 590 is easily the highest count ever at the lower Lea the previous best being 460 on February 9th 2012. Shelduck were very much in evidence with 22 on the basin and two pairs having a territorial dispute on the Limmo Peninsula, another welcome surprise was five Gadwall, including three drakes, on Bow Creek, this is the third best count for the creek following six on January 10th 2011 and six on December 12th 2012. The main wader roost held 15 Redshank and two Common Sandpipers with another four roosting at three sites further downstream; two Lapwings were also on Bow Creek, the fifth wader species for the year following on from Redshank, Common Sandpiper, a Woodcock at Virginia Quay on January 17th and a Common Snipe flushed from the Lammas Meadow in the ecology park on January 19th. Other year ticks came in the form of a hunting Kestrel over the Limmo Peninsula, an adult female Peregrine Falcon seen several times during the afternoon, a Grey Wagtail on Bow Creek and two Siskins in the copse at the basin, the first time I've had this species "on the deck" here, all in all a very productive visit.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
The first visit of 2013. I have been an infrequent visitor to the area in the last few months, mainly because of work, but I am hoping to visit on a regular basis this year. With the weather being so mild I did not expect too much this morning. On arriving I met up with fellow birder Paul Hyland who is even a rarer vistor to the site than I am. After checking the Wildfowl on the basin (12 Shelduck was a good count) we headed for Bow Creek and the Ecology Park. A few Redshank were on the creek and a single Common Sandpiper with a number of Common Gulls. Then the Gulls all went up and we had a good view of a Peregrine as it flew across the River Lea towards the Gasworks. The scrub in the Eco Park revealed a Chiffchaff, its always good to get this species early in the year. Paul thought he saw a Goldcrest, an unusual species here, but could'nt clinch it. We managed to get most of the common species including the two wagtails and on the way out from the Eco Park checked the scrub again where a decent flock mixed species were feeding. The Chiffchaff was still there but this time the Goldcrest was clinched. A really good species for the year list. Another turn around EIDB yielded a Dunnock to the list. So a nice start to the year.