|The red-saddled Portuguese Tufted Duck was noted on six dates between January 2nd and March 17th|
A pale-headed Egyptian Goose at the basin on March 3rd was only the third record of this species for the Lower Lea following on from one on March 28th 2010 and two on August 22nd 2010, Shelduck numbers remained high throughout the period with monthly maxima of 33 on January 27th, 30 on February 11th and 24 on March 30th, as usual there was a lot of territorial display from around the end of February but definate breeding has yet to be confirmed here. Common Teal numbers remained exceptionally high throughout with a site record count of 590 on January 26th and monthly maxima of 509 on February 9th and 422 on March 3rd with 364 still present at the end of March; there was a small influx of Gadwall during January with a male on the 19th, five on 26th (three males) and a male on the 27th; the only other notable dabbling duck was a Wigeon on February 12th. Tufted Duck numbers remained a little low with monthly maxima of 44 on January 4th, 29 on February 9th and 36 on March 17th; the female fitted with the red nasal saddle from Portugal was present on January 2nd, 3rd 4th and 6th, February 26th and March 17th; Great Crested Grebe remains as scarce as ever with two on January 19th and one on February 17th the only records. The only record of Sparrowhawk was of a male on January 3rd, this species can be unaccountably scarce early in the year and sightings should pick up during April; Kestrels fared a little better with one on January 26th, two on February 5th, one on February 10th and, encoragingly a displaying male on February 13th. Records of Peregrine Falcon have been somewhat confused by the presence of two hybrid falcons in the area; the only reliable records pertain to a female seen on January 6th, 8th and 26th, February 9th and March 2nd and 3rd; the first hybrid presented no identification problems as it was a huge, very pale female, somewhat reminiscent of a Gyr Falcon, this bird was seen on January 4th, February 10th and March 30th; the second bird was more problematic, resembling a small male Peregrine at distance, this bird was seen on January 17th and March 3rd, in the company of the hybrid female on the latter date when the size difference was obvious. It was a good period for waders with seven species recorded, a vocal pair of Oystercatchers were at Bow Creek on March 21st, the first Little Ringed Plover appeared on March 26th with two on the 29th and three on the 31st; periods of cold weather during January produced a Woodcock on the 17th, a Common Snipe on the 19th and two Lapwing on the 26th. Common Sandpiper numbers remained high throughout with monthly maxima of six on January 26th, five on February 16th and five on several dates in March; Redshank numbers were about average with monthly maxima of 20 on January 11th and February 3rd and 13 on March 3rd with just five remaining on March 31st. Single adult Yellow-legged Gulls were recorded on January 3rd and March 21st, these were the only notable larids of the period. Two Stock Doves were back on territory on March 30th and singles of Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker were seen on February 24th and February 9th respecively. A female Black Redstart was a welcome find on March 29th, the fortunes of this once reliable species have taken a turn for the worse in recent years, another just about annual visitor is the Mistle Thrush, a pair in the copse at the basin on March 1st and 28th suggests that breeding may be taking place locally. Overwintering Chiffchaffs made a welcome return to form after the virtual absense of last year, singles were noted on nine dates between January 2nd and March 31st with two on January 3rd and 13th, single Goldcrests were seen on January 5th and 15th and February 3rd, a good showing for this less than annual species. Two Siskins were in the copse on January 26th, and six were in the eastern clump on March 8th, a very good pair of records for this species, a pair of Linnets were recorded on February 24th and March 3nd with five on March 23rd; single Reed Buntings were noted on January 13th and 26th, February 5th and 10th and March 29th with two on January 19th. Finally, a Common Seal was in the Thames off the basin on January 4th.