Sunday, 19 February 2017

Reservoir Logs...January round-up

With the reservoirs soon to become a fully fledged nature reserve, it seems right to try to get a better picture of what's actually seen. So here's the first of what I hope will be a monthly bird round up for the reservoirs pulling together the records from the London wiki site and the log book in the permits' hut as well as our own sightings. Hopefully, I might get February's done slightly quicker....

An excellent start to the year on the reservoirs with the first Glaucous Gull for a couple of decades, the first January Swallow for at least a couple of centuries, along with Jack Snipe, Black-necked Grebe, Scaup and Black Redstart. A total of 80 species were recorded in the month with a pretty impressive 68 seen on January 2 when the reservoirs opened for the first time for 2017,
     The drake Scaup was around for most of January on No 4 although it also visited High Maynard and Lockwood and disappeared for a few days when No 4 largely froze over. The highest count of Goldeneye was 13 on the 9th with a peak of six Goosander on the 2nd with No 4 apparently their favoured reservoir this year. Forty four Little Egrets were seen coming into roost on the 2nd with 38 on the East Warwick island the next day. Two Black-necked Grebes were found on Lockwood on the 4th but soon disappeared. As well as the the regular Sparrowhawks and Peregrines and the rather less regular Kestrel, Buzzards were seen on the 10th & 19th and a Red Kite on the 24th.
      Waders have not yet found the excellent habitat on the partially drained No 4 & 5 with just a single Lapwing on the 14th and four on the 19th & 20. But the new reed bed at the north end of No 1 attracted a Jack Snipe on the 13th and hosted regular Water Rail and Snipe in the latter half of the month. The freeze saw a total of 13 Snipe counted around the reservoirs on the 27th with at least eight flying off the bank of East Warwick into the hidden scrape on the island.  The peak count for Green Sandpipers was five on the 10th but numbers were generally low as the overflow channel was largely full while there seem to be up to two Common Sandpipers wintering on No 4 &5.
                                   Common Sandpiper enjoying the new beach on No 5

      The highlight of the month was the 1W Glaucous Gull found on the filter beds on the 28th by Lol Bodini as he was watching the Swallow and Black Redstart. It seems certain to be the same bird seen at Leyton tip and is thought to be the first since 1994. It stayed until the 30th when it was also seen on one of the islands on No 5. Other gulls of interest were adult Mediterranean Gulls flying over on the 17th and on the ice on West Warwick on the 22nd with several records of Yellow-legged Gulls.
     The Swallow - the first in London since 1809 - found by Dan Barrett on the 25th was last seen on the 29th. Five Chiffchaffs were seen together in the horse field on the 2nd while Cetti's Warblers were nowhere near as obvious as in past years with only a couple of records for the month. Flocks of up to 30 or so Fieldfare and Redwing were resident throughout much of the January but the berries don't seem to have attracted any Waxwings. A confiding Black Redstart on No 5 from the 13th to the 15th was almost certainly the same bird found on the filter beds on the 25th which stayed until the end of the month. It has been a poor year for Stonechats on the reservoirs with a maximum of three on the 8th.  A flock of a dozen Meadow Pipits were faithful to the the grass banks of Lockwood with a few also on No 5 in the first half of the month. With a big rocky beach all around No 4 & 5 along with little islands appearing, the next couple of months when migration gets going could be very interesting....

DB @porthkillier


  1. You are in for one thankless task, good luck

  2. I am retiring in a couple of months so have got to find something to do, Nick. And looking at this month so far, it is not going to be too time-consuming.