Friday 14 June 2024

Reservoir Logs - May 2024 round-up

               Sanderling have become more regular pic @ 
Elliott1758817 

       A strong passage of Black Terns and tame Sanderling and Turnstones were the May highlights at the Wetlands. The month also saw Cuckoo, Hobby and Ringed Plover added to the year list while the good year for Yellow Wagtails continued.                    

                                        May saw a good passage of Black Terns pic  @EugeneDH_Bass

              May saw 87 species recorded wirh the six additions taking the annual total to 124 which compares to 127 last year, 117 in 2022 and 124 again the year before. It could have been better if the three Cattle Egrets on the 9th and Hawfinch on the 19th which were both watched heading north from Walthamstow Marsh had been seen from the reservoirs. 

                                       Turnstone arrived on almost the same date as last year pic @LolBodini

         May is also, of course, the height of the breeding season at the Wetlands with Greylag, Canada and Egyptian goslings everywhere. The first Pochard and Gadwall broods were seen and young Grey Herons from the 28 nesting pairs - the same as last year - were busy learning to fly or fish. Both Kingfisher, which successfully bred on No 5 island again, and Great Spotted Woodpecker were also busy feeding young. And the cold April does not seem to discouraged Reed Warblers from getting down to breeding with the first young bird caught in the No 1 reed bed on the 25th - a fortnight earlier than expected - which the team suspect may be among the first in the entire country.  

      But it was not such a happy story with Barnacle Geese. Last year's successful pair did produce one young on the 8th but the gosling sadly disappeared after just two days. Hopes are high that another pair are attempting to breed with up to 11 birds seen around No 5 and the neighbouring playing fields. Shelduck, too, are showing signs of breeding with four or five pairs chasing each other. For the second year running a party of Shoveler turned up on the 20th  - this time five compared to last year's four - with a pair on the 30th.

                             Hobby made regular appearances over the reservoirs pic @Elliott1758817 

      Red Kites were recorded on five days - compared to just two last year - with two on both the 10th and 20th and three on the 4th. Buzzards were also slightly commoner with sightings on the 4th, 8th, 11th and 16th. So, too, were Hobby with birds on six more days - four in total last year - after the first on the 4th. 

                                This Lapwing was one of four wader species on the 21st pic @LolBodini

       The good year for waders continued with nine species during the month. Oystercatcher were seen regularly with records on six dates including three together on the 6th. A Lapwing spent the morning on Lockwood on the 21st, two days later than the sole record last year. Little Ringed Plover,  which can be regular if they are trying to nest nearby, were only seen on the 3rd and 4th. 

                         Turnstone (above) pic @Elliott1758817 and Sanderling pic @HarringayBirder
            
                         

      The month saw three Arctic-bound wader species - all on Lockwood - added to the year list. First was a single Common Ringed Plover on the 18th. This was followed by four tame Turnstone which arrived mid-morning on the 21st - a day later and a bird less in the flock than last year - which fed on the east bank for the rest of the day. This was the same for a summer plumaged Sanderling which flew in early morning on the 23rd, a day later than the first record last year. It is the third year in succession that Sanderling has been seen after records in only four years in the previous decade. 

                                Summer-plumage Dunlin were recorded on four days pic @Elliott1758817 

        Single Dunlin were recorded on the 3rd and 22nd and two on the 4th and 19th. Common Sandpipers were seen until the end of the month but passage remained weak with five on the 1st the highest count compared to a peak of nine on the 27th last year. Following the first in April, additional Greenshank were recorded on the 9th and 21st.


                                            Neighbours squabbling pic @giles_greenwood

            The first Lesser Black-backed chicks were seen on the East Warwick island on the 25th and the first young Black-headed Gulls on the Lockwood rafts eight days earlier. It is not clear whether Common Terns are again nesting on Lockwood with most birds in the northern half of the site seeming to opt to move to nearby Banbury. But it looks as if the replica terns on the rafts on West Warwick having encouraged several pairs to attempt to breed. 

                                   Black Terns stayed faithful to Lockwood pic @Elliott1758817 
      
     After such a good passage of Arctic Terns in April, a final bird was seen on the 6th but the excitement continued with a strong showing by Black Terns. The first spent the day on Lockwood on the 4th before nine were found by EDH on the afternoon of the 10th which departed just before dusk with another single on the 12th. Last year, the only Spring record were three on the 27th. 

                                                 The Black Tern flock departing at dusk pic @HarringayBirder                                                 

       The wonderful call of the Cuckoo has thankfully become slightly more frequent after a period a decade ago when the species was a genuine rarity. The first was seen and heard on the 4th with further records on the 6th, 21st and 25th when a male spent the morning on the south side. It would be fascinating to know how far Swifts travel to feed over the Wetlands. Given that it was estimated that a thousand could be seen on overcast days this month over the reservoirs and filter beds, it must be a long way. Swallows continued moving through late into the month, as they did elsewhere this year, with 20 brought down by the rain on the 22nd, ten next day and still two on the 24th, 

                         This male Cuckoo spent the morning calling pic @MLP

       Wheatear passage continued to be light with records on just six days with an peak count of two on the 15th and the last on the 22nd - eight days earlier than last year. But it was the opposite for Yellow Wagtails which, after a strong showing in April, were recorded on the 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th with the last on the 18th. They included a smart Blue-headed form  found in the mist on the 3rd by visiting birder MR who was working up to his discovery of the UK's first ever Indian Golden Oriole a few days later in Northumberland. The last record of the Blue-headed form, also on East Warwick, was in 2018. 

                                                                                  A smart Blue-headed Wagtail in the mist pic @readbirdphotos

DB @porthkillier



 







                                   

Tuesday 7 May 2024

Reservoir Logs - April 2024 round-up

                                                           A pair of Black-necked Grebes showed wonderfully well pic @Elliott81758817                                      

      April again lived up to its reputation as the best birding month of the year, Although there was no outright rarity, Black-necked Grebes, Osprey, Tree PipitRing Ouzel and Avocets were among the highlights of a month which saw almost all the expected summer visitors make an appearance despite the persistent cold northerlies. In fact, the unfavourable weather conditions encouraged species which usually only make brief appearances at the Wetlands to make prolonged stays. These included a remarkable mixed flock of 19 waders including an unprecedented 16 Redshank.  

                                                    An Avocet unusually spent three days at the Wetlands pic @Chris_Farthing

     In all 98 species were seen across the month including 19 new for the year. The additions take the year list to 118 which is just one behind last year and six ahead of 2022. Among the missing species so far are Pheasant and Rook as well as Garganey, Mediterranean Gull and Black-tailed Godwit along with both Black and Common Redstart. 

       Barnacle Geese may again be breeding with at least one pair regularly on the large island on No 5 and up to nine more counted feeding around the reservoir. Shelduck, too, look as if they are attempting to nest with birds seen around the islands on High Maynard, No 1 and No 3. A pair of Shoveler remained until at least the 24th, a day later than last year, while a couple of pairs of Teal also stayed into May,  

      Black-necked Grebes passing through in Spring are expected but their arrival in full-breeding finery is still one of the joys of the birding year at the Wetlands. The stunning pair found by CF on Lockwood on the 26th were even tamer and long-staying than usual, giving wonderful views until the end of the month. 

                                                                      Osprey trying to head north unseen pic @LolBodini

      Osprey is just about annual at the Wetlands although dedicated sky-watching would likely turn up more. In fact, the bird brought low by one of the many heavy showers on the 19th almost slipped past unseen over No 4 before being photographed by LB from his loft as it headed north across Lockwood. Red Kites were seen regularly with two on 16th and singles on at least five other days while Common Buzzards were recorded on three days. The second Short-eared Owl of the year flew around High Maynard and then north on the 19th. 
 
                                                                A pair of Avocets resting on Lockwood pic @sjnewton
                        
       April continued the good year for waders with 10 species seen which included the biggest flock - other than Lapwing -  since 21 Knot back in 1992. Single Oystercatchers, which can nest nearby, were seen on the 7th, 10th, 13th and 22nd. Avocet is normally a 'catch it if you can' visitor to the Wetlands with stays of a few hours, if not minutes, the norm. So the two that spent the whole of the 23rd on Lockwood were unusual enough but for one to remain, despite continual disturbance from mowers, for the next two days was really surprising.   

                                    Little Ringed Plover were more regular than last year pic @HarringayBirder                                        

      After the March bird, Little Ringed Plover were seen much more frequently than last year's three sightings with records on the 6th and 19th followed by perhaps the same bird  on Lockwood for five days from the 23rd and again on the 29th. Late April is the best month for Whimbrel but they are often only seen flying north as was the case with four on the 28th. But this year three separate birds also dropped in to rest and feed on Lockwood with records on the 19th, 22nd and a tame individual all day on the 26th. It is a good month for Curlew as well with two on the 5th which landed for a time on the playing fields by No 4 with another next day, 

                                 Whimbrel (above) and Curlew both passed through  pics @Elliott81758817

                                                        

      The second Bar-tailed Godwit of the year was part of an extraordinary flock of waders which sat out the rain and wind of the 28th on the relatively sheltered west side of Lockwood. The flock also included two summer-plumaged Dunlin with others being seen on the 4th and 27th. But the bulk of the wader flock were 16 Redshank first found - with the Dunlin - together on East Warwick before relocating to Lockwood. Redshank records are usually of singles like the bird on the 23rd and 16 is far more than is seen in an entire year. The first Greenshank of the year was also found on the 28th on West Warwick before going north.  

                                   Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Dunlin on Lockwood pic @ Elliott81758817

      Our wintering Common Sandpiper hung around High Maynard until mid-month by which time the first passage birds were moving through. A second bird was seen on the 4th with numbers building towards the month's end with a maximum count of eight on the 29th. 

                                            Common Sandpipers were seen throughout the month pic @ Chris_Farthing

         If it was good for waders, it was a little disappointing for gulls. No Mediterranean Gulls or Kittiwakes were seen and the only Little Gulls, despite the good conditions, were five adults briefly on Lockwood on the 27th. But it was a much better story with terns. Sandwich Tern, unusually, was not recorded at all last year but to make up for the omission, singles were seen on both the 6th and 7th. 

                                                              Sandwich Tern over No 5  pic @Elliott81758817

          Nationally one of the features of April was a remarkable inland passage of Arctic Terns towards the end of the month in which the Wetlands shared. The first two were found on the 16th - nine days earlier than last year - with two more on the 19th and a single on the 20th. Passage then picked up with at least 15 on the 21st followed by a very conservative count of 25 on the 23rd when a staggering 200 were on Staines Reservoir. Ten more were seen on the 27th and 12 on the 28th with the odd bird until the end of the month. 

                               It was an excellent month for Arctic Tern passage  pic @Elliott81758817

      After the early Common Tern in March,  two more were seen on the 7th and another on the 12th before, from their excitable behaviour, breeding birds arrived back on both Lockwood and East Warwick on the 16th - four days earlier than last year. The end of the month also saw groups of Common Terns drop in with the passing Arctics. 

       The first Swift of the year was seen on the 16th, four days ahead of last year and nine days ahead of 2022. Both Swallow and House Martin  last year appeared before the end of March but this year Swallow was not seen until the 5th with the first House Martin two days later. Skylarks were recorded on the 8th and 26th.

                   A Skylark dropped onto Lockwood pic @HarringayBirder

      Despite the unfavourable weather, our breeding warblers arrived earlier than last year. The first Reed Warbler was on the 7th (11th last year), Sedge Warbler on the 5th (8th), Common Whitethroat on the 8th (11th) and Lesser Whitethroat on the 13th (25th). Numbers were slow to build up although there was a big influx of Reed Warblers by the end of the month which also saw four Lesser Whitethroats on territory across the site. The northerly airstream held Willow Warblers, which don't nest at.the Wetlands, longer here with records until at least the 24th and 10+ singing birds  on several days mid-month. . 

                                          The only Ring Ouzel made a very brief appearance pic @Elliott81758817

      The only Ring Ouzel of the Spring so far was the flighty male found on the south side by SD on the 6th. This was better than Common Redstart which, after five individuals were seen last April, was not recorded at all.  Whinchat fared little better with just a single bird on the 28th,- four days later than the two males which arrived last year and almost two weeks later than in 2022. Nor the did the weather  patterns seem good for Wheatear with the peak count just four - far below the highest total of 10+ last April - with several periods of days were none were seen. 

                                                     April's sole Whinchat appeared in the rain pic @porthkillier

      In contrast, it was a good month for Yellow Wagtails with close to 40 birds over on nine days. The first was seen on the 7th - two days earlier than last year and two weeks ahead of 2022 - with ones or two seen regularly until the end of the month although most were just flying over. This changed in the murky conditions of the 27th when around 25 were seen including flocks of nine and 12 on the ground.

                Yellow Wagtails brightened the month pics (above) @Elliott81758817 and @IvorHewstone

                                
      Meadow Pipits passed over in small numbers throughout the month with eight on the 7th. DDL had a Tree Pipit - a genuinely scarce visitor - over Lockwood on the 23rd. There were no April Bramblings this year but a late Siskin went west on the 7th. 

DB @porthkillier

Sunday 7 April 2024

Reservoir Logs - March 24 round-up


                                                         Woodcock are an expected March maigrant pic @Elliott1758817

      A flock of Crossbills and a Nuthatch - both genuine rarities at the Wetlands  - were the stand-out birds in March. The month also saw the first Brent Geese since 2021, an unprecedented three sightings of Mandarin as well as Woodcock and Short-eared Owl. Our earliest summer visitors also arrived with Sand Martin, Wheatear, Little Ringed Plover, Willow Warbler and Common Tern all recordedLast March, however, was a particularly good month with 19 species added to the year list including Alpine Swift. So with just 11 additions this month, the year list at 99 is now two behind 2023's total.   

                                           The first Brent Goose for over two years was wary pic@Chris_Farthing

       The first Brent Goose since November 2021 was found by CF on Lockwood on the 11th. Typically after such a long gap, a group of three - perhaps the same birds with a bad sense of direction - were twice seen going south next day. The Lea Valley flock of Barnacle Geese continued to visit the Wetlands to roost, particularly early in the month, and by the end up to three pairs appeared to be in residence including last year's successful breeders. . 

                                               Drake Mandarins were seen three times this month pic @MLP

      Mandarin is usually just about annual at the Wetlands so to have three separate sightings in one month is exceptional. The first, a male, was found by CF on the 4th which was followed by records on the 16th and 29th. As usual, their appearances were brief despite the seemingly excellent habitat. Shoveler numbers gradually fell during the month although there were still seven on the 19th. A female Wigeon was seen on the 16th & 17th with a pair on the 21st.

                                      Wigeon, unlike last winter, have been regular visitors pic @IvorHewstone

      Four Goldeneye were still on the reservoirs on the 11th with the final record on the 24th, six days earlier than last year,. There was a little flurry of Goosander records mid-month with two on the 8th & 17th before the last on the 18th, exactly the same date as in 2023. The escaped Maccoa Duck continued on West Warwick all month.  

                                              Short-eared Owl passing high over Lockwood pic @HarringayBirder

        As usual, March was a good month for passing large raptors. Single Red Kites were seen on the 9th and 28th with two on the 24th. There were also three Buzzards on both the 16th and 30th with two on the 18th. The first Short-eared Owl of the year was photographed high over Lockwood by HB on the 14th. 

                                                 Little Ringed Plover turned up as seen  pic @HarringayBirder

      Six species of wader were seen with the first Little Ringed Plover found on Lockwood on the 24th, four days later than last year, while a Dunlin was seen on the 11th. March is perhaps the most regular month for Woodcock sightings with SD having the first - and perhaps only - record of the year flying over Lockwood to Tottenham Marshes on the 16th. 

                                                   Three Redshank were seen this month pic @Chris_Farthing

     Common Snipe were regularly seen in the East Warwick island until mid-month with a peak count of five on the 11th and the last sighting on the 20th The tree-loving Common Sandpiper stayed on High Maynard into April. Single Redshank were seen on the 11th, 17th and 29th. 

     Caspian Gulls continued to be recorded with 1Ws on the 18th and 24th on the north side. The first Common Tern of the year - and probably the first in London - spent the morning feeding on Lockwood on the 29th. Passing birds are not usually seen until early April with our breeding birds arriving - hopefully - later in the month. 

                                    An early Common Tern spent the morning on Lockwood  pic  @sjnewton

         March sees the changing of seasons with passerines as well as ducks.  It hasn't been a bumper year for winter thrushes but the last Fieldfare hung on to at least the 25th with a late Redwing still here on the 22nd. The final sighting of Stonechat after the February passage was on the 13th while Skylarks flew over on the 4th and 24th. 

       As they moved out the summer visitors began to arrive. Sand Martins and Wheatears, the traditional early arrivals, were slightly later than usual. The first Sand Martins were not seen until the 17th - six days later than last year - but numbers quickly built up with 50 feeding over West Warwick on the 19th.  DDL found the first Wheatear - one of the milestones of the birding year on the 16th, two days later than last year. But this was followed by more regular sightings than is often the case including two on the 19th and three on the 22nd.                                                                                       

      In contrast. Willow Warblers appeared in London and at the Wetlands ahead of schedule this year. BW heard the first on the 19th, nine days earlier than last year and, while numbers remained low, five were heard singing from Lockwood on the 30th. Among the Chiffchaffs caught during a ringing session on the 3rd was a bird rung in France.

    But the unexpected visitor of the month and year so far was the Nuthatch seen by SH on the 19th. While they nest not too far away, they are absent from almost all the regulars Wetlands' list with no confirmed record for years. Unfortunately, after a brief showing with a mixed flock, it disappeared towards the No 2 island and has not been seen again.

                              The first Crossbills for years were seen over East Warwick pic @Elliott1758817

        Almost as unusual were the five Crossbill seen - and amazingly photographed - by SD over East Warwick on the 24th. The last record even on the wider patch was four years ago over Walthamstow Marsh. They again fail to appear on most patch lists. 

      In contrast, Siskin were once regular winter visitors to the alders on the Wetlands but in recent years records have largely been restricted to migrant flyovers. So the very approachable flock found by AR on the 3rd were a particular delight. At least 34 were counted on the 11th with one still present on the 30th.                                          A Siskin flock graced the Wetlands for much of the month pic @rom_london

DB @porthkillier







Saturday 23 March 2024

Reservoir Logs - February 2024 round-up

                                      A winter Bar-tailed Godwit is a genuine rarity in London pic @Chris_Farthing

       A resting Bar-tailed Godwit and a Firecrest were the surprise additions to the Walthamstow year list in an otherwise pretty predictable February. The month saw the first Yellow-legged Gull, Blackcap and Common Buzzard of the year along with the early signs of passage as Lapwings and Stonechats moved through. The four additions took the year list so far to 88 which is seven more than last year and also well ahead of 2021 (78) and 2020 (83).   

      The Barnacle Goose flock occasionally used the reservoirs to roost before flying north to feed but often left one bird behind. January's Scaup was seen on the 1st before sadly disappearing after a two-day stay. Five Goldeneye including two pairs were counted on the 15th but most days the numbers were lower. 

      Goosander which have again have been scarce this winter became slightly more regular with singles on the 11th and 23rd and two on the 24th. An escaped female Maccoa Duck discovered by CF on the 25th clearly found West Warwick so similar to its native southern Africa home that it remained into March. 

                       An escaped Maccoa Duck took up residence on West Warwick pic @ Elliott1758817

         The unseasonably warm conditions on the 16th saw 20 Lapwing pass through on a day which also saw raptors moving overhead and an increase in both Stonechat and Chaffinch numbers. There were also single Lapwings on the 1st and 19th. 

      Bar-tailed Godwit is, by far, the rarest of the two godwits at the reservoirs with most records of birds flying overhead in Spring. So the bird found resting on Lockwood on the 7th by CF was a remarkable record given that it is a genuine scarcity even on the shoreline at Rainham in the winter. 

                          High Maynard's tree-loving Common Sandpiper pic @Elliott1758817

       It takes to nine the shorebird species already seen at the reservoirs so far which compares to just four at the end of February last year.  They include the wintering Common Sandpiper which remained - largely on its favourite perch on High Maynard - all month. 

                                      One of two Yellow-legged Gulls recorded this month pic @Callahanbirder

      Closer attention to gulls is confirming that Yellow-legged and Caspian are more regular than had been thought. Following last month's Caspian Gull, 1W birds were also recorded on the 24th & 28th. Yellow-legged Gull was also added to the list with an adult on the 2nd and 1Ws on the 3rd and 27th. 

                                  The Wetlands is becoming a good site for Caspian Gulls pic @Elliott1758817                                    
 
       The first Buzzard of the year was seen in the Spring-like conditions of the 16th. The same day also saw a Red Kite over with a second on the 19th. Single Skylarks were recorded on the 6th, 18th and 25th.  Small numbers of Redwing and Fieldfare continued while it looked for a time that Mistle Thrush might return as a breeding bird after an absence of several years with regular sightings of birds around No 5. 

         The first Blackcap of the year was a bird in sub-song on the 21st, three days earlier than last year. While Goldcrest are annual breeders, Firecrest remains a very scarce visitor with rarely more than one record a year which may be the displaying bird seen by RB on the 28th on the 1/2/3 path. 

                                        Stonechat passage was slightly earlier this year pic @Elliott1758817                                              

             Stonechats are among the earliest migrants through the Wetlands with spikes in numbers in both late Winter and Autumn. The six seen on the 16th and 18th - with good numbers recorded across London - was the same as the highest count last February but a week earlier.  

DB @porthkillier     

   


Wednesday 7 February 2024

Reservoir Logs - January 2024 round-up

                                     A Long-tailed Duck dropped onto No 4 for the afternoon pic @IvorHewstone

         The first Long-tailed Duck for five years helped get the New Year off to a flying start. January also saw the first Red-crested Pochard since 2022 as well as a visit from a drake Scaup and a surprising variety of waders - including at least two Jack Snipe - for so early in the year.

                       At least two Jack Snipe were seen during the freezing spell pic @ Elliott1758817

         The traditional scramble to maximise the list on New Year's Day saw 64 species recorded, one less than in 2023. But after this lacklustre start, additional species kept coming right to the end of the month to take January total to a very creditable 83 which is nine more than in 2022 and ten more than in 2021.   

         Our Barnacle Geese flock arrived back from Cheshunt on the 16th when 16 were counted roosting on No  5. They continued to be seen regularly for the rest of the month. Shelduck numbers built slowly with a maximum count of six. The freezing spell mid-month saw a very high winter count of 115 Shoveler on the 18th. 

                              The cold snap encouraged Wigeon to visit this January pic  @MLP

       For some inexplicable reason, Wigeon - usually a regular winter visitor - gave the Wetlands a miss last January with the first record not until June. There was no such problem this month with two on the 5th, three on the 8th, seven on the 9th, five next day and a single on the 30th. It is also a mystery why Red-crested Pochard - regular, for example, on the small boating lake in nearby Finsbury Park - is such a rare visitor to the Wetlands. The one-day drake CF found on High Maynard on the 29th was the first since 2021.

                            Drake Red-crested Pochard (above) and Greater Scaup pics @Chris_Farthing 

               The arrival of a drake Scaup on No 4 on the 31st again raised hopes the regular wintering bird had returned only for it to disappear again after a two-day stay. Duck, indeed bird, of the month ,however, was the first Long-tailed Duck since the very unseasonal pair in June 2018. Found by SH on No 4 on the afternoon of the 5th it showed exceptionally well to all those not hampered by work or school but had disappeared by next morning.                                  
                            
                      The Long-tailed Duck provided wonderful views pic @ HarringayBirder
                
        
         Goldeneye numbers remain low. Getting an accurate count was challenging as they moved not only between reservoirs but also - given the changing number of males and females -  between different sites in the Lee Valley but numbers never passed five in a day. Goosander are now becoming irregular and often brief visitors from the larger reservoirs to the north. The first was seen flying over on the 6th with records on six other days and a maximum count of two on the 12th and 19th. 

                                    A displaying drake Goosander on Lockwood pic @MLP

         The first Red Kite of the year passed over low on the 6th but otherwise birds of prey were scarce. Peregrines seemed to prefer the pylons on Walthamstow Marsh although they can be found unusually perching on the trees on the sheltered east side of No 1 island when the wind is blowing strongly from the west. 

              A Red Kite passing low over the Wetlands pic @HarringayBirder   

         It was an exceptional month for waders with eight species recorded in January, compared to just two last year. They included the long-staying Oystercatcher, which was still in residence on the 7th but disappeared as soon as the frost made feeding on the grass verges difficult. The cold snap led to the usual movement of Lapwing with 16 on the 9th, two next day, 73 on the 11th including a flock of 47, nine on 18th and two on the 20th. It may also explain why three different Dunlin - another bird not recorded at all last winter - were seen on the 11th, 16th and 20th. 

                  

                                    Three different Dunlin were seen this month pic @Elliott1758817

                Until very recently, Jack Snipe was considered a rare bird at the Wetlands but records have become more regular in the last couple of years. This trend has continued with at least two - and probably several more - seen in January. The freezing conditions displaced birds to the reservoirs on the 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th with records from the wild flower meadow, No 4, High Maynard, Lockwood and, most regularly, East Warwick. In contrast, Common Snipe seem if anything scarcer. Although they were seen regularly after the first record on the 7th, there was not the big build-up in numbers often seen in icy conditions in the past. 

                              Jack Snipe hiding on Lockwood and Green Sandpiper pics @Callahanbirder

  


         The wintering Common Sandpiper was seen throughout the month with two recorded on the 16th. There was also a better than usual showing from Green Sandpipers with two on the 8th and singles on the 17th, 20th and 21st. A Redshank which landed briefly on Lockwood made it a five wader day on the 17th. 

        A Caspian Gull found on High Maynard by SD on the 20th, prompted the traditional blizzard of social media messages. It fortunately hung around -  usually on High Maynard - until the 25th to allow the non-larophiles to try to see its ID features for themselves. It seems possible from photographs that there may even have been a second bird on the 23rd.   

                               The Caspian Gull which launched a thousand messages pic @Elliott1758817

          While the cold snap encouraged a wide range of ducks and waders to visit, it was disappointing for smaller birds. Only a Skylark on the 9th and a Siskin next day were at all out-of-the-ordinary. Far from there being a cold weather movement of winter thrushes there were fewer Fieldfare than last year with just the odd bird seen although a flock of up to 20 Redwing could be seen feeding on the berries by the Engine House throughout the month. At least two Stonechats continued to winter around the reed-beds on the Warwicks where the occasional Meadow Pipit also appeared.   

DB @porthkillier 


                                                                



Reservoir Logs - May 2024 round-up

               Sanderling have become more regular pic @  Elliott1758817          A strong passage of Black Terns  and tame Sanderling and T...