Saturday, 19 November 2022

Reservoir Logs - October 2022


            After a blank Spring, Short-eared Owl finally made it to the Wetlands pic @LolBodini 

      A much better month - in terms of quality if not quantity - with six new species for the annual list including a flying visit by the first Yellowhammer for years. While passage was light overall, with summer migrants disappearing early and the weather too warm to encourage the arrival of winter birds, October saw most of the obvious gaps in the year list filled. Black-necked Grebe, Rock Pipit, Caspian Gull, Short-eared Owl and Ring Ousel all were finally recorded.   

                     This male Ring Ousel was as elusive as it was stunning pic @rudraksh9 

      Six additions were five more than last October and push the total to 135. This is still seven behind 2021, nine behind 2020 but four ahead of 2019. Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Scoter, Great Egret and Brambling are perhaps the most obvious hopes to be added in the last two months of the year while Osprey and Sandwich Tern will have to wait until next Spring. 

      The stay of the two Barnacle Geese, along with the hybridcontinued until the 2nd before they departed. Shoveler numbers built to a healthy 145 on the 24th, the highest total for a couple of years. Two Wigeon were seen on the 20th with a single on the 22nd & 23rd. A Goldeneye spent the day on No 4 reservoir on the 24th while the first two Goosander of the autumn appeared on Lockwood on the 26th & 27th with a single still the next day.  

           The only Black-necked Grebe this year so far stayed for four days pic @EugeneDH_Bass

      The first Black-necked Grebe of the year - one of the glaring omissions from the annual list - was found by EDH on the 6th on No 4 and remained until the 9th. An adult Yellow-legged Gull unusually lingered around Lockwood from the 11th to 19th and perhaps the same made a brief visit on the 30th. The adult was joined by two immatures on the 15th. The same day also saw the first Caspian Gull of the year, fitting reward for RE for searching diligently through the gulls all year. Common Gulls began returning in small numbers with double figures counted for the first time since the Spring on the 28th.  

         This adult Yellow-legged Gull spent over a week around Lockwood pic @Chris_Farthing  

      As expected, October was poor for waders with just four species. Single Lapwing were seen on the 19th, 24th and 28th with two on the 20th. The moored raft next to the East Warwick island has ended hopes of seeing any Snipe feeding on the pool but one was seen dropping down on the 3rd. Common Sandpiper passage continued into October with singles on the 3rd, 5th and 7th and the last two on the 10th. There is usually a gap before any wintering birds arrive back in November. Green Sandpipers, which also winter up and down the flood relief channel to KGV, were in view on the 3rd and 11th. 

       Two Buzzards were seen on the 6th with single Red Kites on the 10th and 29th. A late Hobby flashed over on the 2nd. Another gap in the year list was filled when LB photographed a Short-eared Owl over the northern side on the 22nd.  

      Summer migrants seemed, for some reason, to be in a hurry to head south this year with no Wheatears or Swallows recorded this month. The last three House Martins were seen on the 5th and the last Reed Warbler on the 2nd. While Blackcaps are becoming much more regular winter presence in London gardens, they remain very much a summer visitor at the Wetlands so the one seen on the 26th might be the last until March. 

        With the exception of flocks of Wood Pigeons heading west, visible migration was also poor. Four Skylarks were seen on the 6th and a single on the 19th. The only day which saw good numbers of Redwing pass over was on the 19th when more than 450 were counted. Fieldfare passage was non-existent with the only six seen on the 31st. With the Autumn passing, it looked as if this was to be the first year since 2018 without any Ring Ousels seen until RC found a male and female on the side of Lockwood on the 29th. They spent the afternoon in the neighbouring allotments very occasionally showing for those with patience.   

             October is the best month for Rock Pipits with four being found pic @Chris_Farthing  

     October lived up to its reputation as the most reliable month for Rock Pipit. CF found the first of two on Lockwood on the 11th with two more singles on the 16th and 21st. Yellowhammer is a rare bird at the Wetlands although they do turn up slightly more regularly on Walthamstow Marsh. RE found one there on the 14th and CF fortunately arrived just in time to see it fly over West Warwick airspace and onto the reservoirs' year list. A Redpoll fed with the Goldfinches on the 16th, 17th and 25th while single Siskin made typically brief visits on the 16th and 31st. 

DB @porthkillier


Sunday, 30 October 2022

Reservoir Logs - September 2022

September saw a peak count of three Spotted Flycatchers pic @EugeneDH_Bass

      The first Honey Buzzard since 2012 was the stand-out record of what was frankly a pretty lacklustre month. September did provide the second Barn Owl of the year as well as continued strong passage by both Common Sandpipers and Willow Warblers but for a month considered one of the best for birding it was disappointing. The Honey Buzzard was the only new bird for the year list which stands at 129, 12 behind 2021 and still ten behind the previous year. 

                   Shoveler numbers built up during the month pic @giles_greenwood

      Two Barnacle Geese, along with the hybrid Greylag, returned to the Wetlands on the 6th after their summer break and were seen intermittently throughout the month. Shoveler numbers built to a peak of 75 on the 26th. The first Wigeon of the autumn arrived on the 2nd, over a week later than last year. Single birds or pairs were seen on several dates with three seen on the 30th. Much earlier were two Goldeneye on Lockwood by MM on the 28th which is a month before their usual return date. They departed as soon as they were seen and were probably day-tripping from KGV which traditionally has the earliest returning Goldeneye in London.

                           Sparrowhawks playing over Lockwood pic @sjnewton 

      It was a better month for birds of prey. Hobbies were seen regularly right until the end of the month with records from at least six days compared to just one last year. Single Buzzards were seen on the 14th and 15th with two on the 5th and Red Kites on the 2nd and 3rd. There was only one record of each last year. But the star bird of the month was a Honey Buzzard that SH found going north over Lockwood on the 16th. It is the first definite record of the species since May 2012 although it seems likely that birds seen just further south passed over the reservoirs. Sparrowhawks had a successful breeding season around the Wetlands with three young seen playing together at the north end early in the month.

       Common Terns hung around much longer than usual. The final bird was last seen on the 14th with five still present on the 8th. In contrast, all the Common Terns had left last year well before the end of August while the late brood in 2020 departed on the 9th.  Even more satisfying for all those involved in building the rafts and colour-ringing the young was news that one of this summer's birds from West Warwick had already been photographed near Cadiz in southern Spain as it made its way south.

                Dunlin were scarce this month with just one tame bird pic @Chris_Farthing

       Eight species of waders were seen in September, just one below last year’s total but with none of the excitement of 2021’s Little Stints. A single Lapwing was seen on the 25th with three on the 30th while the only Oystercatcher was on the 2nd. The 2nd also saw the excellent passage of Ringed Plover continue with three more recorded with another on the 26th while only one Dunlin was seen on the 6th. 

       August’s strong passage of Common Sandpipers also continued with 18 seen on the 5th, eleven on the 12th and still two on the 29th. Last year, none were seen – until the wintering bird turned up in November – after the 13th with a peak count of only four. Single Green Sandpipers were seen on the 4th and 29th with the sole Redshank on the last day of the month. Snipe were seen feeding out on the reservoir banks on at least two days in September.

         It is an unusual year when Redshank are scarcer than Greenshank pic @Chris_Farthing

      The second Barn Owl of the year was seen - just like the first - at the north end of Lockwood on the 20th, having presumably wandered down from further up the valley where they breed. It continued to be a worrying autumn for Swifts with very low numbers at the Wetlands. The last bird was seen on the 9th, two days later than in 2021.  But the only other record was three on the 4th when 35 were counted last year and 40 in 2019. Unlike last year when no Swallows were recorded in September, small numbers were seen with a peak of 12 on the 16th and the last on the 26th. A few Sand Martins were also seen while 30 House Martins were recorded on the 30th.

       Hard to recall a stronger autumn passage of Willow Warblers pic @giles_greenwood

       August’s exceptional strong passage of Willow Warbler continued into early September with seven on the 4th, four still on the 15th and the last on the 25th, six days later than in 2021. An indication of how many Chiffchaffs pass through in September are the 39 caught around the No 1 reed bed on the 24th. The final Sedge Warbler was seen on the same day (18th last year), Reed Warbler on the 21st – the same date as 2021 - Lesser Whitethroat on the 24th (21st) and Common Whitethroat on the 20th (13th).

                             Stonechats arrived in force mid-month pic @rudraksh9

        A Redwing was seen on the early date of the 26th, a week before last year’s first but just a day earlier than in 2020.  Spotted Flycatchers were recorded on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th with three on the 6th and the last on the 24th. The only Pied Flycatcher – always the rarer of the two at the Wetlands – was on the 5th. A Whinchat was on East Warwick from the 2nd to the 6th with others on the 11th, 14th, 18th with the last on the 26th. The first Stonechat of the autumn arrived on the 15th – five days earlier than last year but a day later than in 2020 – with perhaps as many as eight on the 26th.

     Wheatear passage seems to have ended unusually early pic @Elliott81758817

      Wheatears were seen most days in September with a peak count of six on the 14th –just below the highest total of seven last year. But with no records in October so far, it may be that the bird on the 28th will be the last bird of the year. Single Yellow Wagtails were recorded on at least four days mid-month with two seen on the 28th. Meadow Pipits arrived on the 11th – a day earlier than last year - with 16 feeding around Lockwood. 

 Meadow Pipits started passing through in small groups mid-month pic @AMP

 DB @porthkillier

Friday, 9 September 2022

Reservoir Logs - August 2022

                          Two Greenshank spent a fortnight on Lockwood pic @OwlTurbot

      August proved a good birding month with the record hot, dry weather and low level of the reservoirs encouraging a nice array of passage migrants and waders. They included only the third Wood Warbler in the last decade, singing Firecrest as well as the first Common Redstart, Spotted and Pied Flycatchers of the year. 

      The second Black Tern of the year stayed for a day on East Warwick pic @Chris_Farthing

      The month also saw 2022's second Black Tern and an exceptional passage for the reservoirs of Ringed Plover as well as long-staying Greenshank - both attracted by the wide edges around Lockwood. Common Sandpiper and Willow Warbler were two other species seen in higher numbers than usual. But even with the five additions to the year list, the 128 total remains ten behind last year and two behind 2020.   

           Five Ringed Plover is a very high number for the Wetlands pic @Callahanbirder

     The flock of Barnacle Geese which arrived in July stayed well into August with 19 counted on the 9th. But perhaps after completing their moult or in search of food as the drought turned the Wetlands yellow, their numbers dwindled with the last bird seen on the 17th. The number of Shoveler using the Wetlands to moult continues to fall with a maximum count of 12, well below the 50 - itself a low total - seen last August. Ten Teal arrived on the 31st after just ones or twos the rest of the month. 

     Walthamstow's post-breeding flock of Tufted Duck peaked at 2,162 on the 4th which is down on last year's 2,564 but broadly in line with recent years. What has certainly increased is breeding on the site with 55 Tufted Duck broods counted this summer. The total is well above the estimated 40 from last year and a big increase on the 18 found the year before, the last time a determined effort was made to monitor breeding.    

     Despite good soaring conditions, bird of prey sightings were again disappointing particularly with the non-appearance of Osprey. It is now two years since one was seen at the Wetlands following five consecutive years of records. The only Buzzard was on the 9th, the same day as one of just two Red Kites. Peregrines began to be seen more regularly on the pylons but the lack of noisy young suggests breeding may not have been successful. Hunting Hobbies were seen on at least nine days with a strong bias towards the end of the month.  

                  Lapwing were one of ten wader species seen this month pic @Chris_Farthing

     Ten species of waders were seen - two down on last year - but those that did drop in were often encouraged to stay longer than usual by the low water level on Lockwood. The sole Oystercatcher, which continue to be scarce this year, was on the 21st with single Lapwing on the 6th, 18th and 24th. A Ringed Plover on Lockwood on the 19th was the start of an exceptional passage with five on the 24th which stayed until the following morning. There was another on the 27th and five more on the 29th. In contrast, there were no records of Little Ringed Plover, usually the commoner of the pair at the Wetlands. 

                       Ringed Plover took a liking to the beach around Lockwood  pic  @OwlTurbot

     July's good run of Black-tailed Godwits continued with three on the 1st, two on the 11th and a single on the 27th.  Four Dunlin flew through on the 8th with another feeding on Lockwood where there was one more on the 22nd. The first Common Snipe of the autumn was out in the open on East Warwick on the 15th, four days earlier than last year.                                           

                           It has been a very good year for Black-tailed Godwits   pic @AMP

      Common Sandpipers were seen in excellent numbers throughout the month with high single figures most days increasing to 15 on the 16th when the drought broke and 20 on the 25th after a heavy downpour overnight. That is double last August's low peak count. Green Sandpipers were also seen more regularly with sightings on at least seven days with three on the 22nd. 

                                Common Sandpipers had a very strong passage   pic @OwlTurbot

     Two Redshank were seen on the 6th with another on the 16th. The second Greenshank of the year was found on the 14th and was joined by another next day. They clearly enjoyed the stony beach around Lockwood as they remained, with the odd short excursion to Banbury reservoir, until the 27th.  

The Greenshank on Lockwood allowed an unusually close approach pic @OwlTurbot
     The third Yellow-legged Gull of the year was found on the 21st. Unlike last year, when the last Common Tern departed on the 17th, birds remained throughout the month with one family of two young still being fed on Lockwood on the 31st. CF got his reward for birding in the torrential rain on the 25th by finding a juvenile Black Tern on East Warwick. In contrast to the very brief visit of the Spring adult, this stayed around all day to be enjoyed by the more fair-weathered birders among us. 

          Common Terns were busy feeding young throughout the month pic @ rudraskh9

    The Wetlands is usually a major feeding station for passage Swifts in late August and into September but not this year. While 150 were counted last year on the 31st, none were seen on the same date this month with very low counts in the preceding few days. This decrease could be explained by benign weather conditions allowing birds to move south without stopping or, more disturbingly, an indication of poor breeding success.  

 Kingfishers put on an enchanting display this month pic @AR

     There has, however, rarely been a better time to see Kingfishers at the Wetlands than this month. There seemed to be family parties on both north and south sides with the pair nesting on the No 5 island fledging three young which could be seen regularly on the Coppermill.  August also saw a better showing by Garden Warblers with a third bird caught during the ringing session on the 6th with singles seen on several dates from mid-month and two on the 22nd. Lesser Whitethroats also continued to be seen in reasonable numbers. 

         Willow Warblers appeared in unusually high numbers this August pic @ rudraksh9
     Unlike this Spring when passage was limited both in numbers and time and last August, Willow Warblers were seen and heard throughout the month. They were a frequent member of mixed feeding flocks with double figure counts on several days including 15+ on the 27th when five were rung. It was while sifting through the feeding flocks on the 24th that DC found a Wood Warbler, the star bird of the monthIt is only the third record in the last decade following a singing Spring bird in 2016 and another autumn passage bird in 2020.  DC pulled off an impressive double on the same day when he heard a singing Firecrest, again the first of the year. 

    Pied (above) pic @ rudraksh9 and Spotted Flycatchers @IvorHewstone were new for the year  

     The predominantly light easterly winds saw high numbers of Pied Flycatchers across London. For a long time it looked as if the Wetlands would miss out on the party until T&PR found the first on the 1/2/3 path on the 16th. Perhaps the same bird was re-found next day with another on the north side on the 21st. The first Spotted Flycatcher of the year was found by DC on the 17th - three days earlier than last year - with two seen next day and another on the 26th. 

          Torrential rain saw a high daily count of six Wheatear this month pic @AMP

     LB added Common Redstart, another species seen widely in London this month, to the annual list with a bird at the top of the Lockwood on the 5th while there is an Ebird record of two together at the bottom of No 3 on the 14th. AR found a Black Redstart on the 27th in the Coppermill bridge area   

     Walthamstow Marsh was the place to catch up with Whinchats but the Wetlands did have singles on the 5th and 10th and two on the 26th. Wheatear were seen on at least ten days with two on the 13th, 26th and 31st, three on the 5th and six after the torrential rain on the 25th - double the peak August count last year. Yellow Wagtails were scarce with singles on the 23rd, 24th and 26th and three on the 31st but it has clearly been an excellent breeding year for Grey Wagtails at the Wetlands with family parties on both sides of the site. 

     The next three months could help reduce the gap with previous years with some glaring omissions in the year list. Rock Pipit - very much a late autumn migrant at the Wetlands - has been seen annually since 2010 while Black-necked Grebe and Short-eared Owl are among those which have been missed just once over this period.  

DB @porthkillier

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

Reservoir Logs - Summer 2022


         July was marked by an exceptional passage of Black-tailed Godwits pic @Chris_Farthing

   A flying visit by the reservoirs' third ever Glossy Ibis, an even briefer appearance by two Turnstone and the first, if ultimately unsuccessful, breeding of Barnacle Geese were the highlights of June and July. The summer also saw the most glaring gaps in the year list closed with Redshank and Garden Warbler both seen along with the now expected appearance of Yellow-legged Gull and annual visit by the strangely elusive Coal Tit.   

   Summer saw the Wetlands alive with breeding birds including regionally important numbers of Pochard as well as a juvenile Cuckoo on site for the second year running The six additions to the year list bring the total to 123, nine behind last year but the same total as in 2020.  

        Two pairs of Barnacle Geese bred but sadly no young survived pic @IvorHewstone

   After a near miss last year, two pairs of Barnacle Geese hatched young for the first time. Five cute goslings delighted visitors as they fed happily with their parents along the public No 4/5 path. Sadly there was no happy ending with all the young and, indeed, an adult disappearing one-by-one over time with gulls and foxes the culprits. It looks, however, that Barnacle Geese may become a summer feature of the reservoirs as No 5 played host to a moulting flock of 20 in July and into August.  

    The Wetlands played host to 20 Barnacle Geese who stayed into August pic @Chris_Farthing

      It was equally dismal breeding story for Shelduck. Two pairs had ducklings but, just like last year, none survived long. This failure again prompted an early departure of the adult birds with the last two seen on June 26th. It was better news for Pochard with 15 pairs raising 20 young between them. Most females were lucky to keep one duckling safe from the marauding gulls so a special shout-out to the two mothers on High Maynard who co-parented a presumed combined brood of ten from the earliest stage and raised them all to maturity. 

  New families of Tufted Ducks are still appearing but, but by the beginning of August, a record 46 broods have been counted. This compares to an estimated 30 last year which itself was a big rise on the 18 in 2020. While there were plenty of broods, the attrition rate among the young is high. Gadwall seem to do better with at least two pairs raising young successfully. 

       Record numbers of Tufted Ducks have bred at the Wetlands this year pic @giles_greenwood

   Even as female Tufted Ducks were bringing their tiny ducklings onto the water for the first time, the largely male moulting flocks were gathering as usual. A count of 1908 Tufted Ducks was made in mid-July across the site which again will be among the biggest flocks in London. Among the moulting duck were 177 Pochard. Single Shoveler were recorded on several days in June, with higher counts in July, while the first returning Teal was seen on June 16th.

   June got off to a great start when on the 1st CF saw a distant Glossy Ibis disappearing south over Lockwood. It was re-found circling low twice over East Warwick before continuing on its way after its 15 minute flying visit. It is the third record for the reservoirs following singles in October  2015 and September 2017. Among the Little Egrets feeding at the Wetlands in July was a bird which had been colour-ringed in the nest 20 km north in 2013 and had not been reported anywhere in the intervening nine years.   

     Single Red Kites were seen on June 9th, July 5th and July 15th with the sole Buzzard record on June 10th. Hobby were slightly more regular with four records in June and two in July. Peregrines, usually a near-resident at the Wetlands, were much scarcer this year with only occasional visits from the pairs nesting in Tottenham and Walthamstow town. A Water Rail calling in the No 1 reed bed on June 18th was a good sign of breeding. 

    Ten species of wader were seen over June and July, one fewer than last year with Oystercatcher the surprising omission. There seemed to be only a week gap between what were presumably the last summer-plumaged Dunlin heading north in early June and the re-appearance of Green Sandpipers. - perhaps failed breeders - in June with the first on the 13th and records from four other dates in the month.   

       Dunlin are invariably tame when they stop at the Wetlands on their migration pic @ AMP

   For the second consecutive year, Avocet was seen in June with one on the June 21st, 11 days later than last year's record. Five Lapwing were seen on June 23rd, two on July 14th and one on July 27th and next day. Adult Little Ringed Plover were recorded on two dates in June and on July 4th with a tame juvenile on East Warwick on July 27 & 28th. 

    A remarkable number of Black-tailed Godwits were seen in July this year pic @porthkillier

   July is usually a good month for Black-tailed Godwits at the reservoirs but this year's passage was exceptional. A flock of 11 on July 3rd over East Warwick was followed by 30-plus over the same reservoir on the 13th. Surprisingly tame birds then appeared on Lockwood on July 21st and 28th with two on the 27th. The best wader of the period were two Turnstone found by T &PR on Lockwood on July 25th. They are not even annual visitors with no records at all in 2018 or 2019 so they might have had the decency to stay longer than five minutes before carrying on their way. 

           Redshank finally made the year list with two belated records in July pic @Chris_Farthing

   Two smart summer-plumaged Dunlin were seen on June 6th with returning singles on July 25th and 28th. The first Common Sandpiper of the 'autumn' was seen on June 25th - five days earlier than last year's first returnee but two days later than in 2020. Green Sandpipers are usually the earliest returning wader with the first this year on June 13th with records from four other dates in the month. The embarrassing gap of Common Redshank in the year list was finally closed when CF found one on July 21st followed, typically, by two next day. 

       Black-headed Gulls successfully moved their colony to Lockwood this year pic @AMP

     The noisy Black-headed Gull colony, forced to move to Lockwood when their East Warwick raft was blown ashore, don't seem to have minded the change of scene with perhaps 100 young raised. Their move may have impacted slightly on the Wetland's Common Terns which bred on the raft last year with what seems like a slight fall on last year's 17 pairs. Fortunately, ten pairs were attracted by PS's decoys onto the rafts on West Warwick with at least two more pairs squeezing in among the Black-heads on Lockwood. It is hard to know how many young they raised but six were rung on West Warwick and as many un-rung birds were seen resting on Lockwood. 

Lockwood became a nursery for Common Terns pic @rudraksh9

   July is a good month to find a Yellow-legged Gull at the Wetlands as it sees the juveniles arrive in the UK. SJ found the first on the 28th, three days later than the first record last year with RE finding a second later that afternoon . The 28th was also the date the first returning Common Gulls were noted. 

              One of two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls seen on Lockwood pic @wheresrhys

    Hundreds of Swifts continued to use the Wetlands and adjoining filter beds to feed but numbers dropped towards the end of July as local birds finished breeding and moved south. They should be replaced later in August by birds which have bred further north who use the reservoirs as a fueling station. In contrast, Sand Martin numbers increased towards the end of July when up to 70 - often joined by House Martins from the filter bed colony - fed low East Warwick early morning. The only Swallows recorded were singles on June 11th and July 21st.  

        Migrant Sand Martins joined local breeders at the reservoirs in July pic @rudraksha9

    The good summer for Cuckoos continued with one on June 16th and, as last year, a juvenile in July on the 8th. Kingfishers also had a productive year with two pairs breeding either or just off site. They are being seen regularly along the Coppermill Stream opposite the Ferry Boat Inn and at the south end of No 3 reservoir. For some reason, June seems to be the best month to catch up with Coal Tit, an inexplicable Wetlands rarity with PH hearing one early morning on 7th by the No 1 reservoir ringing site - 16 days earlier than last year's only record. 

For the second year running, a young Cuckoo appeared in July pic @Chris_Farthing

    Summer also saw out-of-season appearances by failed breeders or wandering juveniles. Skylarks were seen on June 4th, July 7th and July 15th. As last year, a female Wheatear turned up in June on the 10th with a Yellow Wagtail on June 3rd. 

    Ringing suggests that Reed Warbler numbers are well down on last year with both fewer breeding pairs and a worrying large fall in the number of juveniles caught. Bad weather as the birds moved north and the extraordinary heat and drought affecting food are perhaps reasons for this decline. Reasonable numbers, however, of young Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Common Whitethroats seem to be around although ringing data will again show if these species, too, have been hit by the weather. Lesser Whitethroats do look, however, like one species which has done pretty well with family parties seen in several areas of the Wetlands. 

Both Common (below) pic @giles_greenwood and Lesser Whitethroats pic @rudraksha9 bred

    Unusually no Garden Warblers were heard or seen in the Spring with the first bird picked out by LB among a  cacophony of bird song near the East Warwick hide on June 18th. It moved on within the hour but two more were caught on July 16th and 23rd during the ringing sessions. The first returning Willow Warbler was seen on July 29th, two days earlier than last year.  

    August should see Spotted Flycatcher added to the year list with the last few days of the month also providing the best chance to end the two year gap since an Osprey was last recorded. Among the species which are overdue are Red-crested Pochard and Black-necked Grebe while hopes that Great Egret, after four separate records by this time last year, were now becoming regular have so far been shown to be optimistic. 

DB @porthkillier

Friday, 10 June 2022

Reservoir Logs - May 2022


                  A party of Sanderling on Lockwood were May's star birds pic @AMP

     The first Sanderling since 2018 were the undoubted highlights of May which also saw - for the second year running - multiple records of Cuckoo. Ringed Plover and Hobby were added as well to the year list in a month which saw some spectacular gatherings of Swifts as migrants finally arrived. The four additions take the year's total to 117, seven behind last year but more than in both 2020 (113) and 2019 (116). 

    Barnacle Goose posing against the backdrop of its new summer home pic @EugeneDH_Bass....

.......and guarding their nest pic @LolBodini 

    Barnacle Geese now seem to becoming regular summer visitors to the Wetlands with what, from their choice of nest site, looked like the same pair attempting to breed. Birds were seen throughout the month with a maximum count of seven on the 11th. A pair of Shoveler hung around until at least the 4th with a drake still present on the 8th while the first Pochard broods of the year were seen on High Maynard and Lockwood at the end of the month.  

                                An usually large gathering of Oystercatcher  pic @AMP

     Oystercatchers, like last year, were recorded regularly in May but the four together on the 19th were a high number for the Wetlands. Whimbrel were seen on the 2nd and 4th while the only record of Lapwing, which continue to be scarce this year, was on the 17th.  

                        The Sanderling were in a mix of plumages pics @Chris_Farthing

               After feeding and resting for an hour, they eventually flew south  pic @LolBodini

     Sanderling are a rare wader at the Wetlands with records from just four years since 2010 and none since a single bird briefly in 2018. So the party of five - in a mix of plumages - found by AMP on the 11th caused a mini-twitch. They stayed for an hour feeding on Lockwood before departing south.      

          Ringed Plover and Dunlin among the Common Terns on Lockwood pic @LolBodini

    Surprisingly, there were no records of Little Ringed Plover in May which suggests that unlike last year when they were seen regularly, no birds are nesting in the surrounding area. But LB found a Ringed Plover on the 7th in poor weather on Lockwood. Just as last May, it was accompanied by two Dunlin. Single Dunlin were also seen on the 4th, 15th and 26th. 

     Dunlin can be very confiding at the Wetlands pics (above) @Elliott81758817 & @AMP  

       Common Sandpipe numbers peaked at nine on the 1st, one less than last year's highest Spring total, with the last bird being seen on the 20th which was five days earlier than in both 2021 and 2020. The final two Green Sandpipers of the Spring were seen on the 2nd.  

      The run of Arctic Terns continued with two more on the 2nd while good numbers of Common Terns have returned. A total of 56 were counted across the Wetlands on the 21st and breeding looks likely on both Lockwood and West Warwick.  

            Common Terns could be enjoyed right across the Wetlands  pic @giles_greenwood 

    It was an excellent month for Red Kites with records on the 7th, 12th, 14th, 22nd and 26th in contrast to last year's blank May while single Buzzards were seen on the 24th and 25th. But unlike 2021 when the first Hobby was seen in April with regular sightings in May, the only two records so far this year were on the 11th and 18th.

             This calling Cuckoo hung around most of the day on No 3 pic @OwlTurbot

     After last year's remarkable and very welcome run of records, there were again multiple records of  Cuckoo, a species which had become very rare at the Wetlands in recent decades. The first was heard on the 8th by PL before CF had two separate birds on the 9th and 10th. A very obliging male called persistently on the No 3 islands on the 14th and could still be heard next day. The final record was again of a hepatic brown type on the 27th. The Kingfishers nesting on the large No 5 island could be seen making regular trips to feed their young by the end of the month.  


            After a slow start, Swifts arrived back in good numbers pic @Rudraksh9  

    Swifts finally arrived in numbers on the 5th with counts of several hundred regularly on murky days later in the month. The House Martins also returned to their colony at the filter beds around the same time but Sand Martins - at least around Lockwood - seemed to have decreased since last year. Swallows made up for lost time with 50 passing through on the 3rd. Regular records of one or two birds at the end of the month suggesting a pair might have been prospecting again in the general area.  

    Despite the late Spring, breeding warblers seem to have arrived safely in the end. Singing Sedge Warblers were close to double figures - largely around the Warwicks and rail line - while three Lesser Whitethroats were on territory. Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler could be heard across the site but, unlike most years, there has still been no Garden Warbler seen or heard on the reservoirs.   

           Wheatears moved through in small numbers until mid-month pic @rudraksh9 

     It has been a good Spring for Whinchat with two more seen on the 1st. The peak count of Wheatears for May was four on the 4th - slightly down on last year's five - with the last two seen on the 14th. That was later than in 2020 and 2019 but far earlier than last year when birds were seen in both late May and mid-June. Single Yellow Wagtails were seen on the 1st and 13th with six on the 3rd, again down on the peak count of seven last year. 

DB @porthkillier

Reservoir Logs - October 2022

                           After a blank Spring, Short-eared Owl finally made it to the Wetlands pic @LolBodini        A much better month -...