Thursday, 16 December 2021

Reservoir Logs - November 21 round-up


   Water Pipit living up to its name on East Warwick pic @Chris_Farthing

     November, as usual, produced enough out-of-the-ordinary birds to keep interest high. The month saw the first Water Pipit of the year and second Woodcock as well as a nice mix of winter finches including feeding Lesser RedpollGreat Egrets continued their exceptional year including an unprecedented flock of five while November also saw a very late House Martin and the third Brent Goose record. The Water Pipit takes the year list to 143 - two behind 2020 but well ahead of 2019.

                      One of a very welcome flock of four Lesser Redpoll pic @MLP

      A Brent Goose flew south down Lockwood before resting for an hour on the 26th. The first Shelduck of the autumn returned on the 16th - bang in the middle of returning dates from the previous two years. A Mallard with 12 young on the 24th was either a very late or very early breeder.  A single Wigeon was seen on the 4th with nine on the 15th, seven on the 23rd, two on the 25th and another single on the 30th. The post-breeding Shoveler flock had dispersed by mid-month with just one left by the 19th.

            This Brent Goose made a brief stop on Lockwood on its way south @ AMP

    Three Goldeneye including two smart drakes were seen throughout the month largely on Lockwood with others occasionally across the complex. Goosander were early arriving back with the first on the 7th, ten days earlier than last year. They were also more regular with up to four surprisingly tame birds seen, most often at the north end of High Maynard until disturbance gets too great.  

         Drake Goldeneye showed well on Lockwood throughout the month pic @OwlTurbot

    Good numbers of Lapwing were seen with 45 on the 4th - a good day for movement - including a flock of 29,  another 20 on the 15th, three on the 9th and a single on the 23rd & 24th. Just as last November, the month delivered the second Woodcock with CF finding one on the 22nd. Passage Snipe were seen on the reservoir banks on the 4th and 23rd with two on the 22nd. 

    What might be a faithful wintering Common Sandpiper returned on the 4th - a day later than last year and two days later than in 2019. It stayed throughout the month with two seen from the 5th to the 12th. As last year, Green Sandpipers were also recorded more regularly from the 25th when the water level was not too high in the flood relief channel. 

   Scanning of the Black-headed Gulls turned up another visitor from Norway hard on the claws of last month's Rock Pipit. It had been rung near Oslo in 2011 when it was already a near-adult so is at least 12 years old. Although it is regularly seen in Norway in the summer, this is only the second time it has been recorded abroad with the last sighting in Regent's Park in 2017.

   The remarkable year for Great Egrets continued with PL having a flock of five flying north over Lockwood on the 4th - which were embarrassingly missed by several of us on the reservoir at the time - with another on the 8th. A Red Kite was seen on the 21st while the pair of Peregrines had still not managed to persuade one of last year's young to make its own way in the world.   

   After last year's flurry of Skylark records with twenty seen, there was, just as in 2019, only one record on the 9th. A very late House Martin - well over a month after the last record - fed over the flood relief channel for at least 15 minutes on the 19th. Blackcap are not regular winterers at the reservoirs so the males seen on the 4th and 5th at opposite ends of the site were presumably migrants.    

       In a good month for thrush migration, this Fieldfare was one of a few to land pic @MLP

                         Stonechats were back wintering at the Wetlands pic  @AMP    

    Thrush migration was stronger and longer than last year when four Redwing was the miserable peak count with 320 on the 4th and 140 next day with 60 still moving west on the 24th. Fieldfare numbers were also higher with 80 on the 4th, twice the highest count last year.  Stonechats were seen pretty much daily with a peak count of six on the 5th.  

         Highlight of the month was this Water Pipit, a less than annual visitor pic @IvorHewstone

    Water Pipit is by no means annual at the reservoirs with records in only two of the last seven years so the bird found by CF on East Warwick on the 16th is easily the scarcest species seen this month.It seems to have been a good month for winter finches across the region and, for once, the Wetlands did not miss out. Brambling were seen across the month with singles on the 4th, 15th & 25th, with two on the 10th and four on 14th. 

 The Lesser Redpoll which fed near the Engine House were very popular pic @LolBodini 

    Lesser Redpoll are usually only seen flying over so the four found the feeding near the Engine House on the 4th by LB were in great demand. The single seen in flight by CF the previous day was presumably from the same flock which was also feeding in the same small silver birch on the 5th with two still in the area until the 8th at least. In recent times, Siskin records have also largely been limited to flight records as was the case with the single bird on the 7th. But CF found a flock of 10 feeding in alders next day although, unlike the Redpoll, they unfortunately did not linger. 

DB @porthkillier


Thursday, 11 November 2021

Reservoir Logs - October 2021 round-up

                 This photogenic Short-eared Owl was a highlight of the month pic @OwlTurbot

   October added Brambling belatedly to the year list as well as delivering a very photogenic Short-eared Owl and not so obliging Black Redstart. A rather lacklustre month also brought the now expected flurry of Rock Pipit records including one rung in Norway and late Reed Warblers and Swallows. Brambling takes the year list to 142 at the end of October which - for the first time this year - is behind 2020's total of 144 but still 11 ahead of 2019.

   The first Rock Pipit of the autumn turned out to have been rung in Norway pic @LolBodini

    A female Wigeon was seen on the 8th, a drake on the 9th with three more on the 13th and a flock of six on the 24th. The first Goldeneye of the winter turned up on the 27th, a week earlier than last year. This year's exceptional run of Great White Egrets continued with singles on the 5th, 15th and 18th. Two Buzzards were seen on the 9th with singles on 6th,10th and 30th.   

                                            One of two Dunlin this month pic @AMP

   Six species of wader were recorded this month, one more than last year but, as usual, numbers were low. Two Lapwing were seen on the 8th with singles next day and on the 16th. The only Dunlin were on the 9th and 12th. Common Snipe were seen on the 7th, 8th, 13th and 15th although there were likely to be more hidden in the No 1 reedbed and East Warwick island.  

                           A single Redshank is about norm for October pic @AMP

   After a gap of over two weeks since the last record in September, three Common Sandpipers turned up on the 5th with singles on the 19th and 21st. The fox family continued to occupy the Green Sandpiper ramp so the only records were on the 16th & 19th while a Common Redshank was seen on the 15th. 

    The only noteworthy gull was an adult - which at least makes identification easier - Yellow-legged on the 4th. October is one of the best months for a chance of Short-eared Owl but it is very unusual for one to linger long enough to allow such good photographs as was the case on the 10th. 

  October's Short-eared Owl unusually hung around pic @OwlTurbot and (below) @sjnewton

   Single Skylarks were seen on the 24th and 28th. House Martins usually remain at the Wetlands into October with 100 still on the 6th, a day earlier than the final big count in 2020  but there was no repeat of last year's late bird which passed through on the 28th. After a worryingly blank month for Swallow, there was one on the 5th with the final two next day.  

 The Norwegian Rock Pipit was replaced by two fresh birds pics @AMP (above) & @OwlTurbot

   It was a good month again for Rock Pipits with fascinating proof of just how far these birds come. LB found and photographed the first two of the autumn on the 7th with one carrying colour rings. It was quickly discovered that it had been rung back in April as an adult in Brekneholmen on the southern tip of Norway, a journey of 520 miles as the pipit flies. They started a run of records with two again on the 10th and 17th with singles on the 11th, 13th, 15th & 16th.  

   Stonechat were seen regularly across the month with at least two resident. CF found the second Black Redstart of the year on the 22nd. After single birds on several days at the beginning of the month, the final Wheatear of the year was on the 11th, nine days earlier than last year. 

                                         The final Wheatears of the year remained until mid-month pic @HarringayBirder

   The first Redwing of the winter were two on the 3rd - a week later than in 2020 - but passage was stronger with a peak of 320 over on the 24th. The same day also saw 12 Fieldfare, the first of the autumn.  Two Reed Warblers were seen on the 10th with one rung around the No 1 reedbed and another seen on West Warwick. 

   There was a good passage of Jackdaw through the month with a peak of  80 on the 25th. They dragged along a Rook with them on the 10th. With no Brambling seen in the Spring, they were finally added to the year list on the 21st when CF had three although there were also two probables on the 4th. 

DB @porthkillier

Sunday, 3 October 2021

Reservoir Logs - September 21 round-up


                 These Little Stints lit up a rather disappointing month pic @HarringayBirder

    The star birds of September were two obliging Little Stints - the third ever record for the reservoirs - which spent a morning on Lockwood. Red-crested Pochard and Tree Pipit were also added in a month which, after an excellent start continuing August's late purple patch, petered out.  But it did produce Black Tern, Marsh Harrier and Coal Tit, all second records for the year, along with a smattering of uncommon waders and other migrants. The three additions take the annual list to 141, still above the 139 of last year and 2018, and well ahead of 2019. 

   Just as last year, Red-crested Pochard waited until September to make an appearance at the Wetlands with a single on the 10th, eight days later than in 2020. More unexpected was the drake Common Scoter which made a brief stay on Lockwood on the 1st. The highest count of Shoveler was 74, below the 100-plus flocks of the last couple of years although they may have only migrated to nearby Woodberry which has had larger numbers than usual.

             The second Marsh Harrier of the year drifted slowly north pic @rudraksh9

   In the best ever year for Great White Egrets, singles were seen going north on the 3rd & 5th and south on the 19th with a report on eBird of another on the 25th. The numbers seen this year must be fast approaching the total recorded before 2021.The second Marsh Harrier of the year was picked up over East Warwick by RE on the 4th and kindly made its way north so slowly that all the birders on site caught up with it. 

    The 4th also saw a Buzzard, which continue to be scarce this year, forced to land in the trees around Lockwood by a gaggle of crows while a Red Kite went over on the 22nd. After last year’s flurry of Hobby records in September, this year returned to normal with just a single on the 12th. Unless a late Osprey flies over, this will be the first year since 2015 when the species has not been seen at the Wetlands.

       Avocet and Ringed Plover were two of the scarcer waders this month pics @sjnewton

     Nine species of wader were seen on the reservoirs this month compared to five last year. SN's Captain Ahab-style hunt for an Avocet on the reservoirs finally ended on the 4th when he found and photographed one which settled briefly on Lockwood. He also found a juvenile Ringed Plover - the fifth of the year, a much better showing than normal - on the same reservoir on the 14th after torrential rain. The monsoon brought down a Lapwing while a Curlew circled East Warwick. There was another Lapwing on the 19th while four silent Curlew or Whimbrel flew west on the 11th.  

                           The Stints showed well during their morning stay pics @OwlTurbot (above) & @LolBodini

    The most welcome birds of the month - and not just because of their rarity - were the two Little Stints found by PR & TR on the 2nd. They were incredibly tame as they wandered up and down the Lockwood shore. They are only the third record for the reservoirs with the last bird in September 2019 particularly painful for a group of local birders - including the finders of this pair - as it was flushed just a couple of minutes before we got there. The first record was back in 1998 so another sighting was not expected for a couple of decades.  

   A Snipe was seen on the 3rd and a Redshank on the 6th. The peak count of five Common Sandpipers on the 1st just beat last year's maximum of four with the last migrating bird seen on the 13th. Green Sandpipers were seen on at least five days but the constant presence of a family of foxes on their favourite ramp did little for sightings. The first Water Rail of the autumn was heard on the 27th, a week later than last year. 

               The second Black Tern of the year was another juvenile pic @Chris_Farthing

    The second Black Tern of the year - again a young bird - was found by CF on the 1st. Next day saw five rather distant young terns arrive on Lockwood mid-afternoon which, after some confusion, were identified from photographs as Common.

    It has been the best year for a long time for Cuckoo at the Wetlands with at least four birds by August and September produced another on the 1st. There were still 35 Swifts over the Wetlands on the 3rd but numbers quickly fell with the last bird on the 7th, four days before the final record of 2020 and a full week ahead of 2019, After the second and third record of Raven in February, PL had another on the 16th. Along with the Egrets, this is another species which is likely to become commoner. 

  The second Coal Tit of the year was found by AMP in a mixed flock on the 11th. House Martins lingered on around their filter beds colony until the end of the month but there were few records of Sand Martins and, depressingly, none of Swallows at all. Cetti's Warblers, after falling silent over the late Summer, re-found their voice and could be heard across the site. 

      Cetti's Warblers are much more often heard than seen as well as this pic @giles_greenwood

    Cetti's are resident but it seems as if the summer warblers departed slightly earlier than last year. The last September record of Sedge Warbler was on the 18th (29th last year), Reed Warbler 21st (22nd), Common Whitethroat 13th (24th),  Lesser Whitethroat 21st (26th) although a singing Willow Warbler on the 19th (16th) did its best to buck the trend.

    Warblers, like this Common Whitethroat, seemed to have left slightly earlier pic @rudraksh9

    The poor autumn for Spotted Flycatchers at the Wetlands - although not at other London sites - continued with just one brief appearance on the 7th. In contrast, they were seen on six days last September. The day before saw the second Redstart of the year appear briefly just inside the main north gate with perhaps the same bird turning up two days later across the road. 

               One of four Whinchats which graced the Wetlands this month pic @IvorHewstone

    There seem to have been plenty of Whinchats around the London area but only four singles at the Wetlands; on the 2nd, 7th, 11th and 21st. Stonechats took their time arriving with the first record at the reservoirs not until the 20th, six days later than last year. Wheatear were seen regularly throughout the month with two still on the 29th and a high peak count for autumn of seven on the 11th. 

            Stonechats arrived for the winter a little later than last year pic @Chris_Farthing 

         Single Yellow Wagtails were recorded on at least ten days, presumably on their way to join the mass gatherings down on Walthamstow Marshes where a remarkable 15 were counted feeding on one day. The first Meadow Pipit of the autumn arrived on the 12th, eight days later than last year, with small numbers flying south or around the reservoir banks until the end of the month. Tree Pipit remains a rarity at the reservoirs so the bird RE heard over Lockwood on the 15th was a welcome addition to the year list. 

DB @porthkillier


Sunday, 5 September 2021

Reservoir Logs - August 21 round-up

           The first ever Grasshopper Warbler to be seen at the Wetlands was caught pic@AMP

      After a dismal first half of the month, August sprang to life with a series of good birds including the first Grasshopper Warbler to be seen at the Wetlands. August also brought the fourth ever record of Cattle Egret along with the first Marsh Harrier and Curlew of 2021. Black Tern and Spotted Flycatchers closed the final gaps of the species seen every year over the last decade. 

 Black Tern pic @OwlTurbot and Spotted Flycatcher pic @rudraksh9 were both new for the year

    The second half of the month, also brought a steady trickle of migrants including Whinchat and Yellow Wagtails along with scarcer waders including a mass arrival of Greenshank. The six additions take the year list so far to 138, eight more than in 2020 and 12 more than in 2019. 

    In a great month for Greenshank, this roosting bird on No 3 showed best pic @rom_london 

    A touch of northerly on the 23rd saw early flocks of nine Wigeon and 35 Teal arrive at the reservoirs with five more Wigeon on the 27th and three on the 30th. The first Wigeon were not seen until mid-September last year. Shoveler numbers also built up quicker with around 50 by the month's end although they were more scattered across the site than recent autumns. An all-site count mid-month found 2564 Tufted Ducks had gathered at the Wetlands for their post-breeding moult which is a higher number than recent years. As the largely male flock was loafing, females were still raising young with perhaps as many as 40 pairs breeding this summer. 

      Both Shoveler (pic @IvorHewstone) and Wigeon arrived early pic @Chris_Farthing

    A drop in the water level saw a count of 55 Little Egrets feeding around the edges of the northern reservoirs on the 18th. The 29th was a red-letter day for rarer herons when first three Great Egrets went high north followed later by a flock of smaller herons which included at least one Cattle Egret. Examination of the photographs taken by CF at Woodberry of the same flock showed not just the adult  but also a black-billed juvenile. It is only the fourth time Cattle Egret has been recorded at the Wetlands but it is a sign of their UK expansion that three of these occurrences have been in the last two years. Another Great Egret - again seen first at Woodberry and again becoming commoner - landed briefly on Lockwood before continuing north. 

    Great Egret (pic @IvorHewstone) and Hobby were seen over Lockwood (pic @Rudraksh9) 

    The stand-out bird of prey was a female-type Marsh Harrier on the 26th which was seen by Earl and RT while they were fly-fishing. The only Red Kite was on the 23rd and the sole record of Buzzard - which have been perplexingly scarce this year - was on the 30th. Hobby flashed through on at least eight days while Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and particularly Peregrine were seen more regularly.

      Oystercatcher was one of 12 wader species seen and easily the noisiest pic @Rudraksh9 

     Twelve species of waders - one more than last year - were recorded in August. The only Oystercatcher was a very noisy individual on the 21st. Single Lapwing were seen on the 3rd & 23rd while the third and fourth Ringed Plovers of the year were on Lockwood on the 19th & 31st. Little Ringed Plover had been scarce over the summer but a juvenile took up residence on Lockwood on the 24th staying until the last day of the month when it was joined by two more. 

Little Ringed Plover top (pic @rom_london) and Ringed Plover (pic @porthkillier) on Lockwood


    Two Curlew rested on Lockwood on the 29th - one of three new species for the year recorded that day - before heading off north. Four Black-tailed Godwit went high in the opposite direction on the 28th. After three single Dunlin in July, the only record in August was on the last day of the month. The first Snipe of the autumn was seen on the 19th, two days later than last year. 

    Unusually approachable Redshank (pic AMP) and Common Sandpiper (pic @Chris_Farthing) 

      Common Sandpipers were seen throughout August with a maximum of ten on the 4th, around half the peak count in the last two years. Green Sandpipers were recorded on four days with two on the 3rd while Redshank were seen on the 3rd & 27th. 

                         A trio of Greenshank spent four days at the Wetlands pic @AMP

     The wader event of the month was an influx of Greenshank with perhaps as many as eight including a probable six on one day. The first was found late on 18th by QG with three next day which stayed around Lockwood until the 22nd. While they were still in the overflow channel on the 21st, two more were seen heading off east high with another confiding bird roosting on No 3 reservoir in the afternoon. A single bird was briefly on Lockwood on the 23rd with the final record one heading west on the 30th.  

      A juvenile Arctic Tern showing off its ID features on Low Maynard pic @IvorHewstone

   Another young Yellow-legged Gull was picked up by RE on the 19th. Common Terns, which stayed until the end of the month last year, left en masse much earlier with the 25-plus seen on the 13th dwindling to three on the 15th with none two days later. Their departure made it easier to pick out a juvenile Arctic Tern on the 24th feeding over the Maynards. Most Arctics seen at the reservoirs are adults in Spring.

           Black Tern is always appreciated and this juvenile showed well pic @OwlTurbot 

    CF picked up a juvenile Black Tern on West Warwick on the 16th which stayed around all day. The species has been seen every year over the last decade at the reservoirs but seems, for some reason, much scarcer and is always a crowd pleaser. One that got away was a probable small skua - either Arctic or Long-tailed - seen by PL going south early on the 22nd in good conditions for inland passage.  

    The exceptional year for Cuckoos continued with juveniles seen on the 17th and 25th. Large numbers of Swifts - with lingering local birds presumably boosted by migrants - could be seen right through August with a flock of 150 feeding over Banbury on the 31st. Both House and Sand Martins also stayed throughout August but Swallows were again scarce with just two on the 16th and four on the 24th. For the first time in several years, Kingfisher successfully bred on the reservoirs on the small No 5 island with the fledged young seen enjoying No 2 & 3 reservoirs.  

     A recently fledged Kingfisher proved breeding at the Wetlands pic@Chris_Farthing 

    Small numbers of Willow Warblers were seen and heard from mid-month with three being caught during the constant effort ringing sessions around the No 1 reed-bed on the 15th. The results of the regular  sessions continue to amaze with an astonishing 228 Reed Warblers rung by the end of the month. Although many will be migrants passing through, it is clear that the Wetlands has a far higher breeding population than anyone ever imagined. 

This Grasshopper Warbler was an unexpected addition to the year list pic @PaulHawky

     There was always the hope that something unusual would be caught and that was the case on the 29th when the first bird in the net before it had even been properly opened was a Grasshopper Warbler. While birds have been heard reeling from the reservoirs before - with the last record in May 2018 - this seems to be the first ever to be seen on the site. Sedge (10) and Garden Warblers (3) along with Lesser Whitethroats (3) have also been caught over the summer with one or two of all three species seen regularly in August. 

      Only three Spotted Flycatchers were seen but this bird at least performed pic @sjnewton

    It was a slightly disappointing month for Spotted Flycatcher with the first not seen until the 20th when LB and SN found different birds. The one in the copse by the Maynard entrance stayed next day but the only other record was on the 29th. But so far there has been no repeat of the Pied Flycatchers of the last two Augusts although one did spend a couple of days over the fence on Tottenham Marsh. Whinchat, another scarce autumn migrant, had a slightly better showing with records on the 17th, 19th and 27th with two on the 22nd. 

Wheatears were scarce with few multiple arrivals pic@AMP 

    Wheatears turned up in modest numbers with the first on the 3rd followed by two on the 12th and records then most days until the end of the month.The peak count was three from the 17th to 19th and on the 26th which is about average in recent years. Three Yellow Wagtails were also recorded on the 25th and 30th with single birds - often fly-overs - on at least four other days. The grass sadly was finally cut around Lockwood but enough was left to continue to attract Linnets with up to 20 seen in the first few days. 

Linnets enjoyed the longer vegetation around Lockwood and became less wary pic @rudraksh9

    September often vies with April as the best month of the year with nine new species added in 2020 so hopes are high. Red-crested Pochard is still the most obvious miss from the year list but it is also getting late for Osprey which has been seen in each of the last five years. 

DB @porthkillier

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Reservoir Logs - Summer 21 round-up


         Three Cuckoos including this juvenile is the best showing for years pic @sjnewton

    A mass arrival of Common Scoter was the highlight of June and July which also saw fly-overs by Spoonbill and Sandwich Tern along with the just about annual occurrence of Coal Tit. More predictable were the July first appearances for the year of Black-tailed Godwit, Yellow-legged Gull and Skylark The seven additions take the year list to 132 which is an impressive nine above last year's figure.  

June saw the biggest flock of Scoter at the Wetlands in recent times pic @Chris_Farthing

    The Godwits were one of a healthy eleven wader species recorded over the two months including the second Common Ringed Plover and Avocets of the year. The summer also saw several sightings  of Mediterranean Gull and Cuckoo as well as ringing records which showed birds travelling to the Wetlands from the Netherlands and Namibia.    

         One of the pair of Barnacle Geese which seemed to have tried to breed pic @AMP

    Barnacle Geese continued to be seen throughout June with a pair displaying breeding behaviour on the big No 5 island. But within a couple of days of the birds watched apparently swapping nest shifts on the 27th, both fed on the reservoir banks which suggests any breeding attempt failed. The pair just as quickly then left the Wetlands to end an unusual summer influx.    

    It was an even sadder story for Shelduck. None of the young from the three pairs which bred survived very long and all adults, unusually, departed by early July. This compares to five pairs successfully raising 21 young last year when some enjoying the Wetlands so much they stayed well into the autumn. 

  For the second summer in the last three, the Wetlands hosted a Scaup pic@Chris_Farthing

    A drake Scaup, the third record of the year, was found by CF on June 25th. Photographs led to debate over whether it might be a hybrid but those who saw it largely felt it was most likely a Scaup going into eclipse. It is the second year in the last three that a drake has turned up at the Wetlands in June.  It wandered the site until at least July 3rd and, given the huge number of moulting Tufted Duck in which to hide, might have stayed longer.  

This female-type Common Scoter spent five days at the Wetlands pic @rom_london 
    But it was a remarkable movement of Common Scoter which was the duck highlight of the summer. CF - again - earned his reward for visiting in a downpour on June 18th when he found a female on West Warwick. By the time, the rest of us had donned waterproofs to see the first Scoter of the year, he had found a flock of ten males on Lockwood. This is the biggest Scoter flock - part of a widespread movement across the south east - anyone can remember at the Wetlands. The drakes all departed that night but the female stayed until the 23rd. Other duck records included a drake Teal on June 7th and a Shoveler on the 15th  with eight on the 29th.    

        Two stunning summer plumaged Black-necked Grebes were seen pic @rom_london

    Black-necked Grebes gave the Wetlands a miss this Spring. So there was plenty of interest in the first discovered by CF on June 16th and the second - also a superb summer plumaged adult - found by RR on Lockwood on July 17th. Both were just one-day appearances. After a near-miss in the Spring, Spoonbill was also finally added to the Wetland's year list on June 4th when MK saw one fly from West Warwick over Walthamstow Marsh and back before presumably continuing north.   

    Two young were raised by the local Peregrines just off site and could be seen and heard on the Wetlands' pylons throughout July. Four Red Kites were seen together on June 3rd and there were singles on five other days. Hobby records were scarce compared to last year with birds seen only on three days in June and two in July. Two young Kestrels took up residence around the north side in July.    

       A  colour-ringed Oystercatcher turned out to be a visitor from Holland @AMP

    Eleven species of waders - one less than last year - were recorded in June and July. But they seemed to turn up earlier than usual perhaps because the bad weather in the Spring led to failed breeding. That was certainly the case with the Oystercatcher found on June 20th which photographs showed was colour-ringed. It was soon discovered that it had been rung as as an adult near Den Haag in 2018 and had still been in the Netherlands in April. Two very unseasonal Avocets - the second record of the year - were found on Lockwood by CF on June 10th. 

         Two Avocets rested all too briefly on the banks of Lockwood pic @Chris_Farthing 

    Lapwing are more expected summer visitors but there were more regular sightings this year. The first summer record was on June 14th & 15th, with two on the 23rd, 29th and July 19th with singles - perhaps the same young bird - on six other days in July. PR had the second Ringed Plover of the year fly over on an early morning ringing session on July 9th. Little Ringed Plover were scarcer than is often the case but there was one on June 16th & 18th and two on the 17th with the only July record three juveniles on July 8th. 


Five Black-tailed Godwits turned up on Lockwood pic (above) @sjnewton and @porthkillier      


    A Whimbrel flew over calling on July 27th while the biggest gap in the wader list was filled when five Black-tailed Godwits were found on Lockwood on July 10th - six days later than the first record last year. They included a flock of four which soon continued south but the fifth lone bird settled down to feed for much of the morning.A returning  Dunlin was also on Lockwood on July 11th with other equally tame summer-plumaged birds on the 25th & 31st.  

            The three Dunlin seen were all on Lockwood and all very tame pic @sjnewton

   The first Common Sandpiper returned on June 30th - seven days later than last year but exactly the same date as in 2019. They were then seen pretty much every day throughout July with a conservative peak count of 10 on the 23rd. Green Sandpipers were seen on July 18th & 27th with two on the 24th. Redshank, like Lapwing, were surprisingly common with two on June 15th & 17th and July 16th and singles on six other days. This compares to records on just five days last summer.   

                            Redshank were regular visitors in June and July pic @OwlTurbot    

    RE picked out a juvenile Yellow-legged Gull among the local Lesser black-backed and Herring young on Lockwood among on July 25th - 12 days later than the first last year. A near-adult Mediterranean Gull dropped into the thriving Black-headed Gull colony on June 25th and at least two more were seen on July 18th when there was a movement inland.  

         One of at least three Mediterranean Gulls seen in June and July pic @Chris_Farthing

    The first two Sandwich Terns of the year were seen by LB from his loft window flying north on July 24th. At least 17 Common Tern chicks hatched on Lockwood with fledged birds being fed by the parents on the reservoir banks into August. The astonishing migrations these birds will undertake was brought to life when a CF photograph of an adult allowed the partial reading of a ring. The numbers narrowed it down to one of three birds trapped in Namibia between 2004 and 2006. As it is over 5,000 miles from Walthamstow, it is likely to have flown 150,000 miles in migration since it was rung. 

  Adult Cuckoo (above) pic @IvorHewstone and juvenile (below) pic @sjnewton & @OwlTurbot


    This year has seen the best showing by Cuckoos for a long time with at least three more in June and July. An adult was seen on June 1st and June 5th before a tame juvenile put on a show on July 12th & 13th around the High Maynard entrance. A late adult gave more typically brief views on the south side on the 25th. For the first time in a couple of years, it looks as if Kingfishers have actually bred at the Wetlands with a pair flying into a nest hole on the small No 5 island in July. 

   Swifts continued to use the Wetlands as a feeding station with around 300 birds - almost certainly a mixture of migrants and late local birds - on the last day of July. The same is true of Sand Martins with lingering breeding birds - most of which seem to have left by mid-July - joined by visitors in a flock of around 100 feeding low over No 4 on the 30th. Coal Tit remains a very rare bird at the Wetlands and the two CF found on June 23rd may be the only record of the year. Skylarks regularly turn up in July with singles from the 9th to the 12th and another on the 27th.  

       This June Wheatear was either late going north or early coming south pic @Alex_Aspden

    Migration of smaller birds - probably because the bad weather in May delayed breeding - was later than last year when Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat and multiple returning Willow Warblers were all recorded in July. The first bright juvenile Willow Warbler was only seen on the 31st although there was an earlier adult on July 21st. A female Wheatear got the seasons all wrong when it turned up on Lockwood on June 17th and stayed around to the 21st. It presumably just got fed up waiting for the weather to improve on the breeding grounds and decided to head south., 

    The ringing sessions around the No 1 reed bed continue to astound with a staggering total by the end of July of 120 adult Reed Warblers now rung - many times the number of pairs that were thought to be summer residents. Juvenile Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were also caught on July 18th which suggests they may have bred at the Wetlands. Both species were increasingly seen from mid July while there were also plenty of young Common Whitethroat, Chiffchaff and Blackcaps around

    Family parties of Common Whitethroats could be seen across the Wetlands pic @rudraksh9

    The welcome decision by Thames Water to let the grass grow in June and July around the reservoir banks led to a riot of wild flowers. As well as many butterflies, Goldfinches and Linnets - with over 20 including family parties around Lockwood - enjoyed the unexpected feast.  

       Linnets brought their young to Lockwood to enjoy the seed feast pic @rudraksh9

    August should see the first Spotted Flycatcher of the year as well, if we are lucky, a passing Osprey while the regular visit by Red-crested Pochard is now overdue. 

DB @porthkillier