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Sunday, 9 August 2020

Beckton latest



Plenty of activity on the site and good to confirm a minimum of 3 Sparrowhawk juveniles, as per normal very loud giving their positions away.

I didn’t locate the nest, the jungle foliage trying to access it was comparable with the Amazon, too much for my little legs and I gave up after 10 metres, age catching up,10 years ago I would have ploughed through.

The Kestrels are ever present as are the Common Buzzards, although only seeing one of the Buzzards, might tell a story but getting late for breeding, would have expected to have seen juveniles by now. The Buzzards have been here a good few years now, highly adaptable in carrion feeding I have watched what looks like the male feeding in a skip full of waste so obviously a very versatile species. America’s equivalent, the Red Tailed Hawk has become very urban so it maybe that Buzzards could be heading down the same road. If someone had told me 10 years ago that a pair of Common Buzzards would take up residence in the Sewage Works I would have thought not a chance.

Buzzard - highly adaptable
                                                                      Highly versatile

Beckton does hold a good number of birds and that obviously reflects in the Raptors present, as the urban sprawl comes ever further east from London and construction goes on all around it, sites like Beckton become very important for wildlife. 

Lots of other birds on show as well, Little Egrets numbers are building and Common Sandpiper numbers peaked at 12, caught up with Sandwich Tern as Common Tern numbers reached around 60 feeding mid river.

                                                                    Common Sandpipers
                                                                          Wasp Spider 
                                                                            Grey Seal
                                                               Southern Migrant Hawker

In looking for birds, I was also lucky enough to see both species of Seal on the Thames recently, Grey and Harbour Seal, the former being quite confiding, it’s a bit of a first seeing both at the same time. 

I also caught up with Southern Migrant Hawker, a first for the site and a Dragon that seems to be populating the South of England.



Saturday, 1 August 2020

Cooling Marshes

July 28th

First visit for a good few months, March if I recall correctly, great to be back over here, although windy it was nice and bright and as ever the wildness of the North Kent Marshes was a breath of fresh air.

Driving out on the track produced a couple of Common Buzzards, Sand Martins moving west in good numbers with the odd Swift mixed in and several Swallows.

The undoubted highlight on the way out there was a big juvenile female peregrine mobbing 2 Foxes with low passes, at the time it was lowish light but true to form and attitude she gave both a very hard time. Photos are not great, couldn’t get a lock on her.

First Fox

2nd Fox

Bring quite warm I was also hoping to catch up with Southern Migrant Hawkers, having been seen recently at Cliffe I was hopeful. 

Luckily enough the visit also coincided with high tide, good numbers of waders were present which included the following.

Avocet – a minimum of 350
Black Tailed Godwit – 800
Curlew – 120
Grey Plover -3
Greenshank – 2
Whimbrel – 7
Oystercatcher – 54

Other than these - Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone and Green Sandpiper were also seen which made it a good wader morning.

On the raptor front 3 Marsh Harriers, same amount of Kestrels but surprisingly no Hobbies, likely August is better for them.

What I thought was a Wood Lark was also seen, flight singing as well but on photo review later turned out to be a Skylark. At the time I thought definite but shows you can be wrong quite easily, bit of a howler and a reminder to not take things for granted and look at all the features.

Dragons were present but didn’t connect with Southern’s but plenty of Migrant Hawkers, Ruddy Darters were everywhere, most though were sheltering from the wind. 

A few Wall Browns were also showing, always good to catch up with these. 

Great to be back, hopefully another visit in August.