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Monday 7 March 2011

Barking Outfall March 5th

Despite the freezing cold weather, 2 above at dawn, there is definitely a feel of Spring in the air with some species now starting to come alive with breeding imminent, many passerines are already singing.

Most of the ducks are now paired and wearing there full regalia, have also noticed that numbers are starting to drop, hopefully the first Wheatear’s and Little Ringed Plovers are not too far away, usually pick them up on passage around the 3rd week of March.

The Outfall - the distant jetty is where a large colony of Herring and Lesser Black Backed Gulls breed.
Oystercatchers have now arrived in preparation to breed, they achieve very little success unfortunately due to predation from the larger Gulls and Foxes. This happens every year, with many derelict jetties along the Thames many could be used as purpose built breeding sites and also made more secure from predation.

Pair of Oystercatchers
While I am on my soapbox again, so much more can be done to aid breeding and creating breeding habitats along the Thames, these days birds face so much more pressure from non stop development, especially in East London. Brownfield sites are disappearing fast, even in the recession, derelict jetties fit the bill perfectly. Another species that could benefit from this is Shelduck, purpose built banks with artificial Rabbit holes, breeding on the Thames will also increase the Ducklings chances of success, many Shelducks nest inland and face a hazardous journey to get to water.


Back to the Outfall, the remnants of the massive winter Tufted Duck flock have now dwindled to just 28 birds with 4 Pochard still hanging on also. 39 Redshank were also seen along with 2 Curlew and a Rock Pipit, pretty soon these will also be gone as Spring kicks in. Apologies again for the photo’s.

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