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Sunday 17 April 2011

Weekend highlights April 16th and 17th

A really good weekend with great weather, certainly seems the warmest April that I can remember, and, hardly a sniff of any rain. Many migrants seem to have arrived earlier, I also expect this is weather related.

Barking Outfall and Bay 16th


Reed Warbler have started to appear in numbers with 6 singing birds, also a single Common Tern working the Outfall, 4 Oystercatchers still disputing territory and nesting rights on the large jetty.

The 1st Sedge Warbler was a site tick, in the past it has been a hard bird to nail on site, additionally, despite tripping up over Wheatears just about every where I go, I have managed to miss them here so far.

Checking out the Gull colony showed at least 7 Herring Gulls already incubating, was not aware that they were earlier breeders than Lesser Black Backed, the Lessers are still bringing in moss and grass. The usual pandemonium occurred when they saw me, when the 1st alarm call went up, they all piped up, incredible noise from over 150 Gulls. Bearing in mind I am over a 100 metres away on the river wall, they are quite aggressive, I was even mock dived and the majority have not even laid eggs yet.


4 Summer plumed Dunlin were present in the Bay and pairs of Shelduck seemed to be everywhere investigating rabbit holes. The Bay and Crossness seems to always hold good numbers of Oystercatchers with 4 pairs seen including one pair already incubating.

Virtually the 1st birds seen were a group of 7 Wheatears, 1 adult male and the remaining were immature and female types.

On the Butterfly front, Small Whites were out in force with a minimum of 40 seen,1 Green Veined White and 2 Small Tortoiseshells were also noted. I have seen more Small Tortoiseshells in April than the whole of 2010 combined, hopefully they have recovered from the last few lean years, again, much of this has got to be down to the weather. (Click on photo's too enlarge)

Common Tern jetty, just coming to life
The Common Tern Jetty that housed 22 pairs in 2010 is starting to take off with around 25 birds already present, some have got in early and claimed a spot. The usual noisy Tern colony is starting to take shape, one by one the resting Black Headed Gulls are being made unwelcome and eased off.

The Valley 17th

An excellent morning made even better with 3 additions to the patch list, firstly a Cuckoo seen and heard for most of the morning, presumably it is the same one moving around.

Little Ringed Plover

Little Egret

A single Little Ringed Plover was seen in the viewing area, they do not breed on site but come to the viewing area occasionally to feed.

Red Kite with some inner  moult
Best of the lot though was a Red Kite picked up going south west, around 12.10pm, having spoken to Shaun, he also had one later in the afternoon. His bird had no wing moult, the one I saw did. All in all a very good day, other highlights were Grasshopper Warbler, Swallow, 3 Sand Martins, 10 Common Whitethroats, 4 Lesser Whitethroats and a pair of Ring Necked Parakeets nest site prospecting.

Small Tortoiseshell


Green Hairstreak

Also had a good morning with Butterflies, as follows, 3 Green Hairstreaks, 14 Small Whites, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peococks, 12 OrangeTips, 9 Speckled Woods, 1st Holly Blue of the year and 6 Brimstones

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