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Saturday, 7 May 2011

The Valley

As I write this I am suffering, I have just returned from twitching the Nightingale at 5.30am that turned up on Friday next to St.Georges Hospital. The suffering is self inflicted and happens once a month up the Railway pub, I even pay to feel like this, the bike ride this morning should have made me feel better, it did not.

Greenshank, Green Sandpiper and Redshank in the viewing area

Whilst out on the bike this morning I decided to carry on and check the viewing area, I had in mind, after last nights rain, that a wader could have been pushed down. Although the viewing area looked great, there was not a single wader present, bit of a surprise, cant complain though as I have been very lucky with recent waders. The area looks so good, surely it is just a matter of time before a Wood Sandpiper etc… drops in. With the predicted heat wave coming, it is more likely to dry up completely, it is a pity that the water levels cannot be controlled to aid breeding birds like Lapwing, Redshank and possibly even Common Snipe.

Sedge Warbler

On Wednesday May 4th I had an afternoon of work and walked part of the Valley, clear blue skies and sunshine promised a good raptor. Still a little early for Honey Buzzard but with the recent warm weather, everything seemed to be early this year. Half way through the walk I did locate 2 soaring raptors, these turned out to be 2 Common Buzzards, very high but showing the variation in plumage, one light, the other dark. Even higher above them was a Sparrowhawk.

Light and dark phase Comon Buzzards

The viewing area produced a Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpipers, a pair of Redshank and 3 Little Egrets, I suspect as do others, that the Little Egrets are localized breeders and not birds just visiting from Rainham Marshes RSPB.

2 additions to the year list were added with Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper seen on the Reservoir.

Green Hairstreak

Small Heath

I also recorded my highest count of Green Hairstreaks with 19 seen, again the weather is playing its part making it ideal for butterflies, it looks as if it will be a good year for them. 3 Small Heaths and a Cinnibar Moth were also seen, the Cinnibar usually come out around mid May.

Dragons were made up of one Hairy and a big emergence of Blue Tailed and Common Blue Damselflies.

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