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Thursday 23 January 2020

Beckton - Siberian Chiffchaff and Iceland Gull

Here and there I have been grabbing some visits during January, Thames Water kindly agreed to a feeding station and that has taken off well with a number of species already attracted to it.

Good to see Greenfinch on it, numbers are in decline from a few years back, however you can say that about a number of species unfortunately these days.

I caught up with 2 rarer site birds in January, Iceland Gull and a Siberian Chiffchaff, in the case of the Siberian, I suspect it is annual more or less, no doubt attracted to the Sewage Works food source and the very large flock of normal Chiffchaffs, around 25+ birds that winter on site.

As per previous post, it was a bird that I was looking for having been seen by another birder earlier in January and it was just a case of parking up in the car on site and waiting for the flock to pass through.

The Iceland Gull, a 1st winter, was on the Creek near McGraths yard briefly, crap light but got a couple of snaps of it before it departed, this was again found earlier in January by another birder.

Both good birds, locally rare so good to add to the year list.

Very busy at the moment with Peregrine stuff as we fast approach yet another breeding season, the earliest egg laying I have had is March 6th a few years back, I suspect that will be surpassed in the next few years with climate change. Can’t help noticing that many species seem to be starting the process earlier it seems every year.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

2020 arrives - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone and yet another year and approaching breeding season is with us for the peregrines, as they breed and come under licence relatively early, already communicating with breeding sites.

However I also got a couple of visits out in this first week, to the Ingrebourne Valley and Beckton Sewage Works, grabbed a few hours here and there to get the annual patch list up and running.

In the case of the Valley, the traditional New Year’s Day bash delivered 58 species with a further visit adding another 7 species, 2 Woodcock being the highlights along with Stonechat from the first visit which can be tricky.

So up and running with 65 species, regular birds yet to be seen include Bullfinch, Little Egret, Yellowhammer, Skylark and Red Legged Partridge amongst others.

Beckton Sewage Works produced 47 species from a couple of visits so far, also added Sparrowhawk on Tuesday on a brief visit to fill up the feeders,looks like he has already found them.

Birds of note seen were Green Sandpiper and Mistle Thrush, the big Thrush is now Red Listed, a pity and a sign of the times for many birds showing declining numbers.

Tick of 2019 and probably the rarest bird to grace the Sewage Works, will undoubtedly go to a Ring Tailed Hen Harrier seen going up the Creek on New Year’s Eve, the white rump quite evident in the morning light.

It bought the 2019 patch list up to its highest ever, with 108 species seen and being a long overdue and totally unexpected first, added to the site list and have now hit 145 species for the site.

I also caught up with the Chiffchaff flock, I found them in a corner feeding and sunning themselves and generally just working a particular area of bushes. Parked up in the car watching them, they behaved quite naturally and gave good views. At one time I estimated around 12 birds in this area of bushes but could see/here others contact calling further afield, it’s likely the Sewage Works as a major winter food source probably holds around 20-30 Chiffies.

No Sibe unfortunately but a good variation in some of the birds.