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.