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Friday 25 March 2022

Beckton - 150 up


After a good few years visiting the Sewage Works I have reached the above total with the arrival of 3 Garganey briefly, it was one bird I didn’t expect to see here, despite the huge numbers of wintering Teal.

Found by Richard, they were in the big tanks on the right at the end of the path and initially comprised of 2 Drakes, both displaying. However both lifted off, when an unseen female flew towards the river from nearby to them and all 3 were last seen heading up river.

No doubt part of the influx of them coming into the UK, they finally got me to seeing 150 species on the site.

I also caught up with the Siberian Chiffchaff again, initially located as it was singing, totally different song to repetitive Chiffchaff which was what got me onto it in the first place, hearing something unknown tend to stop you in your tracks.

Friday 11 March 2022

Beckton March


Plenty of activity, it’s surprising what a bit of sunshine and warmer temperatures does, for a start Chiffchaffs were singing just about everywhere on the Sewage Works. Obviously not surprising given the numbers here in winter, it’s been the case just about everywhere.

The female Kestrel is becoming tied to the nest box, watched her for around 30 minutes whilst waiting for him to bring prey in, she supplements it by dropping down and grabbing a worm or 2.

Ring Necked Parakeets seem to have taken over every tree with a hole, for 2 years now I have not seen a Green Woodpecker on site, it’s very likely that these non natives could well have contributed to them moving on.

Along with taking over holes of our native nesters, they do a lot of damage to budding trees and I won’t even go into the damage they do to feeders.

On the plus side Peregrines love them.

With the warmth creating thermals, it was great to see the pair of Common Buzzards go up, usual Crows mobbing them but I must admit it seems like an occupational hazard and they take little notice.

Also caught up with a nice Sparrowhawk but unfortunately the photo was through the windscreen so poor unfortunately.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Factory Peregrines 2


Back in September 2020 I did a post called as above, Factory Peregrines, quite remarkably a pair of Peregrines had not only hunted inside a Factory, they then bred inside it. You can understand Kestrels possibly inside being more agile and definitely more suited to life inside, but open sky chase them down peregrines; you could not connect to limited airspace inside a large factory, let along breeding inside it.

Since then I have watched them regularly, completely at home and at times, spending more time inside than they do out, in 2021 they again bred inside fledging 3 juveniles.

The owners of the Factory have been incredible in working around the birds, it’s an active working factory and not always easy due to Schedule 1, but they have pulled out all the stops in accommodating the birds.

For the 2021 breeding season I made them a nest box, for 2020 when they were found, they had nested on a ledge in debris/pigeon guano, it was in a bit of a precarious position it has to be said. Fortunately for the peregrines, the owners gave them space and worked further away so not to disturb them, it worked and they fledged 2 juveniles.

Having placed the nest box for 2021 and placed in a higher position out of any work conflict with more of a distance buffer, I was hopeful of acceptance, sods law peregrines being the unpredictable beasts what they are bloody ignored it.

Instead they again bred on a ledge, a different location however, it was better positioned and there were no issues thankfully.

They fledged 3 juveniles in 2021, 2 males and a female, as you would expect all the juveniles were completely at home inside and like the adults, spent a lot of time inside the Factory right up to going there own way. To walk inside, look up and see 5 peregrines staring down at you from the rafters is surreal I can tell you, it always put a smile on my face, such an incredible adaptive species.

9 times out of 10 they will accept a nest box immediately, but occasionally it’s ignored in that 1st year when placed, especially if there are alternative positions available.

                                                                     She's a big un

                                                               Falcon near nest box




For 2022 it is looking promising, to date I have seen the Falcon in it or close to it 3 times with the Tiercel in it and also near it on another 2 occasions.

Of course it’s all about the Falcon who will decide, so I am still keeping an open mind on it, they don’t always do the straightforward thing, however that is nature.

As females go she is a lump, I would go as far as saying she is the biggest Falcon I have seen, she is right leg metal ringed so can only presume that the colour ring snapped off. Looked into this in the past, it appears they do have a shelf life and will become brittle and snap after time.

I will find out this month whether she likes the box or not.