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Friday 21 October 2022

Beckton Sewage Works latest

A good couple of months with a few additions to the year list, one rather special bird in the shape of a Spoonbill on September 21st, a patch tick no less and half expected/wished for given the rise in records locally, especially Rainham RSPB. I caught up with it quite late as it headed upriver but nailed a couple of distant shots, it was no doubt the same bird seen at Crossness earlier.

On the same day a very high-flying flock of 25 Ducks, contained some real goodies which included 13 Wigeon, 10 Pintail and 2 Shoveler, thanks to Howard and Wes for scrutinising the shapes and coming up with the species. Both Pintail and Wigeon are big rarities for Beckton.


                                                                  High flying duck flock

A rising tide visit on October 8th coincided with the arrival of 8 Black Tailed Godwits, the first for me at Beckton for the coming winter period. A sign that winter is on its way,15 Redshank were also being pushed up on the tide, the Godwits though stole the show with some very close views.

                                                             Photo bombing Kingfisher

The pair of Kestrels continue to be active at the nest box, the box was placed for 2018 and they haven’t looked back since, off the top of my head over 5 breeding seasons they have fledged 16 juveniles.

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Battersea Power Station - old nest box


Old Nest Box

With the early acceptance by the pair of the newly designed nest box into the structure of the Power Station, namely on the northeast wash tower, the old nest box tower top section that had served remarkably well over the years, was removed on September 2nd.

This was part of the mitigation strategy, it was placed in February 2013 and has been an incredible success, over 9 breeding seasons, they fledged 20 juveniles from the Tower, averaging just over 2 per season.

I can remember making the box, it was made from 12mm ply and over the years it was cleaned out, once a year it was weatherproofed, considering it was plywood it lasted well.

When it was lifted down, on inspection, I was quite surprised just how good the condition of the box was, considering its very exposed position aloft 50 metres up for 9 years. I had expected all the edges to be flayed and blown which is the norm with ply.

I have had other boxes rot after just 3 or 4 years, I have always used ply from the same source, so suspect that it may be down to ply quality.

Plastic boxes are obviously the way to go as it’s never going to rot, but as it stands, making one out of ply is a cheaper option.

Some photos attached from the day.

Also a few photos from a recent visit, it shows the Falcon coming in with prey and then getting mobbed by 8 Carrion Crows. Being the smart birds that they are, they pick there mobbing times, often with peregrines, it coincides with when they have prey, they know there is no risk. A secondary motive on the Crows part, is that they could get her to drop the prey and potentially get a free meal.

Without prey, its often a different ball game and the peregrines natural aggression and attitude asserts itself.

On this occasion this was the case, she quickly cached the prey and set about the Crows, a bit distant but spectacular stuff, as she went after a couple of Crows who were a bit slow in retreating.

Saturday 8 October 2022

Cazalla September 12th Day 5



8.45am – 12.50pm

The day had started off quite well in the grounds of our Cabin, where we added some very welcome ticks in the garden and beyond.

I never would never have thought that we could add 4 additions to the list before we headed off to Cazalla, but this was the case.

These were Short Toed Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Peregrine and a little gem in the shape of an Iberian Chiffchaff.

The Iberian Chiffy call stopped me and Lee dead, it eventually gave itself up with brief but good views, checking the call was spot on.

These 4 birds had rounded the trip list up to 132 and they were our final additions to the trip list, buoyed on by a good start, we headed off to the Watchpoint.

Again, the winds weren’t right for in-your-face migration, but it was pretty constant, it was also obvious that Honey Buzzards were on the move.

With several flocks seen I arrived at a total of 170 for the morning, some were very high, but a few individuals provided our best views yet.

Egyptian Vulture was another in numbers, I recorded 66 with a few flocks of 8+, we also had a small flock on the deck of 13 birds having a rest.

The totals for the morning were as follows:

Booted Eagle – 13
Short Toed Eagle – 49
Black Stork – 10, a flock of 7 + 3 singles
Bee Eater – 29
Sparrowhawk – 3 individuals
Common Kestrel – 2
Cattle Egret – 2
Black Kite – 14
Marsh Harrier – 2
Griffon Vulture - 4

                                                     13 Egyptian Vultures on the deck

A good morning and a fitting end to our trip, the 2 days with Birding the Strait had been the highlight for me and very memorable, there is no doubt I will be using them again, 1st class.

A big thanks to my mates Lee, Russ and Steve for their great company in making it such an enjoyable trip, I can hear the Pyrenees calling for the next one.