February 28, 2010

February 2010 Highlights

Redbridge Birdwatching - February 2010 Round up

Considering the viciousness of the cold that continued form January right through February, we have had another pretty hot month when it comes to birds visiting the borough. By the end of February we have seen 96 species so far this year, which is 2 ahead of this time last year!

Wildfowl: We should start with mentioning the weak 'at deaths door' juvenile Mute Swan which was rescued from Fairlop Waters on the 13th. This Swan was so weak it was unlikely to make it to the end of the day, but now stands a great chance of survival (very likely a Eagle Pond, sometime in the near future). The number of Mute Swans has remained consistant with Januarys count of 53. The additional pair at Valentines Park have remained throughout on Long Water and the Ornamental Pond, bringing hopes of 2 breeding pairs there this year. Bizzarely, a Barnacle Goose put in a brief appearance at the Pond in Woodford Bridge outside St. Pauls Church on the 5th. Rarer still a Brent Goose (dark bellied race) was at Fairlop Waters from 12th-21st, this was the first site record in 19 years. The pair of Egyptian Geese has remained resident in Valentines Park although appear to be missing the last few days. Duck numbers increased during February, especially at Fairlop Gravel Works (Area D) where a peak of 87 Teal and 56 Shoveler were reported as well as strong numbers of Pochard, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. At least 1 pair of Mandarin remained at Knighton Woods. The influx of Wigeon at Fairlop Waters in January continued over into February with the last sighting (of 11 birds) on the 14th. Also the site hosted a female Goldeneye which was a presumed migrant as it was feeding so enthusistically so close to the bank of the boating lake on the 27th. The Water Rail in the Dell at Wanstead Park continued to show well throughout and an unusual sighting for the location was a male Pheasant on Wanstead Flats that put in an appearance for a few days in mid-February.

Waders: The Lapwing flock in the Fairlop Gravel Works (Area D) peaked at over 500 birds, and the sites Golden Plover flock increased back up to at least 48 birds. Up to 4 Green Sandpipers have remained present there too and a record number of Snipe returned there after the thaw, with nearly 30 being recorded on several occasions. A few Snipe were also present on Wanstead Flats and Fairlop Waters CP. February brough us 2 more Woodcock sightings, firstly at Area D on the 13th, and latterly by the lagoon in Fairlop Waters CP on the 27th. Little Egrets put in 3 appearances in spite of the cold and height of the swelled rivers, firstly on the River Ching (Hatch Forest on the 10th) and then back at its traditional 2009 haunt on the Roding at Woodford bridge on the 11th and the 13th).

Gulls: Valentino the Meditteranean Gull has continued to show well at Valentines Park almost until the end of the month, staying longer than usual. He was last seen on the 25th, and is now presumed to be on his way back toward his summer-house at Anwerp. All our sightings this winter are being passed on the the ringers in Belgium. Also a Great Black Backed Gull was reported over Wanstead Flats on the 23rd. That location has held increasingly larger numbers of Gulls as migrant birds were added to our winter flocks, and recently there have been c1000 Common Gulls and up to c1500 Black Headed Gulls there in some impressively large flocks.

Birds of Prey: Sparrowhawk sightings increased in number with 14 birds being located in the borough. Kestrels also continued to show well areound Fairlop, Area D and Wanstead Flats especially. Single sightings of Buzzard(7th, Eagle Pond) and Peregrine (24th, Valentines Park) were noteworthy. A Tawny Owl was seen in Wanstead Park on the 4th and 2 Little Owls were present near last years breeding site at Aldborough Riding Stables on the 2nd, but have not been seen since.

The Rest of em: Area D has held an impressive flock of Stock Doves throughout February, peaking at 44 birds, other Stock Doves have been recorded in Fairlop Waters (2), Bush Wood (5) and Wanstead Park (4) and Valentines Park (2). Ring Necked Parakeets have continued to show frequently in Wanstead Park and Wanstead Flats, and have been nesthole prospecting at both locations. The Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the Dell at Wanstead Park contined to present. Skylark and Meadow Pipits have both begun displaying at Area D, Fairlop Waters and Wanstead Flats with a total of about 40 of each species being recorded. 6 Grey Wagtails remained in the borough and Kingfishers were recorded at Hatch Forest (1st), Wanstead Park (5th & 9th) and Valentines Park (12th & 16th). Over 1000 Redwing were recorded accross the borough and Fieldfare remained in smaller numbers. Stonechat and Chiffchaff were notably absent but Blackcap were recored in 4 locations (totalling 6 birds). Coal Tits were recorded singing in Wanstead Park, Hainault Forest and Knighton Woods. Nuthatches were also reported at the same 3 locations and Treecreepers were seen again in Claybury Park. Up to 12 Siskin were present in the Dell at Wanstead Park, and another 3 birds regularly visited a Woodford Green garden. 6 Lesser Redpoll were at Wanstead Flats on the 5th and another 2 were at Fairlop Waters on the 15th with a very probable Common Redpoll. Linnet numbers begain to pick up, with around 20 being seen at Fairlop Waters and Area D. 3 were also on Wanstead Flats on the 20th. A female Brambling was in Knighton Woods on the 10th A male Bullfinch was in Roding Valley Park on the 5th, and 2 days later a pair were seen in Hainault Forest. Reed Buntings remained present on Wanstead Flats and at Fairlop.

Number of species seen by the end of January: 93
Number of species seen by the end of February: 96 (Barnacle Goose, Little Egret & Common Redpoll were added to the tally during February)

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