Tuesday, 18 May 2010

15th May. A 'biggish' day in the valley

Temminck's Stint at Holyfield Marsh

An attempt at a Lee Valley ‘big day’ produced a reasonable total of 103 species. A 3.00 am start to listen for booming Bitterns was disappointing but the usual night shift of Nightingales, Cetti’ s Warblers, Groppers, Sedge Warblers and Water Rails were in full voice. A couple of hours at Amwell from dawn took the list up to 60 species, nothing unusual but the highlights were 2 Oystercatchers, a Snipe, a Ringed Plover, 11 Hobby and a scarce valley floor drake Mandarin.
Holyfield Marsh produced the bird of the day; a Temminck’s Stint on Langridge Scrape, my 10th in the valley over the years, but evidently harried off by the territorial LRPs before many people saw it. A purring Turtle Dove, a Little Owl, Lesser Whitethroat and several Yellow Wagtails kept the list moving along.
Brief trips to Broxbourne Woods and Epping Forest produced singing Firecrest and Tree Pipit.
The Girling was almost bird-less but did add 2 Peregrines (one carrying prey) and 2 Common Sandpipers. A Dunlin, 2 Wheatear, a Common Gull and a Red Kite moving north on the KGV brought up the 100.
A return up the valley added 3 more species, a Marsh Harrier over Rye Meads being the final species before I gave up at 4.00 pm. Notable misses were Barn Owl, Black Redstart, partridges and Marsh Tit.
With 21 Hobbies, 12 Buzzards, 7 Sparrowhawks, 4 Kestrels, 3 Peregrines, a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier noted during the day, the increase in birds of prey is perhaps one of the most remarkable changes in the bird populations over the years, not to mention 8 Little Egrets.

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