Sunday, 1 January 2012

Lee Valley doldrums

A total of 90 species seen throughout the valley in a thrash from bottom to top failed to disguise the dullness of the current situation. Highlights? Not really, just 2 drake Smew, 3 scattered Red-crested Pochards and a Med Gull. Wildfowl numbers are generally very low, with the exception of Gadwall. This winter has produced some high numbers, with the November peak of 500+ on Holyfield now dispersing to other sites. A couple of Ruddy Duck survive. About 30 Goosander are around, mainly in the favoured Turnford Marsh/Holyfield/Nazeing zone.

Just 3 or 4 Bittern are wintering at 3 sites (but I failed to find any of them). By contrast 30+ Little Egrets are arriving at the 2 roosts at either end of the valley. No Jack Snipe seen today, but these days all the places they are likely to be found are out of bounds.

On the passerine front, winter thrushes were the most numerous birds today, with 500+ each of Redwings and Fieldfares. They seemed to be everywhere. There also seems to have been a recent arrival of Chiffchaffs. I saw three today but up to ten may be at Rye Meads; 7 were ringed yesterday. But where are the finches? Linnet was a noticeable miss today but there seems to be no weedy areas left.

Holyfield/Cheshunt area: 2 drake Red-crested Pochard, drake Pintail, Little Owl, 500+ Redwing.

Girling: 18 Black-necked Grebes, adult Med Gull, 13 Goosander.

Walthamstow Res: 6 Ring-necked Parakeets, 4 Shelduck.

Rye Meads: 3 Chiffchaff, Cetti’s Warbler, 2 Shelduck.

Amwell: drake Smew, Red-crested Pochard, Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Lesser Redpoll.

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