Sunday, 2 June 2013

Marsh Harrier, Lee Valley Country Park

Back on the patch today, and reaching Cornmill Meadows at 4.30am to find the meadows covered in a layer of mist.
Bird wise the meadows were really quiet. Only a single Little Ringed Plover of any note. A couple of singing Sedge Warblers outside the hide was joined by a male Reed Bunting.
On the walk back along the river I could hear the barking of a Roe deer.

A quick walk down to the farms in search of Little Owl proves in vain. Since my last visit the usual tree stump that the Little Owls use has lost the top branch of the stump. I hope this isn't going to prevent the owls from continuing to use it in the future.
Little Owl is proving a difficult species to catch up with this year, normally I've added Little Owl to the year list within the first week of the year. It's now June and still no Little Owl seen!

At Seventy Acre's Lake the rafts are fully occupied, but unlike last year the Common Terns have managed to get a few spots among the Black-headed Gulls. On one raft I counted a mixture of seventeen chicks in among the adult birds.

No sign of any Hobbies present over the lake or perched in the surrounding trees. A calling Cuckoo is seen in flight and followed as it lands in the top branches of one of the trees. Giving good scope views.
On the lake there's a pair of Great Crested Grebe in courtship display. Unfortunately out of range of the camera.
Another scan of the lake side trees produces a nice surprise in the form of a female Marsh harrier. A first for me on the patch. Taking the my patch list to 134.
It's quartering a small area of reedbed, occasionally dropping down into the reeds and coming up with a stick in it's talons. After watching it for fifteen minutes it disappears into the reeds and is not seen again.

Heading off along the river towards Holyfield Weir, there's at least five singing Nightingales present in a small area of shrub, with another one further along the path and yet another one singing from somewhere near the overflow car park on the other side of the river.
At the weir one of the Terrapins is out basking in the sun. With a couple of the Common terns coming down the river and skimming across the lake.

On the return leg a pair of Garden Warblers are spotted among the tree branches, which were my first on the patch this year.


  1. Another good weekend you've had!!! Great write up on the Scottish trip, cool that you got a Capper!! Justgit back from Forest of Dean, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Wood Warbler by day. Then Woodcock and Nightjar on the RSPB nightwalk!!
    Still not got Turtle Dove, proving to be a nemesis!!

    Adam Commons

  2. Hi Adam
    Sounds like you had a good trip as well.
    I'll be making a trip for Nightjar soon. Probably need to take some insect repellent.

    I've wanted to see a Caper ever since I started birding more seriously.
    Missed it by minutes last year, so was very pleased to see one this year.

    Turtle Doves are getting scarcer each year. I was lucky to see two at Grove Ferry this year.
    Little Owl is proving very difficult so far this year for me. Hopefully I'll see one this month.


  3. Ah yes, insect repellant!!I used it on my face and arms, so they bit my scalp!! Was worth it though!


  4. Can we find these ducks and cute little chicks in the Lee valley Country park?

    1. Hi Carin
      Apologies for completely missing your post.
      May, June would be a good time to visit if you want to see parent birds with chicks.
      Some more cute than others.