Tuesday, July 10, 2007

early July 2007 (summary)

Regular visits to the marshes and the park over the last ten days or so produced little of note (hence laziness in updating the site), but the marshes in particular are full of life. Presently the entire Central Marsh (including the Bombcrater Field) is transformed into an unspoilt and extensive grass and wildflower meadow, with butterfly numbers (and species) providing easily enough to enjoy, as well as dragonflies, and various passerines exploiting the feeding bonanza available.

The Northern Marsh is equally wild and colourful, with extensive sedge and reed covering most of the area; there seems to be Reed Buntings and Sedge Warblers everywhere presently, and Common Whitethroats are perhaps the commonest species at the site. Seeing seven species of breeding warbler on most occasions this summer is really a pleasure at such an urban site.

Hirundines are pleasingly ubiquitous at the marshes, with several pairs of Sand Martin using drainage pipes as artificial nesting sites along the canal, and up to 30 House Martins (most likely from a nearby colony at the sewage works) usually present; Swift numbers vary between 50 and 250, depending on the weather and conditions.

Finches are beginning to flock again, and Black-headed Gulls are drifting back into the area, sure signs of 'autumn' movements taking over from any remaining late-spring occurences. The park, meanwhile, naturally has very limited appeal from an avian perspective especially at this time of year, but the lakes at least provide habitat and very close views for breeding Pochard, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Canada Goose and Mute Swan, as well as omnipresent Common Tern, Grey Heron and Cormorant. A singing Sedge Warbler a few days ago was a rare occurence on site.

The Reservoirs continue to produce very little, through a combination of lack of quality coverage and the time of year, a Common Sandpiper last week being the only notable (if expected) record. Swifts seem particularly numerous this year, and as I write (from the house, near Stoke Newington Common) at least a hundred are circling overhead.