Spike in Shoveler numbers

Shoveller - DGAs expected, the coordinated waterbird counts for the Wanstead Park lakes, Hollow Pond (Whipp’s Cross) and Eagle Pond (Snaresbrook) conducted on Sunday 8 March for the British Trust for Ornithology showed that most of our wintering wildfowl have now gone. That said, a count of 56 Gadwall in the Park is still an impressive figure, even though it is less than 15 percent of the maximum at the start of the year. Eleven Pochard still lingered on The Basin, but there was little else of note in the duck department – apart from the Shoveler count. For the second March running, Debbie noted a spike in numbers at Eagle Pond, with 24 birds, and there were 17 in the Park. Even excluding the two birds that Anne-Marie noted at Hollow Pond, that makes a very respectable total of 43, the highest count of winter, suggesting that these birds are assembling prior to leaving for continental Europe. Maybe they are part of a slow eastward passage in anticipation of moving off to breeding grounds? We simply don’t know, but it will be interesting to see if they stick around (unlikely) or if the pattern is repeated next year. Otherwise, there are clear signs that Little Grebes will be nesting again at The Basin and Shoulder of Mutton Pond (as well as Alexandra Lake), and both The Basin and Heronry Lake had a brace of Great Crested Grebes. A Kingfisher was briefly glimpsed by Perch Pond and James picked up two Little Egrets on the River Roding. Thanks to All this data provides a valuable resource for the BTO, so thanks to┬áKathy, David, Bea, James, Andrew, Haydn, Saci, Debbie and Anne-Marie for giving up their time on a Sunday morning.

Tim Harris 10 March 2015

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