May-June 2016

Observations May-June 2016: Star bird was the Purple Heron, but which species reached a new site record? Which common birds were noteworthy rare visitors?


An area in the South Lagoons part of the Thames Water Works. (Roger Emmens)

May – Jun 2016

Bird of the period was undoubtedly the juvenile Purple Heron which was seen flying over and then relocated and photographed in June. This is the second record for the site and only the ninth for Hertfordshire. See notes on this bird here.

Three Barnacle Geese were an unusual sighting in early June. Records of 455 Gadwall in June (believed to be a site record) and 54 Pochard at the end of May were noteworthy. A pair of Garganeys arrived in May – the male was already starting to moult and we assume that they had failed elsewhere. They were joined by another female in June.

Three records of one or two Dunlins, and singles of Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Wood Sandpiper in May were doubtless migrants. On the other hand, two Kittiwakes in early June were probably just lost.

Up to three Cuckoos included a female, and this species has made a welcome return to our ‘proved breeding’ list this year. Up to four Goldcrests were recorded representing four to five territories held this year – another site record.

More unusual visitors to Rye Meads included a Nuthatch, a Mistle Thrush and a House Sparrow!

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