September – October 2016
Single Garganeys were present on two dates in September, whilst the September WeBS count of 429 Gadwalls continues the unusually high counts of this Autumn. The rescue Bittern which was imported onto the site in September was subsequently seen at least three times (and photographed), and has since also probably been seen at Amwell.
Red Kites were found on four dates and Hobby on five dates; and an Osprey flew over in September.
Unusual waders included two Dunlin, a juvenile Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank. Returning Snipe quickly built up in numbers to 64 birds. Single Common Sandpipers were noted on three occasions, and up to six Green Sandpipers were recorded throughout the period.
Three Ravens which flew over in October were the fourth record for Rye Meads; with the last three of those coming in the past five years, these impressive Corvids are getting closer!
Up to 60 Chiffchaffs were on site during September and 15 were still lingering in late October; Blackcaps also remained throughout. The last Willow Warblers and Whitethroats of the year passed through, but no Garden Warblers were reported. Two Lesser Whitethroats in late September were assumed to be our last until a late bird was caught in October. Despite close examination this bird was thought to be a standard British late mover rather than a drift migrant from further east.
A Spotted Flycatcher in September is now a less than annual find, as was a Whinchat. A Wheatear present into early October was caught and proved to be a Greenland Wheatear. Up to two Stonechats were present for around three weeks.
Up to ten Yellow Wagtails were attracted to tape alongside the September Swallow roost but sadly eluded capture. A regular flock of up to 50 Goldfinches was seen regularly in October: the number ringed without retraps suggest that this was a dynamic population rather than a wintering flock. Finally, four House Sparrows seen in the South Lagoons in early October was our largest flock since 1st January 2000, so not quite a record for the millennium!
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