First chilly snap brings Snipe to Thames Road Wetland

Although I didn’t get out til gone 10.30 this morning (January 1st), there was a chill in the air that hasn’t featured so far this ‘winter’.

On the way to Thames Road Wetland for a solo work session,  a Song Thrush was singing from trees by the railway opposite Old Manor Way playground. At least 43 House Sparrows were around the margins of Perry Street Farm, which had a good number of Gulls on it, plus some 130 Starlings. Another 80 or so Starlings were swirling around Maiden Lane, though there could have been some double-counting. A Heron was stood on the roof of a house at the junction of Mayplace Avenue and Maiden Lane. 12 House Sparrows were on a house further down the road, several clinging  to the pebble-dashed wall below the eaves.

On arrival at the wetland, whistling could be heard from the direction of the ‘lake’, and sure enough there were 17 Teal swimming around on it. A Wren landed briefly on a pile of pulled Reedmace out in the ‘west pool’, and a Robin was in the reedswamp too. As usual there were a few Long-tailed Tits about.

The site’s first Snipe of the winter was accidentally flushed, calling, from the west end shallows and landed away to the east. Another, possibly the same bird, may have been put up from the Wansunt later on. Perhaps the same bird again was disturbed from the east side of ‘western isle’ late in the afternoon.

A Cetti’s Warbler could be heard calling from south of the sewer pipe bank, and almost immediately after, another from within the wetland itself. A Water Rail squealed from the centre of the site, then rather later from the usual south west corner area. I suspect there are at least two of these hard to see birds present.

Work wise, over 5 hours were spent engaged in  variety of tasks, including cutting an internal access pathway, installing Kingfisher (I hope ….) perches of pollarded Willow branches by the River Wansunt, cutting Common Reed, pulling out more Reedmace and piling this on banks as potential grass snake egg-laying heaps.

Chris Rose, Site Manager






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