Four Common Lizards born last year were out basking on old car tyres on a south-facing slope at Thames Road Wetland at 13.30 today (19th January), despite some of the water on the site being frozen over, and frost laying throughout the day on the top of the sewer pipe bank and below its north face. They all looked in good condition. This follows reports of Lizards seen basking at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes on January 11th.
On arrival at the site around 10 a.m. there was the beautiful sight of frost-laden Common Reed seed heads lit up by the low winter sun. A dark bird with a flash of white was briefly glimpsed dropping into the reed-swamp, then shortly after flying out again. I’m 85% certain this was a Green Sandpiper, which would be a new site record. The fact that it flew off towards Crayford Marshes (from where Ralph Todd happened to report one today) and didn’t come back strengthens that opinion as the Snipe (one was flushed later) almost always come back down within the site.
There were 9 Teal at one point, a Cetti’s Warbler was heard as usual, plus 2 Water Rail.
By lunchtime, when the regular group of volunteers had cleared the wetland and some of the riverside path of large quantities of litter, including a pair of handcuffs (it all happens in Crayford, folks) the frost had largely melted away and it was really quite warm with almost no breeze. Besides the people, the fairly free roaming horses had been up on the top of the bank earlier on, undoubtedly warming themselves in the bright sunlight too.
From 16.18 to 16.55 some 92 Carrion Crows flew over the wetland making their way towards Crayford and wherever this particular group of birds roosts for the night. Just before the last of them went over, it now being dusk, a Little Egret flew swiftly overhead heading upriver.
Chris Rose. Site Manager.