First outing this ‘Magic May’ was back to the traditional nightingale haunt at Lee Valley with Isabelle. Unfortunately the satnav took me a different car-park and from there I didn’t know how to get the same spot as last year! However after a longer than usual walk we found our way to the familiar area near Bittern Hide, but we ran out of parking time, and legs, to get to the same place we’d heard nightingales the year before.
Neverthless we heard two Cuckoo and saw one in a tree as we had lunch by one of the creeks. We also saw plenty of Garden Warbler at 70 Acres Lake near the footbridge, a great place for them.
The second and last outing was to RSPB Rainham Marshes for pond-dipping with Isabelle again and after that a walk around about a third of the reserve. We found greater pond beetle, dragonfly nymphs and lots of back-swimmers during the dipping, and on the mini-beast hunt, mosquitoes found us!
Birds heard and seen at the Woodland Discovery Centre, while we were pond-dipping, were Lesser Whitethroat, Song Thrush (I also found a snail anvil with lots of broken snail shells), Chiffchaff and the first of several Cetti’s Warbler (I even saw one later).
On the way back from the pond-dipping, we took a detour through the cordite storage area because of a singing Cuckoo, but we, and others there, did not see it.
During lunch we sat on a bench overlooking the marshes and saw plenty of activity, including Redshank with chicks, a couple of Sand Martin and House Martin, Swift, Kestrel and one or two Water Rail grunting and squealing from nearby reeds.
Friday 24th, Lee Valley Regional Park, Hertfordshire, UK.
Thursday 30th, RSPB Rainham Marshes, Essex, UK.