Chris Farthing’s Woodberry bird highlights: June 2019
June in the birding calendar is mostly about breeding, but as the month goes on the chances of getting more unusual species increases. Subsequent to breeding, juveniles tend to disperse and can turn up in new territories, and although the autumn southern migration period is still some time away, birds which have been unsuccessful at breeding will return south early and wading birds particularly have turned up here in the past from late June.
Although we didn’t have any failed-breeding waders this year, post-breeding dispersal was responsible for the highlight of the month, when a Nuthatch (main picture above) was found on the morning of the 28th, and the bird stayed for the remainder of the month. This species is a common non-migratory woodland bird but hasn’t been seen here since 2015.
Another highlight of the month featuring a fairly common bird was the arrival on June 9th of a very young-looking juvenile black-headed gull (picture 1 below). This species is very common here in winter, but the nearest breeding birds are around ten miles away. It appeared after a very windy night, and after a few days here, was last seen flying off with a group of adults of the same species. It has been a poor year here for common terns (2), but we have had fairly regular visits through June of a single bird, with two birds seen together on one occasion. The only other unusual seabird here in June was a great black-backed gull on the 8th.
If a bird species doesn’t breed on site or in the near vicinity, normally common birds can become scarce, and we had only a single visit each from Egyptian goose and green woodpecker (3) in June. Peregrines haven’t bred within about a mile radius of the site but towards the end of the month a family have been seen a few times, with at least 3 birds being seen flying together.
Although the nuthatch was the highlight of the month for the regular birders here, the most notable sighting here for the London area in general was a firecrest (4) which was present on the 11th. This species is encountered in London fairly regularly in winter, but summer records are unusual. Firecrests are Europe’s joint smallest bird with the goldcrest (5), juveniles of which have been regular along the woodland trail in late June. It still isn’t clear if sedge warblers (6) have bred here this summer but after plenty of sightings during spring followed by a lull, there was singing male bird here on the 15th.
The total number of bird species seen here in June was 60, which is around average for June in the last few years.
[Photos by Chris Farthing]