The major highlight of the month was the first-ever record of cattle egret here, and it was a record that could very easily have been missed. A northbound flock of nine egrets which were assumed to be little egrets flew over on the 29th. When news filtered through that a flock of egrets which passed over Walthamstow Wetlands about ten minutes later appearing to have one bird with a yellow bill (denoting adult cattle egret) came through, it warranted a good look through photos of the egret flock taken here. Sure enough, the flock did contain an adult cattle egret (upper right bird in picture below), but also a juvenile cattle egret (top left).
The other big highlight of August was the visit of a great white egret (below) which arrived from the south in the morning of the 31st, landing amongst the lagoons after a fly around, before continuing its journey north where it was also seen at Walthamstow Wetlands. This species was a very rare bird in the London area as little as ten years ago, but sightings are increasing fast and it is likely to be an annual visitor here from now on.
The almost-guaranteed august highlights here are the common passage migrants willow warbler, spotted flycatcher and common sandpiper. These three species were seen on and off for most of the month. Woodberry is one of the better sites in London for flycatchers, and as well as the frequent sightings of spotted flycatcher (below), we also had a couple of sightings of the less common pied flycatcher. Some other less common passage migrants seen here during August were a lesser whitethroat on the 5th, a garden warbler on the 25th, and a redshank on the 29th.
Common sandpipers are mostly seen over the road on the concrete banks of the West Reservoir but could sometimes be seen flying around here and occasionally landing on one of the tern rafts (below being inspected by an Egyptian goose).
Build-up of moulting ducks is a regular feature of autumn here and August sees the early stages of this. Both shoveler and gadwall increased in number steadily through the month with close to thirty of each being by at the end. The last day of August saw the arrival of three wigeon. Teal numbers remained low with only up to three being seen.
Post-breeding dispersal often brings different birds here in autumn and this was the likely reason for the first kingfisher sightings since last winter. The first was seen on the 25th, with regular sightings for the next week. A family of seven Egyptian geese were very regular through august, usually roosting on the wooden pontoons of the West Reservoir but often flying here soon after waking up. Breeding activities haven’t completely finished with broods of moorhen and coot still appearing and a very conspicuous family of song thrushes (below) fledged in late august, often being seen feeding on slugs on the main path around the reservoir.
The total number of bird species seen here in August 2021 was 71, just above the August average of the past five years.