Three Avocets spent a few days at East India Dock Basin in March 2018, the first site record of this elegant wader. Found roosting on the island by Biodiversity Officer John Archer on a regular lunchtime visit on Monday 19th, the Avocets attracted a steady trickle of birdwatchers from around London over the next four days, being last seen in the evening of Thursday 22nd.
The Avocet was extinct as a breeding bird in Briatin at the beginning of the 20th century, until a few pairs started breeding on the Suffolk coast in the 1940s. There has been a gradual increase since then, and around 1500 pairs now nest along the east and south coasts. Avocets are a now fairly regular visitors to the Thames and nearby wetlands on the outer fringes of London, but are still a very rare sight in inner London. These may be the first ever seen in Tower Hamlets.
Photos by Tom Speller (header and top left) and John Archer – click to enlarge