Sunday 21st August 2016.
My first Osprey of the Autumn and also my first of the year.
Finally got to do some serious birding today and what better place than Thorney Island. I took Scruff along with me and he rewarded me by rolling in a pile of Fox crap! Though it was blustery, it was still quite bright and though I took my fleece for a precaution, I walked down the west harbour wall in my t-shirt (plus trousers etc!), for it was still quite mild. The tide was out within Emsworth Harbour but at least there were a few waders seen.
Starlings on wires near the footpath.
Flowering Teazel attracting plenty of bees.
I picked up two new year ticks today with a superb Osprey flying high over the Great Deeps and also a pair of Whinchats on the main footpath near the Little Deeps. Thankfully, both gave me photo opportunities, though the Osprey was a little distant. Several Whitethroats were seen darting about over the footpath; flying from bramble to bramble.
Smoke from the School fire over in Selsey could be seen even from Thorney Island.
Redshank in Emsworth Harbour at low tide.
On the Great Deeps, a lone Common Tern was fishing over the water and a Common Sandpiper was seen briefly on the waters edge. Swallows and House Martins hawked insects overhead, while out in the harbour, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit were feeding on the low tide. Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Goldfinch were seen on the main footpath and on the Little Deeps, there was a small gathering of Tufted Duck and a solitary Little Grebe.
Female Tufted Duck having a bathe on the Little Deeps.
Oystercatcher feeding in the harbour.
Record shot of my first Common Sandpiper of the Autumn.
On the way back to the car, I spotted a large flock of Starlings swirling over the fields due to a passing young Hobby dashing overhead and then heading north. There was a good variety of flowers on show which included Greater Knapweed, Oxford Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Great Willowherb and Fleabane. This attracted a lot of bees and insects and my first Lesser Marsh Grasshopper of the year were seen. I even found a Rush Veneer moth perched on a leaf near the main gate, which was unexpected. A Bloody-nosed Beetle stood out well on some plants near the main gate.
My first Whinchats of the year.
As I was walking back north to the Little Deeps, I spotted some small birds on the ground in front of me and they turned out to be a pair of Whinchats; my first of the year. One of the birds perched on a fence post and gave good views. I then noticed four elderly birders staring at something out over the fields and then I spotted it – my first Osprey of the year. Sadly, it was flying over the Great Deeps, a place where I stood only 15 minutes before, so all my photos of the bird were distant ones. The bird circled over the Great Deeps for around 10 minutes until it flew off west over the harbour. Another Osprey flew over Pagham Harbour this morning, which could possibly be the same bird?
Linnet and Goldfinch on the main footpath.
One gorgeous Whinchat.
An interesting episode this week is when I put a photo of a July Highflyer on one of the Facebook sites and a ‘so called expert’ dismissed it as a Yellow-barred Brindle. Not convinced, I sent the same photo to John Langmaid who quickly agreed with my assumption. Just goes to show that the experts can even get it wrong and it is always worth getting a second opinion. I never had the moth box open last night due to the strong winds, but over the last few days, I have added Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Archips podana and Eudonia alpina to my year list. I finally managed to do a spreadsheet of my micro moths for the year and with the micro moths combined, I am on 187 species for the year in my garden. Will I get to 200?