Tuesday 24th March 2014.
A Carrion Crow with nesting material in the Cemy.
First thing this morning, before I headed off to a client’s house in Emsworth, I took Scruff for a pleasant walk around Highland Road Cemetery. Heavy thundery showers were reported for later today but this morning, it was bright and sunny, though with a northerly wind blowing. I was hoping for a migrant or two, but the best I could come up with was a singing male Chiffchaff within the trees by Highland Road.
Daisy's are pushing their way through.
Not a great deal of birdlife of note bar the usual species. Three Robins were chasing each other within the Cherry Trees and performing that head wagging and stretching display. Was this between the male birds for territorial reasons? It was interesting watching them, nonetheless. The Goldfinches showed occasionally, but there was no sign of any Goldcrests today in the Holm Oaks.
The three Robins with each other.
Daisy’s and Dandelions are starting to sprout up through the recently cut grass, but not a great deal else. A few Bumble bees hurried across the gravestones, but being early in the morning, there wasn’t a lot of insects on the wing. The Jay was seen again, flying from the east side to the Holm Oaks, but again, no sign of the Green Woodpecker. Has it gone to Kingston Cemetery, being a much larger area with more trees? A trickle of Meadow Pipits headed north, but little else of note in the way of migration.
The singing male Chiffchaff in the Cemy.
I had a midday appointment over Emsworth, so, beforehand, I done a walk down the west side of Thorney Island. From the small car park by Thornham Road, a Chiffchaff was in full song and overhead, Mediterranean Gulls were calling. The footpath leading to the seawall on the west side, was nice and dry this time, as I walked slowly along, keeping my ears and eyes open for anything unusual. More Chiffchaffs were discovered along the footpath by the Paddocks as well as a few calling Cetti’s Warblers (though these remained hidden as usual).
The walk down the west side of Thorney Island.
Black-tailed Godwit and Teal within Emsworth Harbour.
The tide was out within Emsworth Harbour and wasn’t due for high tide till around 2pm. There were still quite a few waders out on the mudflats, notably Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwit. A long line of Brent Geese were on the foreshore over on the Hayling Island side and a small group of three Mergansers were seen swimming in the channel. I was hoping for a Sandwich Tern or a Greenshank within the harbour, but no diamonds there.
Med Gull high overhead heading west.
Mute Swans heading north close to the footpath.
As I neared the Little Deeps, I heard ‘mewing’ Common Buzzards overhead and counted 6 birds circling very high up. They did come down eventually and showed very well at times. The Little Deeps was quiet, with just Tufted Duck and Little Grebe the only birds seen. Meadow Pipits went past in reasonable sized flocks heading north, but little else was seen over the fields. A Skylark sang in the sunshine, but it was starting to get a lot cloudier by 11am. The Great Deeps was also fairly quiet and still no sign of any Greenshanks (although I expected them to be out feeding in the harbour, anyway). A pair of sleeping Great Crested Grebes were on the water oblivious of my presence, but not an awful lot else here.
Common Buzzards overhead.
Sleeping Great Crested Grebes on the Great Deeps.
I was soon taking an interest in the flowers and insects present and came across Coltsfoot, Lesser Celandine, Dandelion and Sea Purslane growing by the footpath. Insects including Yellow-legged Mining Bee’s feeding on the Daisy’s and Dandelions plus a Yellow Dung Fly. As I was walking back towards the Little Deeps, low and behold, a Greenshank flew from over the seawall and over the fields and landed in a stream out behind the gorse bushes! My first Greenshank of the year, at last! However, oddly, it never uttered a single note!
Yellow-legged Mining Bee on a Daisy.
Yellow Dung Fly.
The walk back to the car was blessed with even more closer Buzzards and Med Gulls flying overhead, but no Hirundines were seen this morning at this normally reliable site. My friend, John Goodall, had a Swallow last week and Sand Martins have been seen at Posbrook Floods recently. Today, the Ruff was present again near the Titchfield Haven Canal Path. Hampshire’s first singing Willow Warbler of the year was reported in the north of the County this morning. Yet again, the male Blackcap is still singing in the gardens behind our house and still yet to be seen!
Common Buzzard overhead again.