Saturday 30th August 2014.
One of the Ospreys on Thorney Island.
John Goodall and I took a stroll down the east side of Thorney Island this morning, meeting John at the end of Thornham Lane. An early shower soon cleared as we quickly found the Ospreys flying up and down the Great Deeps and performing well until they flew off towards Emsworth Harbour to the west. It was a good morning for birds with quite a few interesting sightings that kept us entertained throughout our two hour walk. A new sign has been erected by the houses at the end of the Lane telling everyone that only residents can park here, but we parked just a little back from the houses.
The birds remained distant as they hunted over the Great Deeps.
Soon after the Ospreys disappeared, we made our way up to the harbour wall, enjoying sightings of Common Whitethroats in the brambles and Yellow Wagtails passing overhead, giving off their distinctive call. It felt good for a Red-backed Shrike to be present here today, but no diamonds. A Wheatear was by the harbour wall, perching on the rocks below until flying off north. Swallows and Sand Martins flew through overhead in small numbers, but larger numbers came through to feed over the fields as the morning progressed. A Greenshank was flushed near the harbour wall as it flew off south towards the Great Deeps.
Sandwich Tern flying over Chichester Harbour.
Though it was low tide within Chichester Harbour, there was still plenty to see. A pair of Common Sandpipers flew over the creek near the Great Deeps, heading north. Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Grey Plover, Lapwing and Curlew could be seen on the mudflats, and over the creeks and channel, both Common and Sandwich Tern were fishing. I could hear a Whimbrel calling somewhere in the harbour, then, eventually, I spotted three birds flying south, which I quickly pointed out to John.
Black-tailed Godwit on the mudflats.
As we walked south, more Common Whitethroats were seen as well as a sprinkling of Blackcaps. We couldn’t find any Whinchats within the fields but several Skylarks were seen. As we stopped by the Great Deeps, we noticed there was no further sign of the Ospreys. However, John picked up a couple of Common Buzzards perched on posts behind the brambles. A couple of Kestrels were seen hunting over the fields and a Kingfisher briefly showed as it flew upstream along the adjacent creek by the harbour wall.
Female Blackcap slightly obscured by a leaf near Thornham Lane.
We walked several hundred yards south of the perimeter fence, until we decided to head our way back to the car. I flushed a small yellow moth which turned out to be a Yellow Shell. Butterflies were at a premium with only a single Meadow Brown and a Large White seen all morning. Standing by the Great Deeps once again, we picked up a Green Sandpiper flying away from us, until it settled in deep vegetation on the side of the Deeps.
Juvenile Swallow on wires above the road.
Back at the car, we had a long chat whilst watching some warblers (female Blackcap & Common Whitethroats) in a bramble in the neighbouring field. Swallows were congregating on the wires by the side of the road, as strong reminder that Autumn is truly here. Great stuff.
More Swallows came down to rest on the wires.
In the moth box this morning, there were 43 moths of 16 species. Most notable were a single Yellow Shell, 15 Vine’s Rustic, Angle Shades, 2 Silver Y and a single Diamond-backed Moth.
The diminutive Diamond-backed Moth.