Saturday 23rd May 2015.
Reed Warbler on the Lake.
After my superb early morning check of the moth box, I decided to go birding around Farlington Marshes. Though I wore a fleece, it was generally quite mild and warm when the sun occasionally came out. Recently, three Spoonbills have been present on the reserve and a Curlew Sandpiper (one on Titchfield Haven today) had popped in one afternoon only during the week. What could I find?
How beautiful is that. This Little Egret was by the Sluice gates.
Gadwall near the Point Field.
In truth, I was hoping to find my first Little Terns of the year as quite a few had been seen in this area during the week. The tide was going out on my arrival, so my chances on the west side of the reserve proved slim, but there was always a chance on the west side of the harbour, by the islands. I was really pleased to see there have been some improvement on the reserve and therefore, my hat goes off to those guys filling up the uneven ground around the harbour wall and also this installation of a new bench to sit on. Fantastic. I hope there is more of them to come.
Great Crested Grebes flying north over the channel on the west side.
Walking through the Bushes area to the Lake, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Cetti’s Warbler and Song Thrush were all in good voice. A Sedge Warbler was by the small gate, doing its display flight every so often. A check in the harbour revealed just a few Gull and Shelduck on the mudflats, but no sign of any Terns in the creek or by the Eastern Road Bridge.
The lone Brent Goose on the Deeps.
Female Reed Bunting by the Deeps.
The Lake was fairly quiet too, though several Reed Warblers and another Sedge Warbler were showing well. By the Sluice, a gorgeous Little Egret stood out well in the early morning light, fishing in the still water. Starlings were literally everywhere and the sound of their calling offspring could be heard all over the reserve. It looks as though they are in for a good year due to the amount of young birds present.
The new bench overlooking the reserve on the west side.
Med Gulls looking for worms in the fields.
Nearing the Point Field, a pair of Gadwall were seen rummaging about on the grass and maybe a second pair were seen in the Deeps area. Linnets were all over the place within the brambles and the occasional Meadow Pipit ‘parachuted’ close to the footpath. A pair of Skylarks were flushed by something unseen and flew off into the fields. Out in the harbour, I could hear almost immediately, the excited call of Little Terns. It didn’t take me long to pick one up, fishing over the still water near the RSPB islands along with at least ten more! Even a Common Tern joined them followed by a flock of 9 Great Crested Grebes flying north over the water! A real surprise, was when a small group of 3 Sanderling flew overhead, calling, then flew off high southbound.
Common Whitethroat in song near the Deeps.
The Deeps held nothing that exciting despite a good search in all the small inlets, for a small wader could be easily hidden within one of these. A sorry sight was the lone Brent Goose grazing all by itself and destined to spend the summer here, which happens quite often. While watching another Sedge Warbler singing, a female Reed Bunting flew out of cover and landed on the opposite side of the small stream, intent in picking off small insects within the grass.
Some of the many juvenile Starling present on the reserve.
Another Reed Warbler, near the Info Centre this time.
Sedge Warbler singing near the Deeps.
As I passed the Blockhouse, I came across the new bench that has been placed here looking north west over the reserve. A commemorative plaque for the late Katie Haines, just 18, who passed away recently was on the bench. Sad. But a lovely tribute for what was probably a lovely girl. RIP Katie. I for one, will be using that bench often. While sitting there, I noticed a flock of Mediterranean Gulls feeding on probably earthworms on the grass, in front of the Lake. They suddenly all took off then settled again, to feed some more, with at least 20 birds being present.
Coming up to the Info Centre, where ‘our friend’ sleeps overnight (some homeless chap who kips there every night, it seems), I heard a Bearded Tit calling in the reedbed to the north of the footpath. Sure enough, a female flew low over the footpath and landed out of view in the reedbed opposite. Another bird, a male, was seen further south and a Reed Warbler was also showing well where the reeds had been cut over the winter. A pair of Cetti’s Warblers showed well by one of the tall bushes by the footpath. On the water near the Info Centre, there was one Black-tailed Godwit feeding and a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls preening in the water. Further along the stream, at least 20 or more Black-tailed Godwits were feeding in the water, but no sign of a possible Hudsonian among them! Grumble! The Bushes area was fairly quiet but a Chiffchaff showed well and I caught sight of my first Small Heath butterfly of the year.