Saturday 20th December 2014.
Early this morning, I met up with John Goodall by the small car park at Thornham Lane, Thorney Island. with Scruff. Though it was overcast and the sun hadn’t quite come up yet, it was still relatively mild, until we reached the sea wall, where the southerly breeze made it much colder.
The Horse Paddocks to the north of the footpath were flooded still, but no Water Rails were on show here today. A Chiffchaff was heard, but proved too elusive to find in the brambles. A Cettis Warbler was also heard somewhere in the reeds, south of the footpath and again, remained hidden. The tide was on the rise within Emsworth Harbour, but a scan over the water revealed nothing but several flocks of Brent Geese bobbing on the water.
The Little Deeps was rather quiet, with just a few dabbling duck at the far end of the pool, so we carried on south. It wasn’t till we reached the Great Deeps, where there was a lot more activity going on. John spotted a Kingfisher flying low over the water and as I picked it up through the binoculars, I watched it fly towards us then land in the south west corner to land out of view. On the water itself, several Red-breasted Mergansers were flying in off the harbour to land with about a dozen others on the Great Deeps, though quite some distance away from where we stood.
In the small creek leading north from the Great Deeps, the usual flock of Greenshank numbered around 7 birds at first, then something (most likely the Common Buzzard that perched up on a fence post near the Great Deeps) spooked everything and then the Greenshank flew low over the Great Deeps and headed off east, now numbering 18 birds. A Spotted Redshank was heard calling, but I failed to locate the bird.
On the return journey, all was pretty quiet, but a female Reed Bunting was seen on the sea wall briefly then flew back into the reeds on the Little Deeps. A female Stonechat was seen perched on the fence wire adjacent to the footpath. The walk through the paddocks was again quiet, but a male Sparrowhawk buzzed through the brambles, putting up all the Pigeons and smaller birds. A pair of Long-tailed Tits were seen in the brambles and a small flock of Chaffinches were searching for seeds in the last paddock by the main road.
In Hampshire today, the drake Ferruginous Duck was still present on Kingfisher Lake, near Ringwood. The Barn owl is back quartering the fields within the Posbrook Floods, Titchfield, along with a Marsh Harrier. Nearer to home, a Black Redstart has taken up residency in a back garden within North-end, Portsmouth. Keep your eyes peeled everyone. I am putting plenty of food out for the birds within my garden, but nothing unusual yet. I had an email a few days ago from Birdwatch magazine. They are wanting me to write for them for the February issue about where to watch birds in the Farlington Marshes and Langstone Harbour area! Watch this space!