I left a bit earlier than normal as I wanted to try and see Woodcock feeding at dawn with the thermal camera. I also hoped to bump into a Barn Owl. An hour before sunrise I pulled over next to the gate 100 yards before the Reedy Ditch. Ian had seen a Woodcock in this field a week ago. Tawny Owls were calling. Through the thermal camera I could see lots of white hot spots including Roe Deer, Rabbits and Red-legged Partridges and another white dot I couldn’t identify. It was difficult to resolve the shape at this distance but when the bird flew it was obviously a Woodcock.
From the beach a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers headed west and a close Great Northern Diver on the sea was followed by another distant bird flying east and then a third also heading east but much closer. This juvenile rounded the corner and into the river mouth and I later saw it very closely from the Sailing Clubhouse.
Also from MM’s a Slavonian Grebe swam west diving constantly and I then saw another 100 yards away. At first I thought it must have moved without me noticing but I was then pleased to see that there were definitely two in what has been a meager winter for Slavonian Grebe on the Hampshire Coast.
Great Northern Diver, Mediterranean Gull and Slavonian Grebe
A Dartford Warbler called from MM’s grounds and a juvenile Sparrowhawk powered through the trees close by. On the walk back a mobile Long-tailed Tit flock contained a couple of Goldcrests and a Treecreeper struggling to keep up.
Goldcrest and Treecreeper
I finished at the Reedy Ditch and an hour before sunset I was delighted to watch a ringtail Hen Harrier arrive from the east before heading straight over the car and off towards the beach house on P Shore. It looks like an adult female and is likely the same bird that Ian had seen yesterday and which appeared to fly to the Isle of Wight.
Hen Harrier middle photo by Ian Williamson (harrier heading to the Isle of Wight)