Friday 29th January 2021

From the Reedy Ditch, in the half light, seven Little Egrets flew over from their roost to the west heading towards JV. The weather was worse than forecast with strong winds and rain clearing slowly. The wind was westerly and so the sailing club would provide perfect shelter, I headed there first.

I prefer a rising mid tide to watch from the point, at a height of 3m the waders are grouping together on the remaining islands and most are mid-channel. This means that they are at a closer range than they will be at higher tide when they move further away to G Island and to the Inchmery and Lepe side. On the remaining islands around 30 Knot jostled with the Grey Plover and Dunlin.

Dunlin photo by Ian Williamson

There were five large groups of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and I was pleased to see that one of the Pale-bellied Brent Geese was in the closest group. I found the first hrota on the 29th December and today was the fourth time I’ve seen at least one of them but today my photos were slightly better as the birds were closer.     

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

From the sailing club I could see that two Slavonian Grebes were directly opposite the cottages and were very close in shore huddling closely together in the shelter of the natural bay. In the same direction a female Merlin was also sheltering in the lee of one of the weathered trees which are dotted along the shingle spit. Adam had mentioned that the Merlins have moved further west, to G Marsh and P Shore, to escape the Peregrines, and this may be why I hadn’t seen any between 4th November and 23rd January.

He also told me about a Barn Owl roost site. He asked me to keep the precise location quiet and so I won’t disclose it here. I managed to see one of the owls exactly where Adam had said, a patch tick for me. Nearby I picked up a calling Marsh Tit wearing a metal ring on its right leg while a Goshawk was calling from the main group of trees back towards the entry gate.  

Long-tailed Tit and Marsh Tit

I finished by checking the geese flock at the top of P Lane. The brents were fairly close but unfortunately the Pale-bellied Brent Goose was right at the back of the flock. For the third consecutive time at this location I heard a Crossbill calling overhead.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose back centre

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