At just after 7am and as I was about to get to the right turn next to St Leonard’s Barn a Barn Owl suddenly flew alongside the car and kept pace with me for a hundred yards or so, we exchanged eye contact for a moment, an excellent start to the day.
By the time I got to the Reedy Ditch it was clear just how dense the fog was. A Firecrest appeared close by and a female Goshawk was giving a single note call from the small wood to the south. A Hawfinch called as it went over but I didn’t see it, it does seem very likely that there is a roost nearby.
The fog didn’t really lift properly until 11am which meant a lot of hanging around waiting. Once things cleared I headed off to the hides. A very distant first year Sparrowhawk sporting white back markings was sat on a post in the distance towards De L’Orne and there was a record count of 18 Spoonbills on the scrape.
Lapwing, Marsh Harrier and Sparrowhawk
Another peak count for me was 42 Shelduck split equally between a group on the scrape and the rest dotted along the estuary. Meadow Pipits were calling regularly and I eventually found 25 of them together in a tree. The wintering Greenshank touched down on the flood water near the cattle field bridge.
As I headed to the beach a Dartford Warbler was calling but I didn’t see it despite the warm sunshine and light wind. A slightly unexpected find was a first year Peregrine sat on the shingle beach distantly from MM’s, surprising because the regular pair failed to breed last year due to disturbance. A group of four noisy Magpies headed over NP hide, the biggest group I’ve seen here.
Atlantic Grey Seal and Roe Deer photos by Ian Williamson
It was around midday and the fog had now disappeared and it was fairly warm. I decided to look for one of the White-tailed Eagles on the Isle of Wight and within a few minutes I found a ‘flying barn door’ circling around the top of the main mast. Not a truly wild bird but exciting nonetheless.
At the Reedy Ditch I wasn’t quite ready with the camera as the Russian White-fronted Geese came over the car at 4pm heading towards the roost at P Shore. I managed a brief shot as they were heading away.
Brent Geese, Russian White-fronted Geese and Greylag Geese
Also heading to roost were five Little Egrets on the island at JV and as the sun dipped below the horizon I picked out two Black-tailed Godwits in amongst the wheeling Lapwing flocks.