Sunday 21st February 2021

With the warmer temperatures and lots of birds singing it certainly felt like spring. I headed to MM’s, a Dartford Warbler was calling on the walk over. Greenfinches are often tricky to see at NO but today they were displaying, wheezing and enjoying high speed chases. The sea was flat calm and quiet other than a male and female Eider heading west and two of the Slavonian Grebes showing well close in shore.

I headed back for a coffee and as I stood by the car a loud and confident but unfamiliar call set my heart racing. I managed to get onto it, a Ring-necked Parakeet! …or so I thought. The call did seem odd and the bill seemed a little large but it didn’t occur to me that it could be anything else. Ian saw my photos and heard my sound recording and having visited India several times suggested that it was the Alexandrine Parakeet which has been in the Lymington area for a decade although not seen recently. This identification was later confirmed by Nigel Jones.

Alexandrine Parakeet

On the walk to the hides I saw Redwing and Fieldfare and there was a record count for me of 21 Pochard on JV. Two thirds were males, they usually outnumber females in the UK as the females tend to travel further south to winter. There were also 14 Tufted Duck of which 8 were males. Two pairs of Lapwing were calling and displaying around B Water, around 20 pairs normally breed here.

Pochard photo by Ian Williamson

It was low tide by the time I got to the sailing club. I noticed that at least 600 Brent Geese had moved from the estuary and were feeding on the wet grassland around the scrape and the striking Pale-bellied Brent Goose was amongst them. There were five Spoonbill feeding on the flooded meadows to the north of B Water with five others in the area.

Spoonbills

A huge flock of Dunlin (photo directly below) were resting directly opposite the Sailing Club. They looked settled and so I grabbed my hand counter, there were 1,066 in total.

Dunlin – 1066 of them

While watching from here a Peregrine suddenly appeared from the north flying straight at me before twisting and flicking to lose height and speed before swooping up almost vertically to land on the Jetty Mast just 30 yards away.  

Peregrine

As I headed home I stopped briefly at the Reedy Ditch where the four Russian White-fronted Geese were still present with the Brents over towards P Lane.

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