With a strong south-westerly forecast I headed to the beach for a couple of hours sea-watching. The large bush near MM’s house provided great shelter from the wind although it didn’t protect me from the torrential hail shower.
Most migrating sea birds travel along the seaward side of the Isle of Wight and so sea-watching here can be quiet. Today, as expected, most birds were heading east. It was clear that Common Gulls and Great Black-backed Gulls were moving in good numbers and a distant Lesser Black-backed Gull was more unusual. Mediterranean Gulls were moving west and therefore a lot more slowly than the other gulls.
After the hail shower it brightened up for a while in time for the highlight of the day, a group of four Kittiwakes moving east, two adults and two first year birds. The two-toned wings and black tips were obvious even at long range and so were the black Ws on the two 1st year birds. 25 Meadow Pipits also came in off the sea and one of the Peregrines powered west.
Brown Hare photos by Ian Williamson
On the walk to the hides a 1st year Sparrowhawk flew low over the fields towards B Water. I only saw two Spoonbill today and they appeared to be paired up feeding on the flood in the cattle field. The gusty wind played havoc with their long crown feathers. Two pairs of Black-headed Gulls were using the rafts out from DL’O hide and three Pochard and two 2 Tufted Duck were still viewable from B Water and JV hides.
Another highlight was seeing the Russian White-fronted Geese again on the water’s edge at JV. The Greylags and Canada Geese carried on as normal but the White-fronts stood to attention, definitely slightly nervous of me. I’ll be sad when they head back east.
The high tide waders included five Knot and eight Bar-tailed Godwit and a pair of Rock Pipit were feeding around the Sailing Club House. A Chiffchaff was chasing insects near the Reedy Ditch as I headed home.