Sunday 21st March 2021

I watched Water Rails and Redshanks mating as I headed over to the hides. The Black-tailed Godwits, 19 of them, were again feeding on the edge of the flood near DL’O hide although they appeared nervous in the long grass. On the scrape there were 20 Avocet and the Pale-bellied Brent Goose was accompanied by around 100 Brent Geese. There was no sign of the White-fronts.

Coot photo by Ian Williamson

While I was walking back from the hides, at just before 9:30, Joost found a female Garganey on the water’s edge near the entrance to MMs house. I was five minutes away and thankfully it was still there when I arrived. It was in a place where you felt it wouldn’t stay long, perhaps it was newly arrived on the final leg of its journey from Africa. At around 9:45am it flew off west but appeared to land on the other side of MMs house, perhaps on G Marsh and so I decided I would try P Shore later.

Garganey

I hadn’t seen the Peregrine pair on G island on my last two visits and so I was pleased to see them soaring high above the cottages, the male looking noticeably smaller. Last year in late spring several lockdown picnickers landed on G island, the adults abandoned the nest and the chicks starved. This year we are organising a rota to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose and Peregrine

My first two butterflies of the year appeared in a warm burst of sunshine near the cottages, a Peacock and a male Brimstone. There were also several Buff-tailed Bumblebee queens keeping low to the ground looking for next sites.

Peacock photo by Ian Williamson

At the weather station a couple of birders reported a Red Kite, there is a small passage through Hampshire at the moment. Later I did see a Buzzard missing or moulting several central tail feathers giving it a kite-like tail but no sign of a Red Kite. As I got back to the car a quick scan of the sea produced a pair of Eider heading east.

Reed Bunting, Pheasant and Marsh Harrier photos by Ian Williamson

I decided I would head to P Shore to see if I could relocate the Garganey on G Marsh. On the way through I stopped at the Reedy Ditch to photograph a pair of Mute Swans and their reflections.

Mute Swans

Now that winter tit flocks are no longer moving down the hedgerows it is more difficult to catch up with things like Coal Tit and so I was glad when a brief stop at the pines at the top of P Lane produced one in the hedgerow opposite. At P Shore a male Kestrel was hunting for voles diving regularly although usually without luck.

Kestrel

There were five Snipe in one of the larger damp areas but unfortunately there was no sign of the Garganey. The final bird of the day was a Raven honking over the pines near the car park.

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