Four pairs of Shelduck were flying around NP Marsh. Hearing them calling to each other is a treat. The male closely pursues the female with an amazing discordant whistling call with the female calling ‘gagagaga’ back to him. You only here it when they’re close and they seem to fly around endlessly calling to each other.
Alan texted me to say that he had found a Little Ringed Plover on DL’O scrape, perhaps Joost’s bird from yesterday. He said it was displaying. Ten minutes later I was in DL’O hide and watching it, distantly, throwing its breast forward, head towards the ground and with its tail held high behind. It also appeared to be nest scraping. It will be interesting to see if it hangs around. Nearby Phillip F has been watching two displaying birds at Lepe and Adam is planning a shingle island out from DL’O hide which would be ideal for Little Ringed Plover.
On the other side of the hides I noticed the 1st year Russian White-fronted Goose with Greylags on B Water just out from NFOC hide. I wonder if it will attempt to follow the adult birds back to Russia, I last saw them almost a month ago.
Around the edge of JV a mixed group of small gulls fed actively, at least 25 of them were Mediterranean Gulls. Another six birds were on DL’O scrape. The birds on DL’O suffer from Great Black-backed Gull predation and menacingly an adult was stood nearby watching them. Earlier, on G Marsh, 21 Avocet were paired up ready for breeding with several of them already on the islands that Adam created a few years back. Two pairs of Pochard were on B Water. They occasionally breed here so I will keep an eye out for them.
There had been a definite increase in Swallow numbers with birds lingering over B Water, at least 20 with a single House Martin amongst them. A quick sea-watch produced a patch tick, a Sanderling heading east. I haven’t seen any all winter, the best chance is no doubt during passage. A summer plumaged Great Crested Grebe also lingered off shore.
Great Crested Grebe photo by Ian Williamson and Ringed Plover
I’d seen two different Red Kites around B Water over the last week and today I watched two together heading over towards Inchmery. They could be the same two individuals but it’s equally likely they are new birds passing through.
Linnet and Meadow Pipit
I did my Peregrine monitoring with Dad and Dimitri. Not long into the session the two adult Peregrines saw off a young Goshawk who was sat on the ground in the middle of the island probably quite close to the nest. We watched high speed dives from the male with the young Goshawk throwing its talons up to meet the diving Peregrine. The female joined the male and together they drove off the interloper. I’d seen this brown immature Goshawk a few weeks ago patrolling over G Island.