Thursday 15th April 2021

A male Shelduck was head throwing in display on NP and a female Pochard swam low hugging the reed bed. Shelduck will certainly breed here and the Pochard may try although not many do in Hampshire.

Shelduck

There was a further increase in Avocet numbers with 36 now on G Marsh. They included the 7 year old who was ringed as a chick at NO and which I saw here on the 1st April. A pair of very vocal Redshank were running around in a courtship chase.  

Pochard, Redshank and Egyptian Geese

On Venner South a huge flock of 141 Mediterranean Gulls, mostly adults, were resting on the grass. There were perhaps 250 in the general area and local breeding for some of them seems likely. In 1968 G Island was the first place where Mediterranean Gulls bred in the UK.

Mediterranean Gulls

A pair of Little Grebes came very close to us in B Water hide and with the sun still low behind us the colours were intense. I caught the male while singing, the babbling trill that is part of the soundtrack to spring at NO.

Little Grebe

The Marsh Harriers were actively displaying and repeatedly dropping into the base of the reeds near the trees which border the northern side of B Water. This is the same place that I saw a male and female carrying nesting material last week. At one stage two female types tussled mid-air.

Marsh Harriers

While in B Water hide I watched the White-tailed Eagle lift up into view over the Gins. I first saw it in this general area two weeks ago but this time it was much closer. On Tuesday it had spent most of the day on the ground near the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, roughly in the direction we were looking. This bird is a 2019 released male.

White-tailed Eagle

There was no obvious arrival of migrants with unchanged numbers of Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs. The juvenile Russian White-fronted Goose was still on JV Island with the Barnacle Goose resting only a few yards away.

Barnacle Goose and Russian White-fronted Goose photos by Ian Williamson

A lingering group of 8 Great Crested Grebes floated off shore from MMs house. The Egyptian Goose pair shepherded their eight chicks into the reeds at the back of the Reedy Ditch and a smart White Wagtail was new on the Warren Flash side of the ditch.

White Wagtail

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