Sunday 18th April 2021

On the drive down W Lane I paused at BW House to watch a male Kestrel who was perched on the Dovecote, they are nesting here. I headed to MM’s Pools but a Marsh Harrier beat me to it and as a result there were few birds around when I arrived, only a Little Egret enjoying the early morning sun.

Little Egret

Next stop was Gt Marsh and Gv Marsh. Linnets were everywhere. I saw my first Dartford Warbler for two weeks, it was a male in the Ringing Area and a pair of Bullfinches showed well nearby including a ringed bird which Graham first trapped four years ago.


Highlight of the day was a Cuckoo calling at 6:45am. It called again at 7:15am but not again all day. It reminds you of the benefit of heading out early.  Greenfinches aren’t particularly common here but they showed well today and a Whitethroat was singing constantly but moving between song posts in the gorse and scrub adjoining Gt Marsh.


An Avocet wearing yellow flag AX was with 19 other Avocets, down from the 36 I had seen on Thursday although I later saw another eight on DL’O scrape. AX was last seen at Titchfield Haven in July last year. It was ringed as a chick at Gt Marsh in the summer of 2018 and at 3 years old it is now mature enough to breed.

Our Peregrine monitoring was from 8am to 11am and passed without issues. A Sparrowhawk flew over the river towards Exbury and a Whimbrel was close by in a marshy creek.

Whimbrel photo by Ian Williamson

Once we’d finished we headed to the hides and on the way found another five Whimbrel feeding in the Wedge Field. In the warmer weather there were more butterflies on the wing with fresh Speckled Woods, a Peacock and a couple of Large Whites. Several Buff-tailed Bumblebees were also looking for nesting holes.

Speckled Wood

The Reed Warbler at B Water gate was singing constantly but again failed to show for a photograph, maybe next time. The juvenile Russian White-fronted Goose was still present on Venner Island with a pair of Wigeon lingering and a pair of Pochard perhaps thinking about breeding. I wonder if the juvenile White-front may stay here for the summer. I know that Roseate Terns, for example, stay on their wintering grounds in Ghana during their first summer before heading north to breed when they are two years old.

A Chiffchaff jumped out in front of us giving excellent views. You can see the short primary extension (obviously shorter than the tertial length) which is a good ID feature separating this short range migrant from the longer range Willow Warblers (who have longer wings)


I checked the AudioMoths and thankfully both were still flashing green meaning that the batteries had lasted and everything was still working. It may well be, however, that there will be few Nathusius Pipistrelle records given the colder weather we’ve had. I reset the timer, inserted new batteries and new SD cards. I was just about to head to Lepe to sort out the AudioMoth there when I heard that there was an issue at G Island with paddle boarders sunbathing very close to the Peregrine nest.

I headed back and arrived to hear that the intruders hadn’t heard the Loud Haler siren and also didn’t hear the shouts. The Harbour Master was called but they aren’t insured to go out on the Solent and as the paddle boarders were on the seaward side of G Island there was nothing they could do. Thankfully they left after about 30 minutes.

While we were chatting near the Warden’s Hut I heard the classic rippling call of several Whimbrel and looked up to see 45 heading east in a classic goose like V-formation, an impressive sight.

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