Just west of NP hide I heard my first Lesser Whitethroat of the year, they are often difficult to see and so I was pleased to get a few shots of it singing from the Blackthorn. I noticed a ring on its right leg. Graham believes that it may be one of the returning birds he ringed last year. I managed to hear or see three other Lesser Whitethroats during the rest of the day.
A Red Kite drifted over P Shore, my fifth sighting of the spring quite possibly involving five different individuals. An initial scan of the Avocets on Gt Marsh produced two Little Ringed Plover! They looked quite at home on one of the islands and so I was slightly surprised when they left purposefully, out to sea, 40 minutes later. There were 37 Avocet on Gt Marsh which is my highest count to date, they included a colour ringed bird which is probably from the French ringing scheme although Graham often has difficulty in getting them to respond with details.
By the time I had got to the hides I had counted five singing Reed Warblers including a pair at B Water gate and nine singing Whitethroats but no Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers or Blackcaps. The male Marsh Harrier was quartering over BW. He looks as though he is approaching adulthood, hopefully they may breed.
Whitethroat and Reed Warbler
While I was near B Water hide Phil Hawkes reported an Arctic Skua heading east through the Solent. I decided I would head back from the hides to sea-watch from MMs. The winds were around 20 mph and from the east. I sheltered in the lee of the bush and Joost joined me soon afterwards. At 9:45 am I watched a dark phase Arctic Skua appear from the west. It headed rapidly east with a buoyant but powerful flight. Even more unexpected was a Fulmar which flew west at just before 10:30 am.
Other birds heading east included nine Sandwich Tern, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, a pair of Eider and a steady stream of Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel, with 20 and 55 respectively inside the hour.
It was brilliant to see my first Lapwing chicks of the year. There were two near the water trough on Three Fields South and another two chicks on V Creeks.
Sandwich Tern and Lapwing chick