Saturday 24th April 2021

A Cuckoo called at just before 7am as I was heading to count the Avocets. A few Sand Martin drifted east and a Dartford Warbler churred just up ahead. One or two Lesser Whitethroats were rattling away, several Whitethroats were singing and there were so many mobile Linnets that it became tiring checking every bird!


I counted 29 Avocet on Gt Marsh including AX and a double green lime/yellow but no sign of the pair of Little Ringed Plover from Thursday. The two pairs of Redshank spent most of their time looking agitated and half a dozen Teal were still around. A quick look on the sea behind me and I could see that Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit were going past in small numbers.

Bar-tailed Godwit

I headed back to MMs sea-watching bush and on the way Alan reported from Milford Shelter that a Bonxie had gone through the narrows into the Solent and so likely would be heading my way. Clay and Ian were both on their way and within 15 minutes we were all watching the Solent hoping for the Bonxie. Unfortunately there was no sign, perhaps we all missed it, or it turned back or it was sat on the sea.

There was a strong passage of Common Scoter off Milford but apparently they were circulating in the bay and as is often the case none of them came up the Solent. We did see three Gannets and two groups of Common Terns and a blunt-nosed black auk species was close enough to identify as Razorbill.

I also picked up a distant diver heading rapidly east. It appeared slender necked and white headed with rather deep wing beats. Undoubtedly a Red-throated Diver and probably the bird that Alan had seen heading into the Solent. Thirty late straggling Brent Geese also headed east.

I looked over my shoulder while sea-watching and noticed a smart White Wagtail feeding around MMs Pools. I got closer by crouching and approaching slowly behind a tussock of grass. My third of the spring so far and soon afterwards a female type Marsh Harrier flew low over Pullen.

White Wagtail

On our monitoring a young Peregrine dashed over the Island but didn’t draw the attention of the adult birds. My guess is that she is one of the young from the 2019 nest, she headed off back west along the shingle ridge.

A male and female Wheatear ran along the edge of the gorse near the Warden’s Hut and showed well for 30 minutes or more until a Sparrowhawk dashed over the gorse line weaving between the bushes. The first two House Martins of the day appeared and the steady easterly stream of Swallows continued.   

I saw at least 200 Whimbrel and 50 Bar-tailed Godwit during the day but the best views were of grounded birds. A group of 25 Bar-tailed Godwits gradually walked south down the edge of the river and I used the wooden structure near the slipway as a hide.

Bar-tailed Godwit

As I was heading back home the car proved to be a useful hide for close views of the Whimbrel who were feeding in Droveway South.


At the Reedy Ditch there were Egyptian Goose chicks, Greylag goslings and Mallard ducklings.

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