Saturday 1st May 2021

Ian organised a Bird Race for 1st May to attempt 100 species in the day, all at NO. We met at St L’s Barn at 4am. Our initial targets were Tawny Owl and Barn Owl and Woodcock with the thermal camera. We had no luck with any of these and we headed to S’s Wood for 5am. The highlights here were Tawny Owl, Cuckoo, Jay and Snipe all calling. We also saw Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch and an unexpected Firecrest. The main things we missed which we might subsequently struggle with were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goshawk, Marsh Tit and Coal Tit.

Next stop was Reedy Ditch where an immature Lesser Black-backed Gull went over.

A brief stop at MMs and a sea-watch produced several Common Terns going east, a Grey Plover on the beach and a Wheatear at W Corner. In the week I had seen Little Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit all on Gt Marsh but unfortunately there was no sign of any of these birds today. We therefore headed to the hides at around 11am more than a few species behind where we needed to be to hit 100.

Sandwich Terns top photo by Ian Williamson

In the hides area we picked up an unexpected Common Sandpiper and Raven and a hoped for but not guaranteed Sedge Warbler. We were slightly disappointed not to get Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Black-tailed Godwit which I had seen here in the week.

Sand Martin and Common Sandpiper

We needed to continue catching up and another sea-watch produced a flurry of unexpected highlights – Common Scoter, Little Tern and Sanderling with a newly arrived Lesser Whitethroat. This brought us to 95 before our 3 three hour Peregrine Monitoring started at 2pm.


The Peregrines took us to 96 before we picked out a pair of Red-legged Partridges near the sluice gate, we thought we were going to miss them. Then a group of distant Bar-tailed Godwits towards Lepe and two Curlew on Inchmery. The Curlew took a bit of finding given the good numbers of Whimbrel on the reserve. For the next 2 hours we were stranded on 99 before a Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed at the Reedy Ditch to bring up the 100.

A brilliant and tiring day. We had missed Magpie, Willow Warbler, Eider, Coal Tit, Green Woodpecker, Marsh Tit, Black-tailed Godwit and Sparrowhawk. 105 ought to be possible, maybe next year…

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