Monday 31st May 2021

I’ve been monitoring various Lapwing chicks over the last few weeks and it was great to see four of the chicks now flying and therefore much safer from predators. Two of these fully mobile chicks were on MMs Pools and another two were on Gv Marsh.

Lapwings, fully fledged flying birds

A late Whimbrel flew overhead as I was checking the Avocets. There were two chicks on Gt Marsh, I think it is the same two that I first saw eight days ago, they were looking significantly bigger. Later I saw four Avocet chicks on DL’O. It looks like a different four to the four that were there a week ago as they still looked quite young. The Great Black-backed Gulls probably predated the first four.

The female Little Ringed Plover was still settled on the nest and just as I left to head towards Gt Marsh the male flew past me. I later saw him feeding in the north-west corner of the scrape. It is 22 days since I found the nest with four eggs already laid. Average hatching time for Little Ringed Plover is around 24 days and so they should be hatching soon. The Beach House residents were around and there was a lot of human and dog activity near the nest and so she was constantly on and off the eggs. Once they’ve hatched she’ll hopefully lead the chicks away from danger and towards Gt Marsh – Adam later confirmed that at least three of the chicks hatched on the 1st June. As I headed back to the car a distant Red Kite circled over P Shore.

Swallows nesting in the toilet

Back near S Hide clouds of Blue-tailed Damselflies lifted up from the ditch as I walked along the edge of the rushes, they included the pink form violacea. The Lesser Whitethroat singing near the Viewing Gate was wearing a metal ring on its right leg.

While collecting my Trail Camera from the back of B Water I came across a patrolling Hairy Dragonfly. This is the first hawker species of the year and a patch tick for me. I’d hoped to see one on a sunny day towards the end of May, they’re obviously not abundant here and so I was really pleased to catch up with one. I was even happier to see it land on some nearby brambles allowing some decent photos. You can see the hairy thorax and abdomen which gives it its name.

Hairy Dragonfly

Over on JV Island three Ravens landed in the trees causing a commotion and scattering various ducks, as they flew off an angry Oystercatcher mobbed one of them.

Raven being mobbed by Oystercatcher

A new patch bumblebee species for me was Garden Bumblebee (Bombus hortorum). A small worker was busy looking for nectar amongst the broom flowers, she rejected them all before finally finding one which she seemed to like. It was only then, when she paused, that I could see the two yellow bars which meet at the join of thorax and abdomen. Most of the other bumblebees were White-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) or Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) which as workers are almost impossible to separate from each other.   

Insects continued to make up a significant part of today with two Small Heaths, a Small White, four Speckled Wood and a single Small Copper all on the wing on what was the hottest days of the year so far. 

I photographed a colour-ringed Oystercatcher at the Sailing Club which could possibly be at least 23 years old. Before he could be certain, Pete Potts who ringed it, asked for a better photo of the ring on the left tarsus. It looks yellow but we couldn’t be sure. I’ll need to keep a look out for it again at the Sailing Club.

Oystercatcher possibly at least 23 years old

Two Sanderling and three Dunlin were in amongst several mobile Ringed Plover flocks which dashed past us at the Warden’s Hut. The Peregrine watch was fairly eventful with a particularly ignorant and arrogant paddle boarder ignoring Ian’s repeated polite request to turn back from his route which was taking him straight up the creek which runs in front of the cottages. Ian had walked to the water’s edge to be within 10 yards of him yet he paddled on without even turning his head. After another 30 yards he saw us reach for cameras at which point he reluctantly turned around.   

Another paddle boarder dragged her board across the narrow shingle swatchway which separates the Solent from the Beaulieu River. She was very apologetic saying that she couldn’t cope with the current and wind out on the sea and did it as a last resort.

The silver lining was that a very inquisitive Grey Seal followed both of these paddle boarders and allowed us some close up photographs.

Grey Seal photo by Ian Williamson

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