Monday 7th June 2021

I relocated last week’s colour-ringed Oystercatcher and was able to get a better view of the ring on the left tarsus. It was definitely a double yellow ring thus confirming this bird as at least 23 years old. Pete Potts ringed it as an adult at Hamble Point on 28th Dec 1999. It winters near Hamble Point which is 9km away and feeds on wet fields near Pete’s bungalow at Chilling. Mine is the first breeding season sighting in all this time.

Oystercatcher at least 23 years old

The Ringed Plover at the Sailing Club was still sitting on four eggs next to the track. Given the perilous location they have been on and off the eggs countless times and so I hope the eggs have not become too chilled despite the adults amazing persistence.

Ringed Plover bottom photo by Ian Williamson

The Sailing Club Oystercatchers were also still sitting on eggs.

Oystercatcher photos by Ian Williamson

Three more Avocet chicks had hatched on Gt Marsh to join the two well developed ones. There were still four on DL’O scrape of which I think one is from the first brood and three smaller birds from the second brood.  


The Reed Warblers which are nesting near the B Water gate had successfully fledged at least three young.

juvenile Reed Warbler photo by Dimitri Moore

On JV a female Pochard was accompanied by three small ducklings, successful breeding was only confirmed from three sites in Hampshire in 2019.

Pochard and ducklings

A Sparrowhawk dashed across W Lane closely followed by a squawking Jay, the first I’ve seen (as opposed to heard) this year. A ‘teenage’ group of nine 1st summer Mediterranean Gulls dropped onto B Water for an evening freshen up.

1st summer Mediterranean Gulls

On the insect front I recorded Peacock, Small Copper and Green Hairstreak and I noticed in the log book that someone had seen seven Common Blues although I’m not sure where they are on the reserve. They need Bird’s-foot Trefoil as their food plant and this flowers on the Flooded Fields near the boardwalk but there was no sign there.

A Common Carder Bee (Bombus pascuorum) is perhaps the commonest bumblebee in the UK but the worker nectaring on Common Vetch was the first I’ve seen at NO. Lots of bumblebee workers were busy on the large carpets of Thrift. The narrow brown band at the base of the white tail and the golden (as opposed to yellow) thorax and abdomen bands suggest that this is a Bombus terrestris worker and not Bombus lucorum. The males, which join the workers later in the month are much easier to separate from each other.

Bombus terrestris or Buff-tailed Bumblebee worker on Thrift

Others flowers included Sea Campion, Common Vetch, Sea Beet, Ragged Robin, Silverweed, Heath Bedstraw and Lesser Stitchwort

On the sea there was a reasonable movement of terns heading west. A single Little Tern, five Common Terns and 10 Sandwich Terns, several of them carrying sand eels back to the 60-pair colony near Keyhaven. There was also a slightly bizarre very thick-billed Sandwich Tern which raised my heart rate for a while.

Sandwich Tern with sand eel

There were six new Black-headed Gull chicks on Gt Marsh and an unseasonable Black-tailed Godwit was feeding with the Avocets. Unfortunately the Little Ringed Plover chick numbers were down to two.

Black-headed Gull chicks

A Nightjar churred briefly somewhere on Gv Marsh and as darkness fell several Soprano Pipistrelles and Common Pipistrelles accompanied me on the walk back along W Lane.

Soprano Pipistrelle echolocating down to 50-55k Hz

Later – bad news from Adam’s beach walk the next day, Tuesday 8th. No sign of Peregrine eggs or chicks. Perhaps the 70 mph gales on the 21st May had taken their toll, Adam said the layout of the nest site and the tide lines had changed since we visited last, very depressing.

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