Monday 14th June 2021

Just passed NP hide a darter perched up nicely and the all black legs, waisted abdomen and reduced black and yellow patches on the thorax confirmed it as an immature male Ruddy Darter, a patch tick.

Ruddy Darter

A little further along the path to Gv Marsh an immature male Broad-bodied Chaser was on patrol giving me my second dragonfly tick of the day.

immature male Broad-bodied Chaser photo by Ian Williamson

The two well advanced Lapwing chicks were on Gv Marsh although I couldn’t find the younger chicks I had seen in the last week or so. A Brown Hare appeared close by as I watched the Lapwings.

Brown Hare

Slightly unexpected was the group of 14 Black-tailed Godwits which flew over Gt Marsh as I arrived. The Lesser Whitethroat which is nesting here was alarm calling incessantly but I managed only a brief glimpse.

Lesser Whitethroat alarm calls with Avocet and Black-headed Gulls in the background

There were lots of Bombus lucorum/terrestris workers on the Stonecrop flowers but the Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) on the buttercups was a new species for the patch.

Linnet photo by Ian Williamson

An hour of scanning around Gt Marsh produced no sign of Little Ringed Plover chicks or adults, very depressing. There were plenty of agitated Black-headed Gulls and Avocets circling overhead and in total I counted 10 Black-headed Gull chicks and seven Avocet chicks. Although I had managed views over most of Gt Marsh I thought I’d try the raised view over the Marsh from the sea bank. From this excellent vantage point I was delighted to see both of the Little Ringed Plover chicks with one of the adults close by. What a relief!

Azure Damselfly

Just before getting back to the car I checked S Hide Ditch to see the familiar Blue-tailed Damselflies lifting up as I approached and two male Azure Damselflies were new. An Emperor Dragonfly draped itself down from the rushes but was quick to dash up vertically to meet another male Emperor which flew too close. 

Emperor Dragonfly

At the sailing Club the 23 year old Oystercatcher was preening in the seaward side creek and a Gannet was a slightly unexpected find on the flat calm balmy Solent. The Ringed Plover who nested on the road side has finally hatched the eggs and the young have been walked away on to the saltmarsh. This is a real triumph of tenacity for the parents as the nest location meant that they had spent most of the last three weeks dashing to and from the nest as people and cars came close by. 

It’s possible that the Little Terns we have been seeing recently towards the point may be nesting on the shingle. Adam flushed one on his way back from his walk onto G Island last week and I also noticed in the log book that Brian and Val had seen a pair feeding from the point on Thursday. I decided to spend an hour or so looking for them at the Warden’s Hut but unfortunately no luck although the heat haze made things very difficult and distant terns were difficult to identify.

Mute Swan

On my walk across to the hides an alarmed Little Ringed Plover called loudly as it flushed up from the water’s edge next to the boardwalk bridge. I’d scanned the area before I’d approached but obviously missed it. It is probably one of the adults from Gt Marsh even though that is nearly a mile away. On the 3rd June I had seen one of the adults as it flew over my head calling at the eastern end of Gv Marsh, this was probably the same adult moving back to Gt Marsh from the boardwalk bridge.

From the DL’O screen I could see 2 Shelduck chicks with adults on B Water and then on DL’O scrape there were another 14 Shelduck chicks, they formed a long line following the adults towards the sluice gate. After five or six further scans I decided that there were three Avocet chicks on DL’O. Unlike Gt Marsh the chicks on DL’O never seem to get any bigger which unfortunately means that the Great Black-backed Gulls are picking them off fairly quickly.  

Oystercatcher photo by Ian Williamson

From the JV side of B Water a Red Kite floated over the Gins, the Oystercatcher chick was still following the parents on JV Island and there were eight Egyptian Goose goslings poking their heads above the long grass on G West.

Seven Tufted Duck including five males appear not to be breeding unlike the Pochard pair who still have three ducklings following them everywhere.

A teneral female Common Darter rose up from the rushes near the boardwalk and landed in the long grass to harden her wings. The adult Lapwings were calling anxiously overhead and so the chick I saw here last week may still be present but I couldn’t see it. The Lesser Whitethroat was still singing from the Viewing Gate area.

Common Darter

There were lots of juvenile birds on show today including Dunnock, Linnet, Blue Tit, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird and Coot as well as Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing.

Painted Lady

Butterflies included at least four Painted Ladies, a newly emerged Meadow Brown which was new for the patch, several Red Admirals, 7 Small Heaths and a Speckled Wood

Meadow Brown

As I headed home I paused at the Reedy Ditch where there were an amazing 45 Greylag goslings.

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