Sunday 4th July 2021

I saw three different inland Common Terns this morning all carrying small fish back to young birds somewhere. The terns were all heading west and the nearest colony I’m aware of is Keyhaven where there were 115 pairs in 2019. This is nearly eight miles away and so perhaps there may be nearer breeders. Graham later mentioned that this species nests on the saltmarsh on both sides of the Lymington River. The saltmarsh on the eastern side, some of which extends towards Tanners Lane, is not that far from Needs Ore.

Common Tern

Dimitri found a Small Skipper near the water trough near Shore Hide, a patch tick for me. Also nearby, in a sunny interlude a Purple Hairstreak descended from the oaks along Warren Lane before disappearing out of sight into the oaks on the other side of the lane.

Small Skipper

Lady’s Bedstraw was flowering at Wheatear Corner and Centaury was newly flowering along the hedge trail.


From the screen at Venner the female Pochard was still being followed by her five chicks. The 13 Gadwall chicks were of different ages and with four or five adults close by I think this may be a mixing of broods, the male eclipse Gadwall looking very like the females. Gadwall and especially Pochard are good breeding records in Hampshire. There have also been over summering Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Wigeon but no breeding noted for these species.

At De L’Orne flood a large flock of Avocets had gathered together. I later saw that all of the birds from De L’Orne scrape and Great Marsh had disappeared and that these 28 Avocets were clearly a post breeding gathering. There was a fully grown juvenile bird with them, probably the bird from Great Marsh. There was also an intermediate sized chick and two small chicks. With the Avocets were eight brightly coloured summer plumaged adult Black-tailed Godwits.

juvenile Avocet with adult

A Little Ringed Plover was again on the nearby shingle bar. I’m pretty sure that this is one of the Great Marsh pair. It was flushed by an Oystercatcher who landed nearby and I heard the Little Ringed Plover calling as it headed back in the direction of Great Marsh.  Half way back to the hides I saw a Meadow Pipit with food again but this time we saw at least two newly fledged juvenile birds.

juvenile Meadow Pipit

It was great to see a pair of Little Tern feeding together in the river from the Sailing Club. I was hoping that one might catch something so that I could watch it return to a nest somewhere, they may be nesting on the shingle beach. Unfortunately before they had caught anything they were lost to view up the river.

Little Terns

There were two Oystercatcher chicks from different broods on the saltmarsh and also a 2nd brood for the Pied Wagtails in the eaves of the Sailing Club.

On Gravelly Marsh there were two fairly young Lapwing chicks and at 2:15pm I heard a Nightjar churring for about five seconds. There is a pair nesting here and it is believed there is also a spare male. 

I relocated the two juvenile Little Ringed Plover at the western end of the flight pond in the north-west corner of Great Marsh. They stayed quite close to each other and they both flew short distances. On each of my last four visits I’ve only seen one of the adult birds with them and this perhaps supports my belief that the other adult wanders around the eastern end of the reserve spending lots of time in the De L’Orne area although I’m still not sure why he would be doing this.

juvenile Little Ringed Plover

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