The first Willow Warbler of the autumn showed well near the Shore Hide. A typically striking yellow autumn bird with a strong supercilium and eye stripe and compared to Chiffchaff a yellower face and breast with paler legs. I started visiting Needs Ore in mid-September and all of the Willow Warblers had already passed through by then, they migrate further than Chiffchaff and so start earlier.
In the ditch next to the gate at Black Water a family of Reed Warblers were active. One of the first migrant birds this year was a singing Reed Warbler in this exact location. They’re usually elusive but first a fledgling from a second brood showed nicely and then an adult bird carrying food. From laying to fledging it takes only 4 weeks and so there’d be time for lots of broods but they tend to stop at two.
There were five Greenshank on De L’Orne scrape and a juvenile Lapwing just below the screen.
I looked back towards De L’Orne flood and watched a Green Sandpiper feeding on the water’s edge underneath the overhanging grass. The family group of two adult and three juvenile Avocets were still present on De L’Orne flood and in the afternoon they were joined by another seven Avocets, all adults.
The seven Shelduck chicks were on Venner again. Laying to fledging can take 80 days, a long process. Only 16% of Shelduck chicks make it two years old and so to have seven chicks at this stage is pretty good.
I saw my third different juvenile Little Grebe on Black Water and later there was another juvenile on Pullen. It’s been a good year for them after several poor years which may have coincided with the presence of Otters in the area.
On Great Marsh Fleabane was flowering and a 2nd brood Speckled Wood landed on a sheltered leaf but it was quiet again bird wise although it was good to see two juvenile Lapwing on the causeway at the end of the flight pond.
The shingle beach is closed from the 1st March until the 31st July and so the No Access signs are taken down around now. There was one left opposite the cottages and so I walked the kilometer to collect it.
On the way I noticed several new flowers – Yellow-horned Poppy, Sea Holly and Restharrow and I also flushed two Wheatear.
There were 25 Common Terns and 5 Sandwich Terns fishing in the Solent and a small party of them came in close and then landed on the beach. I crawled into position and managed to get quite close and it’s always nice to see juvenile birds, there were at least two.
juvenile Common Terns
Friday’s Sand Martins and House Martins were feeding on Venner again and they included at least two juvenile House Martins. The rain started while I was at the Venner Screen just as a group of Starlings landed on the fence line. On this juvenile bird you can see the new first winter greater coverts as well as new inner primaries, a newly grown middle tertial and new 1st winter breast feathers.