The first bird I heard on arriving was a Green Woodpecker in Three Fields South, it’s only my third record this year, all heard only. In fact I’ve only seen a Green Woodpecker once in the last 12 months.
On Sunday I saw the start of Willow Warbler passage. Today I saw my first autumn Sedge Warbler, another fairly common species which doesn’t appear to breed at Needs Ore. The last Sedge Warbler I saw or heard here was on the 9th May near the De L’Orne hide.
Half way across the flooded fields near the boardwalk I flushed a very young Skylark, too young to fly properly. With an 840mm equivalent focal length and needing to be standing above the bird due to the long grass it was impossible to avoid an extreme close up image. The bird still retains some of the eye lash-like downy feathers above the eyes.
On Black Water I saw another Little Grebe chick, the fourth different juvenile although I’ve never seen more than one at a time. This one was the youngest I’ve seen and it was calling and chasing its parent incessantly.
I met up with Adam briefly, earlier he’d seen an Osprey heading down the Beaulieu River. A little later, at 9:30am, I was at the De L’Orne screen and managed to pick up the Osprey in the distance heading over the Sailing Club and then appearing to head out over the sea towards the Isle of Wight. A patch tick.
On the insect front Lesser Marsh Grasshoppers appear to be the commonest grasshopper on the reserve, Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) the commonest bumblebee and Gatekeeper by far the most abundant butterfly.
Lesser Marsh Grasshopper and Gatekeeper
I managed to find my first Short-winged Conehead of the year, a male in long grass in the flooded fields near the boardwalk.
Another common bumblebee on the reserve is Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius). The large swathes of Bell Heather on Gravelly Marsh attract good numbers.
I always pause before getting to the boardwalk to check the mud on the edge of the flood. Today a Green Sandpiper was standing motionless underneath the bank while a single chestnut-coloured Black-tailed Godwit was feeding in the deeper water. I heard and then later saw a Whimbrel on De L’Orne scrape along with seven Greenshank who were shimmering in the heat haze. Back at the car another Sedge Warbler showed well, the third of the day, but it had disappeared by the time I grabbed my camera.
As I stepped on to the causeway at the eastern end of the flight pond a pair of Green Sandpipers called in alarm at the western end and they were off before I’d raised my binoculars. That’s 14 Green Sandpipers and 9 Common Sandpipers seen in the last year but no Wood Sandpiper yet.
At the point a Wheatear was charging round flashing its white rump before perching on the top of a dinghy mast and then moving over onto the Sailing Club roof. I’ve seen 19 Wheatear in the last year of which 7 have been here near the Warden’s Hut and 8 have been at Wheatear Corner.
Also at the point a Linnet showed nicely, having an empty backdrop really helps. They have bred in very good numbers at Needs Ore especially at Gravelly Marsh.
As I was heading back to the car a pair of very distant Spoonbills headed up the Beaulieu River before appearing to drop down onto the marsh, my first since early May.