Wednesday 8th September 2021

I arrived around sunrise and already there were several Migrant Hawkers on the wing. In fact over the first hour these dragonflies outnumbered the birds. Grey Wagtails continued to be vocal overhead with the odd Yellow Wagtail still moving through.

Migrant Hawkers photo by Ian Williamson

The early sun had just broken through as I checked the private areas around Great Marsh. I rounded the corner carefully to view the scrape and was pleased to see the Great White Egret feeding close by.  

Great White Egret

Another place I approach very carefully is the area around the causeway at the eastern end of the Flight Pond. There are often nervous Black-tailed Godwit or Snipe here and today a regular Green Sandpiper watched me suspiciously before fleeing to the other end of the pond.

Green Sandpiper

I headed past the low islands of blackberries and gorse with Whitethroats churring in good numbers. An olive-brown passerine flew across, rather weakly, in front of me. The long undertail coverts and rounded tail gave the bird a tapering pointed look at each end and together with a streaky back it definitely looked like a Grasshopper Warbler.    

It dived deep into the brambles. I walked around the other side hoping for a better view and eventually it flicked up briefly before disappearing again. I could then see it deep in the brambles and could see a longish pulled out acrocephalus-type bill with a plain face and a streaked crown confirming the ID. Graham has ringed four Grasshopper Warblers on Great Marsh this autumn but seeing them otherwise is almost impossible and my main hope had been to hear a singing male in the spring.


I didn’t have much time to visit the eastern end of the reserve but did manage to see the Osprey in its favoured tree  directly below Calshot Tower as you look from De L’Orne Hide/screen. A distant single Whinchat was perched on the bushes along the edge of Three Fields East.

Mottled Grasshopper

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