Sunday 12th September 2021

There was a significant Chiffchaff movement today with ‘hueeting’ and tail pumping birds all over the reserve, at least 50 in total including five in one small bush alone. Blackcaps and Meadow Pipits were also highly visible in good numbers. I reached Great Marsh as the Great White Egret lifted up from the scrape.

Great White Egret photo by Ian Williamson

There were several loud and low flying Yellow Wagtails and having patrolled the private areas around Gravelly Marsh I decided to walk from the Gravelly cattle grid to Flycatcher Tree north of the Reedy Ditch. In the Droveway opposite Black Water House a Garden Warbler appeared briefly and several Chiffchaff were fly-catching in a sheltered spot opposite.  My first Treecreeper for a while appeared nearby.


A Redstart was feeding and moving along the hedge bordering Droveway North gradually moving closer to the dead trees at Black Water Farm. All along the hedge line it would drop down into the field looking for insects, it did this at least four times.


A single Reed Warbler at the Reedy Ditch is getting quite late now. They had a good breeding season with lots of juveniles around and at least two broods. A singing male was the first long distance migrant of the year back on the 1st April at Black Water. It definitely feels like the changing of the seasons when the last of them departs again. 

There were good numbers of Wheatears today with at least ten seen.


Next I wandered over to the hides where one of the Ospreys was hunting over the De L’Orne area. A single Whinchat was on the furthest post along Whinchat Fence.

High tide was at 3:40pm and so we headed over to Inchmery for my WeBS count. This month Ian and I are doing the two sectors together so that he sees my routine and I can see his, this will be handy if we ever need to cover each other.

At Inchmery highlights were building numbers of Oystercatcher and Redshank, 110 and 81 respectively before a juvenile Osprey flew right over our heads flying purposefully on to Lepe. Later a second individual was seen catching a fish off the Warden’s Hut. The splash was visible from our position nearly a mile away.


We headed back to Needs Ore to complete Ian’s sector. The Great White Egret was in the Reedy Ditch but took off as soon as we got out of the car, it eventually landed on the river beyond De L’Orne. On the walk over the flooded fields a young Hobby dashed over the boardwalk chasing Meadow Pipits. One of the Ospreys had caught another fish and had settled on the fence posts which run directly away from the new De L’Orne hide.


The flood area which spills over from De L’Orne lagoon towards the boardwalk has been good for waders and today a major highlight was finding nine juvenile Ruff feeding together, one of the highest Hampshire counts in recent years. One of them was much smaller and raised the heart rate temporarily although it proved to be a small female. I’ve been visiting Needs Ore for a full year now and Ruff is the 175th species I’ve seen. A stretching year list target for future years.

Ruff photo by Ian Williamson

Other highlights on the WeBS count included building numbers of Wigeon and Teal, 51 and 379 respectively, most on Gins East. Also 20 Pintail and a Jersey Tiger.

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