Saturday 23rd October 2021

Around three hundred corvids lifted up from the Venner area as I was driving past the Reedy Ditch.

I decided to head down to the beach first thing to listen for finch passage. The bubbling calls of Curlew and the mournful calls of Grey Plover greeted me as I reached the water. I met up with Ian at the sea watching area, we had independently recorded three Dartford Warblers on our walk down. I saw my first Dartford Warbler in the same week last year, up to six wintered but they moved away to breed.   

The sea watching highlight was undoubtedly a Razorbill on a flat calm sea. Too far for decent photos but great to see. We also saw two red-head Red-breasted Mergansers heading east, two Avocet flying high and a female Common Scoter resting on the sea. A single Lesser Redpoll flying over calling was new for the year.

On De L’Orne Scrape there were good numbers of waders waiting for the tide to drop. Three Spotted Redshank, six Greenshank, four Grey Plover, 152 Dunlin, 102 Ringed Plover, 214 Lapwing and three Redshank which included a colour-ringed bird (left leg – blue over yellow, right leg – black flag over green). Lizzie confirmed that this is a chick ringed in the Avon Valley this year and that it hadn’t been re-sighted until now.

Spotted Redshank

Highlight of the day was watching the two White-tailed Eagles on Venner being joined by a third bird. Steve Egerton-Read at the Roy Dennis Foundation confirmed that our resident male G393, released in 2019 has been back and forth between Needs Ore and the Isle of Wight over much of October. Today he was joined by two birds released earlier this year – G547 (a pretty big female and G815 (a smallish male, but by no means the smallest). All three have been on and off the reserve, the two younger birds likely still returning to the island to feed. He said he was disappointed not to have seen all three of them in the same field like we did.

White-tailed Eagle G547 female
White-tailed Eagle G815 male photo by Ian Williamson
White-tailed Eagle G393 our regular male photo by Ian Williamson
White-tailed Eagle G547 female photo by Ian Williamson

As I headed back to the car 12 Barnacle Geese flew over Three Fields North, I later noticed on Going Birding that they had spent the day on Normandy Marsh.

Barnacle Geese photo by Alan Lewis

After lunch I headed over to Park Shore to look for the reported five Cattle Egrets. I found them fairly quickly just north of Park Farm although their numbers had swelled to seven, my highest ever count of this species.

Cattle Egret photo by Ian Williamson
Cattle Egret photo by Ian Williamson
Cattle Egret photo by Ian Williamson

While setting up the Moth Trap at 4:30pm the male White-tailed Eagle flew over Mary Monts and headed out towards the Isle of Wight. Returning the next morning there were 13 individuals of 6 species in the trap although the temperature did feel lower than forecast and the wind probably deterred too many moths from flying. Highlights were two Flounced Chestnuts, the first recorded on the reserve for more than 30 years.

Flounced Chestnut
Beaded Chestnut
Green-brindled Crescent
Large Wainscot

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