This morning I was co-leading a HOS walk with Adam. Before we met the group at 10am I walked to the hides to see what was around. My weather app said it was -1 but feeling like -5, definitely a five layer kind of morning.
Walking into Venner hide I met up with Brian F just as one of the White-tailed Eagles headed straight towards the hide giving me my closest views to date.
This is our regular male G393. He was collected at roughly 10 weeks old from a nest on Mull in June 2019. He was then released from the Isle of Wight at the end of August 2019 when around 20 weeks old. He’s now entering his fourth year. Breeding in 2022 is probably unlikely for G393, he hasn’t got a mate and even though fourth year birds can breed it’s rare. Given the lack of females at a suitable age it may be a number of years before we see a breeding attempt on the Beaulieu River.
Thankfully the eagles were still present when I took the group back later, in fact there were three of them by the time we returned.
There were seven Spoonbill resting on the river, they stayed long enough for the group to see them before they headed off up river, they all appeared to be adults. This is the largest group I’ve seen since the 13 on Venner on 14th March. There were also 33 Shelduck roosting on the river.
I was pleased to see a colour-ringed Redshank again on the saltmarsh near the Sluice Gate. It was the same 1st winter individual which I had first seen on De L’Orne Scrape more than a month ago, on 23rd October, it appears to be wintering here. As we were finishing the HOS walk the pair of Peregrines performed nicely above the Sailing Club.
After lunch I met up with Ian and we headed to Park Shore. As we drove down Park Lane I noticed one of the Cattle Egrets in the field around Park Farm.
On the shoreline we watched a pair of divers, probably Great Northern, headed east well out into the Solent, too distant to identify.
The undoubted highlight of the day was a redhead Goosander which I picked up as it swam slowly right up against one of the shingle islands close in shore. We walked closer for photographs but it slipped away somehow, I eventually saw it again flying east but distantly. Away from inland reservoirs and ponds Goosander records are scarce and this may well be a cold weather movement. It is my first record for the site.