Saturday 4th December 2021

The regular Bullfinch pair flitted ahead of me as I walked along the main hedge. Three Black-tailed Godwit were flushed from Venner South before they headed over to the Gins. After a September peak of 40 birds on De L’Orne Flood it is down to single figures again although in December last year 40-50 birds were seen on Exbury Fields on a couple of high tides.

Long-tailed Tit

Behind De L’Orne on the saltmarsh a lovely adult male Marsh Harrier quartered along the river edge and a White-tailed Eagle appeared briefly low down over the river before landing out of sight. The female Marsh Harrier later dropped onto the edge of Venner Wigeon Fields.

female Marsh Harrier

On Black Water the 1st winter female Scaup was still present associating with four Tufted Duck. This was the most active I’ve seen her, she was diving every 10 seconds or so. The first Greenshank I’ve seen for a few visits was on De L’Orne Scrape, presumably here to winter.

1st winter female Scaup

Back at the car 10 Skylark flew over Shore Hide heading back towards Warren Shore Saltmarsh.

A two hour sea watch produced a lovely and unexpected Black-necked Grebe, my first winter record of this species at Needs Ore. Other than the summer plumaged bird on Venner in July this is the first Black-necked Grebe at Needs Ore for a few years. They used to winter here regularly often appearing inside the river mouth.

Black-necked Grebe

The run of auk sightings continued with another three Razorbill distantly heading east

A group of Red-breasted Merganser (6 female types, one male) were quickly followed by five Eider also heading west (3 males, 2 females).


I had planned to walk out along the spit to check on the Purple Sandpiper, to listen out for a Snow Bunting and to do the Avian Flu checks but the tide was still high (albeit falling) and so there were lots of ducks and geese feeding in the flooded outflow channel and I would have undoubtedly flushed them. I headed back to the Sailing Club instead.

A single Golden Plover and at least five Knot were in amongst the 200 Grey Plover on Inchmery Saltmarsh and a Razorbill showed distantly in the river mouth. Eight Common Gull were roosting almost all of the way to Lepe.

I finished with an hour at Park Shore. A Red Kite was circling over the fields towards Bergerie Farm and there were two Cattle Egrets together in the fields around Park Farm although no sign of anything more interesting in with the Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Cattle Egret

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