Sunday 5th December 2021

I met up with Ian at Inchmery for our WeBS count. Birding highlights included two White-tailed Eagles together out on the saltmarsh appearing quite amorous. It looked like our male G393 and one of the large females, perhaps G547.

White-tailed Eagles video by Alan Lewis

Finding the Scaup out in the creek south of the quay, around a mile from Black Water, was a surprise and we enjoyed good counts of 209 Grey Plover and 53 Pintail.

The excitement highlight was getting a call from Alan who was at the Sailing Club watching three Velvet Scoter feeding out on the sea.

We had just finished the Inchmery part of the WeBS count and so we raced back to Needs Ore, thankfully the scoter were still on show as we joined Alan, Simon and Dimitri at the Sailing Club. We had a few minutes of the scoter on the sea before they flew off east revealing their striking white secondaries. A patch tick.

Velvet Scoter video by Alan Lewis
Velvet Scoter photo by Alan Lewis

Velvet Scoter breed on Scandinavian coasts particularly northern Norway and they winter along the Baltic Coasts and some reach the south and east coasts of the UK. These three are almost certainly the birds that have been off Brownwich and Hill Head for the last two weeks, only 6 miles to the north east as the scoter flies.

Philip, who was watching the scoter from Lepe as they sat on the sea opposite the Coastguard Cottages watched a fourth fly west through the middle of the Solent well out from Mary Monts.

The Needs Ore part of the WeBS count included the Scaup again on Black Water. Once we’d finished the WeBS count we decided to do a bit of sea watching from Mary Monts. A Razorbill appeared about 10 metres off the shoreline and then a second bird did the same thing. The lack of vertical white line on the bill suggests that this is a 1st winter bird.

1st winter Razorbill

We picked up my Black-necked Grebe from yesterday afternoon which Alan had just seen distantly from the Sailing Club and amazingly a Slavonian Grebe swam in to join it.

Black-necked Grebe and Slavonian Grebe

I spent an hour at Park Shore looking through the Brent Goose flock. Just like yesterday the geese were in an awkward position just north of Park Farm where I could only get distant views and where the long grass obscured lots of them. I did, however, manage to pick out a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. A pair of Redpoll flew over as I was searching through the geese.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

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