Wednesday 22nd December 2021

Amazing to see a White-tailed Eagle in the tree next to the Crop Strip field as I drove along Warren Lane, definitely the closest I’ve been. It flew away almost as I was underneath mobbed by several Jackdaws. I later saw three White-tailed Eagles roosting in the trees at the back of Long Pits.

Lots of Redwing again today, a very tricky bird to photograph as they always seem so keen to keep moving. No Fieldfare again today.

Redwing

As I headed over towards Mary Monts six Barnacle Geese flew over Pullen and on towards Black Water.

I met up with Ian at just after 8am to do some sea watching. Highlights were four Guillemot including a group of three together on the sea, 2 Common Scoter heading east, a single Red-throated Diver and a Razorbill. Last winter I didn’t see any Razorbills at all but this winter so far I’ve recorded 28 bird days!   

We headed to the hides and chased 10 Bullfinch along the main hedge, this is the best location on the reserve for this species and it is my highest count at Needs Ore.

Kestrel photo by Brian Fairbrother

From Venner hide there were 60 Curlew and three Black-tailed Godwit feeding on Wigeon Fields. The Scaup was still on Black Water and a skittish Grey Heron lifted up from one of the new islands out from the NFOC hide.

Grey Heron

On De L’Orne Scrape there were now 13 Avocet. This is a typical count and location for Avocet, there were 14 here in December last year. Numbers grew to 21 by early March, also feeding along the edge of the river. A further increase in numbers came in April with 37 on Great Marsh.   

In the distance over Inchmery Saltmarsh a group of around 100 Lapwing headed our way, a smaller wader was on the right flank, a Golden Plover, it peeled away and dropped down on to the saltmarsh. At high tide at least one Bar-tailed Godwit was amongst the Grey Plover and Dunlin. The juvenile female Peregrine was again on show, this time on the Inchmery side of the river in a dead tree.

After lunch we headed over to Park Shore. From the viewpoint at the top of Park Lane there were 800 Brent Geese and amongst them was the Pale-bellied Brent Goose again. Probably not as well marked as the two birds that wintered here last year.

Pale-bellied Brent Goose (middle bird)

The two Cattle Egrets were still around Park Farm.

Cattle Egrets

From Park Shore there was little on the sea other than a 1st winter Red-throated Diver heading east and a male Eider heading west. There are good numbers of Red-throated Diver in this part of the Solent this winter but I’m still to see a Great Northern Diver, I’d recorded four by this time last year.

No sign of the Russian White-fronted Geese today and no-one reported them yesterday either, perhaps they were just moving through.

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