Thursday 27th January 2022

I hadn’t seen any Goosander at Needs Ore until 28th November 2021 but I’ve seen three since then and then this morning a flock of five red-headed Goosander flew west fairly close in shore. Even in flight you can see the sharply demarcated brown heads and photos help with also seeing the neat white chin, the lack of black bar across the secondaries and the cleaner flanks.


Throughout the day there were good numbers of Eider on the sea. There was lots of comings and goings and so it’s difficult to be certain of numbers but I’d estimate 25. A single Slavonian Grebe was joined by three more arriving from the west.

Golden Plover

Over at the hides 63 Golden Plover appeared from the north spooked by one of the White-tailed Eagles. The flock wheeled over the Gins for several minutes before appearing to land on Gins West. I later saw the flock on the flooded Gins looking north from Venner Hide.

White-tailed Eagle
Black-tailed Godwit photo by Brian Fairbrother

The Scaup was on Black Water with a pair of Pochard and as I scanned further right I was delighted to see two pairs of Mandarin Duck.

Mandarin Ducks

They were in the middle of Black Water looking flighty and I think they may have just arrived. Over the next 15 minutes they swam around the edge of the water flushing out anxious looking Teal from the reeds. Once the reed edges were clear they quietly disappeared into them and they weren’t seen again. This is the first Mandarin Duck at Needs Ore for three years and a patch tick for me.  

Mandarin Ducks

There were 60 Brent Geese feeding in Middle Field, the first time I’ve seen them grazing in the fields alongside the Main Hedge. 


On Gull Island the juvenile Peregrine was still present but again no adults. There were 57 Pintail on Inchmery and the two paired up White-tailed Eagles were together on the marsh. The male appeared to have a kill or carrion.


From the Sluice Gate I counted 32 Linnet on the fence overlooking De L’Orne Scrape and a male Sparrowhawk was watching from a post along Kingfisher Ditch.


Before heading home I dropped in to Great Marsh. I flushed five Snipe as I walked around the western side of the scrape. It also looked good habitat for Jack Snipe. A Red-throated Diver was out on the sea from the Beach House.

A quick stop at the Reedy Ditch produced a Treecreeper at Warren Farm and what may well have been the same bird followed me all of the way to the Droveway where I watched a Firecrest in a pine tree in the garden of Black Water House.


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