Saturday 29th January 2022

A sea watch first thing was quiet other than the five Slavonian Grebes, a single male Eider, the customary Razorbill or two and at least 10 Great Crested Grebes strung out along the Solent.


From the Sailing Club 10 Spoonbill were loafing on Inchmery Saltmarsh and just in front of them the Purple Sandpiper (see arrow below) was resting in the Dunlin roost.


Over at the bottom of Exbury Fields the juvenile Peregrine was in one of her favourite trees. I’ve spoken to two birders this week who have both said that they have seen two Peregrines around the point which suggests that at least one of the adult birds is still around but I haven’t seen either of them myself.


Also on the other side of the river the male White-tailed Eagle G393 appeared to be checking out a nest site. As the oldest of the eagles we get at Needs Ore his bill is looking pretty yellow now.

White-tailed Eagle

While watching De L’Orne Scrape from the Sluice Gate a Spotted Redshank called once as it flew over my head. I’ve had a few late autumn/November records but this is my first January record and my first definite winter record since 30th December 2020.

Spotted Redshank over the Sluice gate

Nearby an adult Herring Gull was sat on the number 5 post. Some adults retain streaked heads into February although most are white-headed by now.

adult Herring Gull

While scanning the Brent flock from Park Lane a Treecreeper called from the trees at the bottom of Rye Errish Copse. With a decent image you can separate Common Treecreeper from Short-toed Treecreeper. Here you can see the buff markings half way along the primaries create a clear blackish right angle (see arrow below) whereas on Short-toed Treecreeper these buff marks are uniformly stepped to create more of a smooth buffy edge.


I regularly see a pair of Kestrels here and the male posed nicely for me today.

adult male Kestrel

Eight of the Spoonbills headed west past Park Shore and there were at least eight Red-breasted Mergansers just off shore.

Spoonbill photo by Brian Fairbrother

There was plenty of shooting going on nearby and large flocks of dabbling ducks had escaped to the safety of the sea. On the shingle islands there were 53 Mediterranean Gulls all facing into the wind. Most were adults (49), three had the black primary tips of 2nd winter birds and there was just one 1st winter bird.  

adult Mediterranean Gulls

Park Shore gets a few larger gulls mainly Herring Gulls and I often photograph them to double check that other similar but rarer gulls aren’t appearing. On this 2nd winter individual you can see the clear pale window on the inner primaries, brownish (as opposed to blackish) centres to the secondaries, a thick tail band which doesn’t particularly contrast with an off white rump which has dark marks and a head that is not particularly white.

2nd winter Herring Gull

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