Saturday 12th February 2022

A very cold morning made even more uncomfortable by a strong breeze. I headed to the Sailing Club to start with a bit of shelter.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose

The Spoonbills were on this side of the river, on Sluice Gate Saltmarsh. While I was in the car I got some photos and they were settled but as soon as I opened the door they took off and headed to Venner, all 12 of them. At the same time the wintering Spotted Redshank was in the air somewhere, calling, but I didn’t see it.

Spoonbills

I tend to watch the sea from three or four different locations. The large bush near Mary Monts which can provide some shelter in the wind, the Sailing Club which also provides shelter from the prevailing westerly winds but it is slightly further away from the water. I also sea watch from Gravelly Beach when I’m patrolling the private areas and Park Shore is also worth watching.

2nd winter Mediterranean Gulls

Today I watched the sea from the Sailing Club and I was pleased to see a diver heading west. The large protruding feet, slowish flight action and half collar all indicated Great Northern Diver, my first of the year.

A large Herring Gull passed close to shore, the heavily streaked head in mid February and the lack of any black mark on P5 made me wonder about the nominate Scandinavian race argentatus. However, you’d expect the P10 wing tip to be extensively white and so this is no doubt just a late moulting British argenteus.

Herring Gull

Soon afterwards I was pleased to watch a male Common Scoter also heading west. Common Scoter seem to have a slightly strange way of holding their head in flight, held high, rather stretched out exaggerating a bulbous head shape. Common Scoter was another year tick.

Looking backing up the river, in the distance and level with the Yacht Club, I could just about make out a small group of Golden Plover resting with the Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits.

Lapwing

Having met up with Dimitri we later caught up with the full Golden Plover flock on De L’Orne Scrape, there were 120, the largest count at Needs Ore for five years.

While we watched from the screen a Great White Egret flew over. The first one I’ve seen for three months.

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Although female-type Marsh Harriers are a familiar sight an adult or near adult male Marsh Harrier is more unusual. This male showed really nicely heading over Venner Wigeon Fields while we were in Venner Hide. It’s not a full adult, I’d say it’s probably three years old.

male Marsh Harrier
male Marsh Harrier

It was good to see that Brent Geese were grazing along the Main Hedge Fields again, this time 190 of them with Canada Geese on Droveway East.  

Brent Geese on Droveway East

I finished the day with a brief visit to the top of Park Lane. The geese flock were mainly obscured but suddenly took to the air and a Peregrine soon appeared. It settled in the field looking bemused that the field was now empty. It was an adult bird, the first adult Peregrine I’ve seen since 5th December. Fingers crossed that it is one our breeding pair and that they still have plans to breed at Needs Ore.

A telescope view of the two Cattle Egrets down on Park Farm made it a three egret day.

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