On the wet area near Mary Monts two Egyptian Geese were preening in the early sun and two Marsh Harriers, a young male and a female drifted over. It was pretty quiet on the sea other than one of the White-tailed Eagles being mobbed by a Herring Gull over the shoreline.
I headed to the hides. There was very little activity on De L’Orne and the highlight at Venner was watching one of the White-tailed Eagles approaching very closely to Brian and I in the hide.
The Canada Geese didn’t seem at all bothered.
From the Sailing Club 47 Pintail were gathered on the far side near the river mouth. A male Pied Wagtail was singing from the ground in front of the Sailing Club, probably the male that bred in the eaves last year.
Three Rock Pipits and four Skylarks called confidently as they headed over and a Pale-bellied Brent Goose was feeding in the distance on Inchmery.
I had more luck with my second check of De L’Orne scrape, this time viewing from the south, from the Sluice Gate. It’s further away but you don’t have to look into the morning sun from this angle.
On De L’Orne scrape a large gull caused some confusion. Structure is quite difficult to judge in a siting bird and light can make a big difference to your perception of mantle colour. This, I think, is an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with a paler than normal mantle colour.
Also on the scrape were 34 Golden Plover, 18 Avocet, one of the wintering Greenshank, five Black-tailed Godwit and at least 58 Shelduck (quite a few were hidden). One of the Mediterranean Gulls on the scrape was wearing a yellow ring but it was too distant to read. Also on the scrape was a pale beige-coloured Lapwing. I’ve seen it two or three times before, each time on the scrape.
Another butterfly today, a Red Admiral settled on the path near the Cottage Pines and nearby a queen Buff-tailed Bumblebee flew passed me but didn’t stop for a photo. She will be carrying last summer’s eggs and may be looking for an abandoned mouse hole in which to build a nest.
At high tide I walked back to the Cottages to check the wader roost which is directly opposite over the saltmarsh on Warren Shore. This is the closest place to watch a high tide wader roost on the reserve. Conditions weren’t perfect as it was windy and I was looking in to the sun. The wintering Purple Sandpiper was asleep and there were also seven Bar-tailed Godwit, 45 Knot, a single Golden Plover and three Snipe. In the background 11 Eider headed west.
Later on at Park Farm I picked out a Pale-bellied Brent Goose. I’m pretty sure that this is a second individual as it seems less well marked than this morning’s Inchmery bird.
As I drove to park at the bottom of Park Lane the Cattle Egrets flew over the car and settled in the field on the east side of the road.
It was nice to be able to photograph them a bit closer and down at ground level to let the grass blur nicely.
A Chiffchaff was calling from the hedge near Rye Errish Copse. Park Shore was a little bleak and desolate with storm Eunice starting to build, winds are forecast to gust to 90mph tomorrow. A 2nd winter Mediterranean Gull with extensive black primaries headed into the wind, probably the blackest primaries I’ve seen on a 2nd winter bird.