Sunday 27th February 2022

A brief morning only trip. It was very spring-like in the warm sunshine. Lots of birds were singing including several Meadow Pipits in parachuting display and Skylarks rising up into their song flight.

Skylark

A male and female Pochard were on Venner, perhaps they may breed again this year. Also four Tufted Ducks, this is a much reduced total from the 32 who were here three weeks ago.

male Pochard

Common Gulls are usually seen way over on Inchmery and so it was nice to see an adult flying close by over the flooded fields.

Common Gull by Ken Button

On De L’Orne there were two Golden Plover and another 20 Golden Plover were on the far side of Wigeon Fields with 16 Black-tailed Godwit and around 80 Lapwing.

male Marsh Harrier photo by Terry Jenvey

It was nice to see the male Marsh Harrier at point blank range again. Photos confirm that the same three year old male is being seen regularly, he may be old enough to breed this year. The Lapwing which were also on the Gins are now starting to chase off intruders including the Marsh Harriers.

male Marsh Harrier photo by Brian Fairbrother

There were noticeably fewer Teal on the reserve this morning suggesting that some may already be heading back to Scandinavia and Northern Europe. The WeBS count last Sunday counted only 146 compared to 631 in January and 926 in December.

Coot numbers have increased to 36, interesting to see their slightly ridiculous feet which help to distribute their weight, aid propulsion underwater and also help them get airborne.

Coot

Highlight of the day was an unexpected Sandwich Tern patrolling up the river off the sailing club. This will be a bird that has wintered in Hampshire rather than an early migrant. It’s the only Sandwich Tern seen at Needs Ore this winter. There have been a handful wintering in the county but mainly around Langstone Harbour.   

wintering Sandwich Tern

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