April 29th 2022

There were at least five singing Lesser Whitethroats around the reserve today including this ringed bird in Pullen Scrub. Sylvia warblers are very site faithful and so it may well be the same ringed bird that I saw singing from the same bush last April. It has been to East Africa and back in the meantime.

Lesser Whitethroat

Having spent all of the recent sea watches hoping for a Little Gull it was brilliant to finally see a group of three 1st summer birds heading east. Andy Johnson saw what is probably the same group of three going past Hayling Island later in the afternoon.

1st summer Little Gulls

Three Cuckoos today, a male calling and then a female bubbling in response before another male Cuckoo came in off the sea.

male Cuckoo

Our ringed adult Stonechats continue to bring in food items. The adults range a hundred yards or more looking for food and I was well away from the nest site when the female landed close to me.  

Stonechat

Brilliant to see that the female Little Ringed Plover laid her first egg this morning. Last year she laid four eggs. If she does the same again this year she would finish the clutch and start incubating on Monday 2nd May and then hopefully the chicks would hatch around May 25th. The male flew over to check me out while I was busy watching very little (!) flying up the Solent.

male Little Ringed Plover

I managed to find another Linnet nest this morning, this time the female was bringing in feathers which are usually the final touches and so she should be laying in the next day or so. Across the reserve today we had 21 pairs of Avocet with 12 nests containing 45 eggs. No evidence of predation yet.

I found a dead shrew near the Warden’s Hut and judging by the dark colour and two-toned tail I think this a Water Shrew, much rarer than the Common Shrew. Another Emperor Moth was attracted to my lure while we were at the Warden’s Hut.

Water Shrew

Nearby this Ringed Plover scuttled off its nest and then just stopped to watch me. The nest was close by with two eggs. I got down low to blur the background.

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover eggs

My first damselflies of the year were Blue-tailed Damselflies which I recorded in three different places around the reserve.

Blue-tailed Damselfy

A butterfly patch tick today, my first Orange-tip on the reserve. It looked likely to continue flying out of sight but then circled backed and landed briefly, enough time for a photo.

male Orange-tip

In readiness for their return Adam has been playing a Common Tern lure tape on De L’Orne Lagoon and today a Common Tern flew over the rafts. Several of the rafts had been kept covered to stop the Black-headed Gulls but now the terns are here they’ve been uncovered to give them a chance to find some space.

Common Tern

There were two Sedge Warblers and 12 Reed Warblers singing today, all of them around Black Water and the Gins.

Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler photo by Brian Fairbrother

As I was heading down Gins West Bank a Yellow Wagtail called above me, I didn’t see it which is a shame as they are pretty spectacular at this time of year.

Yellow Wagtail

A very good passage of hundreds of Swallows today with four House Martins mixed in with them. The Green-winged Orchids have shot up a bit and so I stopped for another photo.

Green-winged Orchid

This Common Carpet, was flitting around the gorse near the point. A common species but the first I’ve knowingly seen here. Shows you that I need to start paying a bit more attention to day-flying moths.

Common Carpet

The male Peregrine flew in a bit closer than normal to feed on a carcass. At this closer range you could see that it was wearing an orange ring on its left tarsus, this is the county colour for Hampshire. It’s not possible to identify the bird further without being close enough to read the two letters on the orange ring. I hadn’t previously noticed that the male was ringed but this is probably because of long range views and heat haze rather than this being a different bird.

male Peregrine

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