August 2022

These are my own observations. A complete record of all permit holder sightings as recorded in the logbook will be reported in the next Newsletter due in mid-September.

Adam has used his regularly booked contractor time to reduce reed encroachment on open standing water in the northwest corner of Black Water and to allow the reed to regenerate. Also, to create a new island on De L’Orne Lagoon, to create larger Avocet Islands at Great Marsh and to dredge a channel from De L’Orne lagoon straight out to the scrape which we will be able to view down from the hide. The new channel will be great when water levels return.

The extremely dry summer has seen water levels continue to drop which has actually created great muddy margin feeding for returning waders and good numbers were seen throughout the month especially around Venner. Passerines were moving in good numbers throughout August although clear nights often encourage migrants to fly straight over without stopping. 


Little Ringed Plover moved through in the first half of August including a family of five (of which three were juveniles) seen on Great Marsh on 5th August. They weren’t ringed and so not the family that had been successful on the Gins.

One of the highlights in August was seeing my first patch Wood Sandpiper. It’s the first one here for more than two years. There were actually two present on De L’Orne Flood on the 5th August (they had been seen by others on the 1st). At least one Wood Sandpiper remained on the reserve for the rest of August with most sightings from Venner Hide. It was also nice to get a clear recording of the characteristic call as it flew over Black Water.

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper calling over Black Water

An Osprey favoured the tree on Inchmery Saltmarsh from the 6th until the month end. It regularly ventured out over the Solent and then back up the river, there may well have been more than one individual.


Whinchats started to move through from the 6th with a peak count of six lined up along Whinchat Fence on the 28th. It’s great that they always come back to this fence and also the brambles close by around Venner South.


Yellow Wagtails were in fairly short supply with singles overhead on only two dates, the 6th (my earliest record) and the 20th. Tree Pipits were also scarce with just one heard on the 7th (again my earliest record). Early morning clear skies and warm conditions may encourage these migrants to fly high making them difficult to hear. I did manage to get some audio of the Tree Pipit as it called overhead.

Tree Pipit calling over Pullen

The peak count of Greenshank was 13 on the 7th, this is the most I’ve ever seen on the reserve. The newly dredged muddy fringes at the western end of Black Water encouraged waders to drop in.


The only Garden Warbler of the month was an individual on Venner South Brambles on the 9th.

Garden Warbler

Willow Warblers moved through the reserve in good numbers throughout the month including a singing bird near Venner on the 9th. Chiffchaff usually follow in September, a bit later than the Willow Warblers partly because they have less distance to travel to get to their wintering areas.

A pair of Great White Egret commuted between Venner and De L’Orne in the 2nd week of the month.

Late broods included a Meadow Pipit carrying food near the Viewing Gate on the 11th August and a Reed Warbler carrying food near Venner Hide on the 9th August.

Reed Warbler with food for a 2nd brood

The late Avocet chick was seen regularly during August and was the 11th individual to fledge from Needs Ore in 2022.

Avocet with juvenile

The first Common Gulls appeared on the Beaulieu River from the 14th and the first returning juvenile Black-tailed Godwits were also seen the same day. A flock of 111 mixed adult and juvenile Black-tailed Godwits were seen on Venner on the 28th. This is my first three figure count on the reserve and is no doubt due to the excellent water levels for feeding waders.

Green Sandpipers were a common sight and sound with a peak of seven around Venner on the 14th

Green Sandpiper

A high count of 37 roosting Little Egrets was on Venner on the 19th and a juvenile Cattle Egret (with a black bill) was also seen on Venner on the 11th and the 14th.

A Tawny Owl flew across in front of the car as I was heading past St Leonard’s Barn on the evening of the 19th

While we were checking the Moth Trap in Sims Wood on the 21st at least six Hawfinches were ‘tsick-ing’ overhead.

Other than the spotty juvenile I had seen in late July the main run of Redstarts started from the 28th August with a peak of three that day. Once they start coming through I normally see at least one each visit although that can be from any part of the reserve. The three on the 28th were widely spread with singles on Great Marsh Scrub, Mary Monts Garden and Spring Meadow Corner.


A second calendar year Hobby spent the last week of August hunting around the Black Water area.

2cy Hobby photo by Dimitri Moore

Two Common Sandpipers were seen briefly around Venner in the last week of the month.

Another wader highlight for me was a Ruff on the 26th, initially on the eastern end of Venner South and then in front of Venner Hide. A second different Ruff was also on Venner on the 31st. There have been only eight records of Ruff in the last seven years.


Wheatears were seen throughout August with a peak count of six on the 26th. The contrasting white tips to the juvenile inner greater coverts indicate that this is a 1st winter bird.


Just like last year Spotted Flycatchers seemed to favour Spring Meadow Corner. It makes you wonder if adult birds repeat their journey from previous years and also teach younger birds these stop off points. The six I saw here on the 28th (plus another just west of Shore Hide) is the highest ever count by anyone at Needs Ore beating the four in 1953! At least four remained fly-catching from low vantage points near the water trough until the month end.

Spotted Flycatcher

The first Wigeon of the autumn were a pair on Black Water on the 31st. Other returning wildfowl included Pintail from the 28th and Shoveler from the 9th and other returning winterers included the first Kingfisher of the autumn dashing past the western end of Black Water on the 9th and the first Grey Wagtail calling over Pullen on the 20th.

The water levels around Pullen look great for Spotted Crake, a bit of a long shot but it’s worth a few minutes in Pullen Hide each visit especially as Water Rails are showing really well here at the moment. 

Water Rail

Two Spotted Redshank remained on the reserve for most of August with most sightings on Venner.

Spotted Redshank

By the end of the month Blackcaps were tacking noisily in the hedgerows with at least 15 counted between the Reedy Ditch and Spring Meadow on the 26th.

Also as August finished flocks of Linnets were forming with 60 at the Sailing Club and three figure counts of Swallow and Sand Martin and the odd House Martin, all heading east.

It was great to watch a Roe Deer and her fawn wading over from Venner Island

Roe Deer

Migrant Hawkers were on the wing from the 7th August and quickly became by far the commonest dragonfly on the reserve. Much more unusual was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly at De L’Orne Hide on the 20th and the rarest of all was the Southern Migrant Hawker which I found again on the 7th August despite Shore Hide Ditch being completely dry.

Migrant Hawker

The only butterfly of note was a Clouded Yellow which flew through the paddock area on the 28th August. A new grasshopper for the reserve was a Common Groundhopper found next to my moth trap along Pullen Beach Gorse on the 7th August

I ran six moth traps during August at various locations around the NNR including a trip to Sims Wood on the 20th August which successfully caught the main targets Light Crimson Underwing and Dark Crimson Underwing.

Light Crimson Underwing and Dark Crimson Underwing

Rare moths which were seen less than five times in Hampshire last year included Celypha rosaceana, Antler Moth, Epermenia falciformis, Small Mottled Willow, Jersey Mocha, Dotted Clay and Stenotechia gemmella. Even rarer with only one county sighting last year were Scrobipalpa ocellatella and Cedestis subfasciella and rarer still with no sightings at all in the county last year were Ancylosis oblitella and Coleophora salicorniae.

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