Bird News


January 2017


Lesser Whitethroat by David Smith 



Visitors included Scaup (3rd and 11th), Ferruginous Duck (21st, 29th), redhead Red-breasted Merganser (5th, 6th, 8th), one/two Cattle Egrets at Harbridge (until 9th) and Caspian Gull (21st, 28th). More regular were a White-fronted Goose, Black-necked Grebe, Bittern, two Great White Egrets and a Water Pipit. Up to six Mediterranean Gulls, two Ring-billed Gulls and up to six Yellow-legged Gulls were present. The Woodland Hide produced two Brambling and several Siskin. Good counts were of 250 Greylag Geese (6th), 126 Cormorant (30th), 271 Gadwall (30th), 110 Shoveler (6th), 17 Goldeneye (30th), c1000 Common Gull (20th) and c5900 Lesser Black-backed Gull (2nd).




Visitors reported on the marshes were Red Kite (20th), Merlin (28th) and Barn Owl (17th). More frequently seen were Marsh Harrier, Spotted Redshank, up to four Short-eared Owls and up to five Bearded Tits. In the harbour were a drake Scaup (6th, 11th), two Long-tailed Ducks, Great Northern Diver (1st, 2nd), Red-necked Grebe (2nd), Slavonian Grebe (2nd), up to 12 Black-necked Grebes and up to 54 Avocet. There was a high count of 91 Great Crested Grebes (15th).




Visitors reported were up to six Spoonbills, Whimbrel (1st), Caspian Gull (1st) and Water Pipit (3rd, 10th, 28th). Frequently seen were up to four Marsh Harriers, up to ten Avocet, good numbers of Golden Plover and Knot and small numbers of Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Cetti's Warbler, Dartford Warbler and Bearded Tits. Offshore were Red-throated Diver (1st, 7th, 17th, 21st), Great Northern Diver (10th, 17th), up to four Slavonian Grebes, Guillemot (1st) and three Razorbill (17th). A large gathering of 92 Gannets were fishing (2nd).




Interesting sightings included Bittern on four dates, three Cattle Egrets flying south-west (3rd) and up to four Water Pipits. A Snow Bunting, first seen in December, remained on the shore through the month, as did an immature Little Gull on nearby farmland. Frequently seen were up to five Marsh Harriers, Kingfisher, up to seven Bearded Tits and two Firecrests. An organised flush count on 27th produced 80 Common Snipe and five Jack Snipe. Offshore, the sea between Hill Head and Chilling produced 59 Barnacle Geese (21st), six Scaup (from 21st), up to 60 Eider, Long-tailed Duck, up to 16 Common Scoter, Goosander (22nd), Red-throated Diver (1st) and Black-necked Grebe (15th).




Of particular interest was a very elusive Little Bunting at Portsdown Hill (from 25th) amongst a flock of Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings. Eight Cattle Egrets were at Warblington at the beginning of the month with just a couple remaining at the end: others were at Eling, Harbridge and Pinglestone Cress Beds. A small number of Waxwings were seen: at Overton (6th), Testwood Lakes (16th), Winchester (23rd - 25th) and up to eight at Basingstoke (from 27th).


Wildfowl included a Black Brant at Hayling Island (17th), small numbers of Scaup at Sowley Pond, Testwood Lakes and Mayflower Park-Southampton, Velvet Scoters off Sandy Point-Hayling Island (1st and 10th) and a Long-tailed Duck in Cams Bay (16th). All three divers were seen, including a long-staying Black-throated Diver in Chichester Harbour, and there were a small number of Slavonian and Black-necked Grebes away from their regular locations. A Bittern was seen occasionally at Testwood Lakes and a Great White Egret at Greywell (22nd). Hen Harriers were seen in the New Forest and occasionally in the Alresford area. A Ring-billed Gull was at Testwood Lakes (14th), a Caspian Gull at Black Point-Hayling Island (8th) and a Glaucous Gull at Black Point (25th). Up to five Water Pipits were at Lower Test Marshes and six or more were at Alresford Cress Beds. Black Redstarts were at Haslar Creek, Hayling Island, Portchester and Southsea Castle. A Dartford Warbler was an unexpected sight at Butser Hill (6th) and a Siberian Chiffchaff was at Darby Green with two on 22nd. Great Grey Shrikes were seen in the New Forest and, away from the Forest, Hawfinches were at Lakeside, Parnholt Wood, Romsey, Weston Common, and West Walk.


Richard Carpenter

Added February 1st, 2017