Previous Bird News


April 2017


Ruff by David Cuddon




Star bird of the month was the 2cy Bonaparte’s Gull present on Ibsley Water from the 17th until the month end. Presumably the same individual was seen nearby at Hamer Warren Sand Pit on the 29th. Supporting cast included up to three Little Gulls present from the 15th, along with up to two Black Terns (25th-30th). A count of 93 Mediterranean Gulls on Ibsley Water on the 30th was a notable number for the site. Passage waders on Ibsley Water included Ruff (2nd-3rd, 22nd-25th), Bar-tailed Godwit (30th) and Turnstone (30th), while Whimbrel, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Green and Common Sandpipers were all reported in addition to breeding species. A single Water Pipit lingered (1st-2nd) and an Osprey flew over (27th), while a Great White Egret was seen at Ivy Lake (4th). Away from Blashford Lakes, the White-fronted Goose continued to be reported from Harbridge (3rd-24th), and an Osprey was at Bickton (30th).




The main rarity of the month was a Tawny Pipit briefly at Farlington Marshes (22nd). Also at Farlington, up to two Short-eared Owls lingered (2nd-24th), while spring raptor passage included Osprey (1st) and Marsh Harrier (23rd). A single Spotted Redshank (4th-24th) was the most notable of the waders reported, while passerine migrants included a Nightingale (25th-26th), as well as Redstart, Whinchat, Yellow Wagtail and Wheatear. In Langstone Harbour two Long-tailed Ducks were present (1st-5th). On Hayling Island, a twitchable Serin (5th-8th) was popular with birders. Other sightings from Hayling included Arctic Skua (17th and 20th) and Razorbill (5th).




A smart male Kentish Plover at Pennington Marshes (20th-21st) was the highlight of April. Other waders included Curlew Sandpiper (21st-25th), Jack Snipe (15th), up to four Ruff (1st-22nd) and up to five Spotted Redshank throughout. A Cattle Egret flying east over Oxey Marsh (9th) was notable, while Great White Egrets were seen in the area twice (14th and 24th). Up to three Spoonbills were present for most of the month (6th-29th), often showing extremely well on the lagoons. A single Garganey was present on the 9th, with two from 14th-20th, while a Velvet Scoter was off Pennington (1st-4th). Other sightings from the Keyhaven/Pennington area included up to three Water Pipits (1st-11th), Ring Ouzel (11th), Merlin (2nd and 19th) and Osprey (8th). Sea passage increased as the month progressed, with highlights from Milford-on-Sea including nine Pomarine Skuas (30th), Great Skua (max. 8 on 29th), Arctic Skua (max. 21 on 30th), Puffin (2 on 24th), Velvet Scoter (max. 7 30th), plus Long-tailed Duck, Red- and Black-throated Divers, Black and Arctic Terns, Little Gull, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Fulmar all reported.




April’s birding highlight at Titchfield Haven was the Black-winged Stilt on the Posbrook Floods (1st-2nd). Lingering winter visitors included two Water Pipits (1st) and the over-wintering Little Gull (1st-26th), while two Long-tailed Ducks remained offshore (1st-22nd). Scarcer migrants seen during April included four Garganey (13th), Osprey (11th and 15th), Hen Harrier (27th) and a Ring Ouzel flying over Brownwich Pond (23rd). Sea passage towards the end of the month included Arctic Skua (max. 18 on 30th), Great Skua (30th) and Black Tern (max. 11 on 30th), plus sightings of Little Gull, Arctic Tern, Fulmar and Kittiwake.




A Cattle Egret at North Boarhunt (27th-30th) was arguably the rarest species seen elsewhere during the month. Great White Egrets were reported from a total of ten sites across the county, with a particular focus on the Test valley, where up to four were at Testwood Lakes (1st, 5th, 21st-30th) and up to three at Fishlake Meadows (9th-30th), although local birders believed at least five birds to be present in the area based on bill colours. Winter birds lingering into April included up to two Great Grey Shrikes at Bishop’s Dyke (18th-25th), up to four Water Pipits at Alresford (4th-9th), two Waxwings at Avington (1st-5th) and Hen Harriers at Alresford Pond (4th) and in the New Forest (1st-12th). Inland reports of scarcer spring migrants included the pair of Garganey remaining at Fleet Pond (1st-8th), Osprey from nine inland sites, Black Terns at Fleet Pond (20th-21st) and Fishlake Meadows (30th), Little Gull at Fleet Pond (9th), Ring Ouzel from several sites including five at Butser Hill (22nd), and a Black Redstart at Danebury (15th). Notable early arrivals included Hobby at Burridge (1st), Garden Warbler in Chandler’s Ford (2nd) and Nightjar at Longslade Bottom (22nd), while Wood Warblers at Old Basing (12th and 19th), Dummer (23rd) and Crab Wood (28th) were all excellent local records. Away from the aforementioned coastal sites, Stokes Bay picked up some good sea passage including a day count of 16 Arctic Skuas (30th), as well as Great Skua, Velvet Scoter and Little Gull amongst other species.


Tom Jordan


May 1st, 2017