Bird News


Grey Phalarope by Andy Tew - Feb 27th, Pennington Marshes
Grey Phalarope by Andy Tew – Feb 27th, Pennington Marshes

February was a month of continuity with birding activity limited by the lockdown and little in the way of new arrivals. The usual Ferruginous Duck was reported once from Blashford Lakes (12th), where the Ring-billed Gull was also seen once (6th). Two Cranes flew over Soberton (24th). An Iceland Gull was reported at Farlington (17th). A Yellow-browed Warbler continued to be seen regularly in the garden of one lucky observer in Portsmouth. A Snow Bunting was at Hurst Beach (3rd).

A Stone-curlew at Farlington Marshes (21st) was a notable early spring arrival. A Grey Phalarope at Pennington Marshes (26th-28th) was also an unusual late winter find. There were two Bitterns seen this month, at Fishlake Meadows (6th) and Bickton (19th). Up to six Spoonbills were around Lymington and there was also one at Farlington (20th-22nd) and three at Inchmery (21st). Cattle Egrets in the Warblington area peaked at four; the only other was at Bransgore (20th). Great White Egrets were reported at seventeen sites, mostly in the Avon and Test valleys.

Scarce winter wildfowl included a White-fronted Goose at Farlington Marshes (21st), drake Scaup at Titchfield Haven (1st, 15th, 19th) and Blashford Lakes (11th-26th), Velvet Scoters in Chichester Harbour and off Hill Head/Chilling (max. 3) and the Long-tailed Duck off Weston Shore. A redhead Smew was briefly at Lakeside Country Park (10th). Two Slavonian Grebes were in the Pennington Marshes area, while singles were reported off Hill Head (12th) and Hook-with-Warsash (25th). Black-necked Grebes in Langstone Harbour peaked at 11 and there were also two off Oxey Marsh on the 3rd. Great Northern Divers were reported widely along the coast, with a maximum of five roosting off Weston Shore.

Only one Great Grey Shrike was reported in the New Forest, at Acres Down (20th-23rd), however others were at Hinton Ampner (10th-12th), Wherwell and Woolmer Forest. Away from roost sites, Hen Harriers were at Wilverley Plain (7th), Lymington-Keyhaven (7th, 10th, 27th), Ripley (20th) and Southwick (27th). Merlins were at Titchfield Common (6th), Hill Head (7th), Chilling (9th), Bransbury Common (11th, 20th), Acres Down (27th) and Stanswood Road (28th). The only Short-eared Owl reported was at Old Basing (27th).

Tom Jordan

Previous month’s bird news