HAMPSHIRE BIRD SIGHTINGS FOR APRIL 2020
Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, a number of spring overshoots were found during April, including a Night Heron at Dibden Bay (19th), a Purple Heron in Gosport Wildgrounds (22nd-23rd), Hoopoes at Hayling Island (14th) and Plastow Green (24th) and a Red-rumped Swallow over Posbrook Floods (5th). There was a bit of an influx of Black Kites, with records from Portchester (8th), Havant (11th), Leigh Park (11th), New Milton (12th), Long Valley (14th), Fishlake Meadows (25th) and Woolmer Pond (30th). More unseasonable was a Pallas’s Warbler at Staunton Country Park (11th), while a Grey Phalarope at Pennington Marsh on the 16th was the first ever spring record for the county.
With mostly warm weather and many observers stuck at home, there were a lot of reports of garden flyovers during the month. White-tailed Eagles, presumably all related to the Isle of Wight introduction scheme, were seen over Catisfield (4th), Wickham (4th), Liss (7th), North Boarhunt (7th), Godshill (21st) and Olivers Battery, Winchester (22nd). White Storks, again presumed to relate to introduced birds, were seen over Blashford Lakes (6th), Fishlake Meadows (7th), Petersfield (2, 12th), Hayling Island (23rd), Andover (26th) and Winchester (30th), with one lingering around Longparish (26th-28th). A Crane was over Kingsclere (25th) and a Cattle Egret was over Sarisbury Green (30th). Ospreys were seen at 22 sites, while the first Hobbies were at Southsea (4th) and Romsey (5th). Garden flyovers of a very different kind came in the form of Common Scoters heard nocturnally over at least thirteen sites, predominantly during 2nd-4th April. Another listener heard a Bitten over a New Forest garden (1st) and by the end of the month Whimbrels had also been heard moving over several sites across the county.
Seawatching reports were very limited, however totals of twelve Arctic and two Great Skuas were seen from Hayling Island, with two more Bonxies off Hill Head on the 30th. A Roseate Tern was at Hill Head (30th), following one inland at Testwood Lakes (23rd). A big movement of 86 Little Gulls was observed off Hayling on the 5th, while inland there were daily reports of up to ten on Ibsley Water and three records from Fleet Pond. Both of those sites also got Black Terns, with three at Fleet (17th) and one on Ibsley (28th), while Fleet also got a group of 11 Arctic Terns (28th).
Other scarcer spring migrants included Garganeys at Fishlake Meadows, Farlington Marshes, Pennington Marsh, Avington Lake and Ibsley Water, Curlew Sandpipers at Farlington (24th) and Normandy Marsh (29th) and a Wood Sandpiper on Ibsley Water (27th). Two Spoonbills flew over Hill Head (30th), with one seen a couple of times at Pennington, where there were also one or two Spotted Redshanks coming into summer finery. On the passerine front, only one Pied Flycatcher was reported, at Havant Thicket on the 27th, but there were eight reports of Ring Ouzels and six of Black Redstart. A few lingering winter visitors included the Long-tailed Duck resurfacing on Ibsley Water after a month’s absence (23rd), Hen Harrier at Duckhole Bog (5th) and a Short-eared Owl seen a couple of times in Langstone Harbour