Thursday, 23 October 2014

Pennington and Keyhaven Marshes and Titchfield Haven - 19th and 20th October

After the excitement of the last few weeks I was back on the local patch at Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes on 19th October walking the usual route. It was a fairly slow morning, the tide was high and the lagoons appeared very full of water so waders were a little hard to come by and there were few passerines to be seen. Highlights were five Chiffchaff and a similar number of Goldcrest three or four Bearded Tit, pinging in the Lower Avon Marsh reed beds, 150 Brent Goose, six Greenshank and 120 Black-tailed Godwit on Keyhaven Lagoon and 21 Coot on the Efford Lagoon. There was some viz mig with small numbers of Goldfinch, Linnet and Meadow Pipit moving west into the westerly wind. The Efford Lagoon is really starting to come into its own with a high count of Coot today, 75 Lapwing, 55 Oystercatcher and good numbers of gull loafing on the banks. I don't get to study many gulls in general and consider them to be a group that I somewhat neglected so this winter I am determined to start to get to grips with them and possibly, if the enthusiasm takes me, start a separate page on this blog showing the various age stages of the commonly encountered species. for now, I have taken shots of the range of Herring gull present today at Efford Lagoon - when I say there were good numbers, I am talking 20 birds and not the vast numbers encountered on many sites - give Efford time though and I think that a big roost will form.

On Monday 20th October, I was working nearby and popped into Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve to take a look at the Siberian Stonechat that has been present since 18th October. The bird was present in front of the Meadow Hide on the eastern side of the reserve and was feeding within an area of recently cut reeds and sedges. It showed well if a little distantly for the 20 or so gathered birders. Always too distant for the SLR I only managed distant digi-scoped shots. There were also around 12 Common Stonechat present and the recent reed cutting has obviously proved attractive. The bird is a 1st winter and is strikingly pale with a salmon pink rump and ill-defined supercilium. There is only one other Hampshire record also from Titchfield Haven on 31st October 1998 - a one day bird. To the end of 2012 there have been 367 records of Siberian Stonechat in the British Isles.

Siberian Stonechat - 1st Winter at Titchfield Haven

Siberian Stonechat - 1st Winter at Titchfield Haven

Herring Gull - A juvenile moulting to 1st winter with, on the scapulars a mix of dark pale fringed juvenile feathers and paler 1st winter feathers with dark anchor marks.

Herring Gull - The same bird as above, a rather dark bird

Herring Gull - 1st winter. The majority of juvenile mantle feathers have been replaced with 1st winter feathers and this bird is now in body moult. The moult of the juvenile wing feathers is suspended until November to February and hence this birds wing feathers are all juvenile.

Herring Gull - 2nd winter. This age has a complete moult in April to October and hence at this time of the year is at the end of its moult.

Herring Gull - 2nd winter, more advanced than the bird above with a clear grey mantle. The bird on the right of the image is a 3rd winter with a trace of dark markings in the wing coverts

Herring Gull - Adult winter birds