Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Pennington Marsh - 20th August

On a beautiful still mid-August morning, after a Friday and Saturday at the Birdfair followed by Warwick Castle, I needed a wander on the marshes before a lunchtime social event. It was warm and still and there were good numbers of birds around. I first wandered out past Efford Lagoon where a few Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Whitethroat called from the scrub while Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit called overhead - the latter two species being my first of the autumn at the site. Wandering out past Shoveler Pools I disturbed a Green Sandpiper which flew high to the east calling not giving me a chance to see it on the deck. At the seawall there were large numbers of Meadow Pipit feeding on the track and seawall and I picked out a single crisp Tree Pipit amongst them. A scan of Oxey Island into the sun produced a tern which even in the poor light and at considerable distance I was convinced was an adult Roseate Tern so after a brisk walk along the seawall I set-up my scope again in time to see it fly off to the west but I had sufficient views to confirm the identification. Fortunately the bird was seen by others for the nest our or so until it was pushed off the island at hightide. As I turned to walk back west a Great White Egret pitched into Jetty Lagoon to be quickly chased off by a Grey Heron.

Walking back west along the seawall I stopped for a while and watched the Swallow and Sand Martin skimming the marshes and I searched hopefully for a Red-rumped Swallow but no such luck. Four Swift joined the hirundine and showed well as they filled their gapes with some of the thousands of male mosquito that had emerged and had gathered in their courtship dances - this is often a feature of Pennington Marsh at this time of the year. I pondered that these may be the last I will see this year. As I wandered westwards I flushed a Grasshopper Warbler from the scrub on the seawall and had fairly breif views while good numbers of Sedge Warbler were still evident.

Scanning from the seawall at Butts Lagoon produced good numbers of Grey Plover, Dunlin and Turnstone and a handful of Sandwich Tern. The water levels at Fishtail Lagoon are now almost perfect and there were around 150 Dunlin, two Snipe, 25 Ringed Plover, a single Little Ringed Plover and two Greenshank but despite extensive scanning I could not locate a Little Stint or Curlew Sandpiper both of which are expected at the site at this time of year - maybe we simply have not had enough easterly winds to date. A quick scan of Keyhaven Lagoon and surronds produced a single Whinchat, my first of the year but little else. It was time to head for home and get ready to meet friends for lunch after what had been a very enjoyable morning.

Great White Egret and Grey Heron - Pennington Marsh

Great White Egret - Pennington Marsh

Dunlin - Pennington Marsh

Swift - Pennington Marsh

Swift - Pennington Marsh

Dunlin, Grey Plover and Turnstone - Pennington Marsh

The Mornings Totals
Teal - 3
Red-breasted Merganser -1
Swift - 4
Water Rail - 5
Great White Egret -1
Gannet -1
Grey Plover - 85
Ringed Plover - 65
Little Ringed Plover - 1
Lapwing - 30
Curlew - 45
Whimbrel -3
Black-tailed Godwit - 35
Turnstone - 120
Dunlin - 250
Snipe -5
Common Sandpiper -2
Greenshank - 6
Common Gull - 1
Roseate Tern - 1
Common Tern - 45
Sandwich Tern - 10
Peregrine -1
Sedge Warbler - 15
Reed Warbler - 5
Grasshopper Warbler -1
Swallow - 45
Sand Martin - 55
Chiffchaff - 12
Willow Warbler - 5
Whitethroat - 15
Whinchat -1
Wheatear - 2
Tree Pipit - 6
Meadow Pipit - 120
Yellow Wagtail - 11