After a few weeks without a visit I finally found time on the 30th June to spend a few early morning hours birding at Pennington Marsh. I arrived at 06:30 and birded the area around Shoveller Pools, Keyhaven, Fishtail and Butts Lagoon. There was no real anticipation of seeing anything of great note but as always its a pleasant spot to be early in the morning before the site is invaded by mad yelling dog walkers who seem to find pleasure in shouting inane things at their dogs across the marshes.
It was soon apparent that small numbers of wader are already on the move with a male Ruff, 30 Curlew, a single breeding plumage Turnstone, three Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit all probable migrant birds.
The Ruff appeared to be a male in heavy moult out of breeding plumage and is presumably a failed breeder. While the three Bar-tailed Godwit were all in heavily abraded winter plumage and presumably were young birds that had not acquired breeding plumage. The Black-tailed Godwit were a mix of four summer plumage birds and two winter plumage birds and so were presumably a mix of failed breeders and young birds that had not acquired summer plumage.
Ruff - Shoveler Pools, Pennington Marshes
Bar-tailed Godwit - Intertidal area at Pennington Marshes
Black-tailed Godwit- Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marshes
Mixed with these migrant waders were the local breeding species with a total of four adult and at least three juvenile Little Ringed Plover and many Redshank including a juvenile on Shoveller Pools which made me stop and look as at this time of year they can readily be mistaken for Wood Sandpiper or Lesser Yellowlegs.
Little Ringed Plover - Shoveller Pools, Pennington Marsh
Redshank - Shoveller Pools, Pennington Marsh
There was little else around with the passerines present being mainly local breeders with an abundance of fledged Whitethroat and Reed Warbler. So as the dog-walkers appeared I decided to head for Crockford Bridge between Lymington and Beaulieu in the New Forest. Crockford Bridge is a classic site for Odonata with many of the New Forest species present and I can spend hours here ankle deep in mud, water and Bog Myrtle.
The first thing I saw was a Spotted Flycatcher, remarkably the first that I had seen this year and also the first I had seen at Crockford Bridge. This bird was in song probably indicating that it was breeding within the woodland lining the stream.
Spotted Flycatcher - Crockford Bridge, New Forest.
Odonata were present in abundance species recorded were Large Red Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, Southern Damselfly, Beautiful Demoiselle, Keeled Skimmer and Emperor Dragonfly. But all too soon I had to leave and meet friends for lunch.
Large Red Damselfly - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Small Red Damselfly - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Southern Damselfly - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Beautiful Demoiselle - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Wing venation of Beautiful Demoiselle - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Xanthogramma pedissequum - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu
Kelled Skimmer - Crockford Bridge, Beaulieu