Thursday, 7 April 2016

Beaulieu Road Station and Pennington Marsh - 1st and 2nd April

I had worked a long week despite the Bank Holiday and so on Friday 1st April I finished at 14:00 and headed to Beaulieu Road Station for a walk. I parked at Shatterford and walked south, along Bishop's Dyke and back via Denny Wood. Stonechat numbers seemed to be up, with 12 birds seen, returning summer migrants? Then a definite migrant and my first migrant of the year, a male Redstart frantically foraging in the Silver Birch at Bishop's Dyke. I think that this is the first time ever that my first spring migrant has been a Redstart. Other than that, four Wood Lark (2 at Denny wood and 2 at Bishop's Dyke), 2 Redpoll and a couple of singing Chiffchaff were the highlights. Still, it was great to be out on a lovely spring afternoon.

Male Redstart - Bishop's Dyke

On 2nd April I spent a few hours at Pennington Marsh and walked the full loop out past Fishtail Lagoon, past Keyhaven Lagoon, along Iley Point and back along the Ancient Highway taking in the balancing pond to the north of the Ancient Highway. It was a glorious spring morning but with a cold north-west wind. Three Chiffchaff sang around the car park and Mediterranean Gull called overhead. Numbers of wader and wildfowl and now definitely on a significant decline as birds move north with only around 75-100 Black-tailed Godwit the commonest species. I spent some time overlooking Fishtail Lagoon and enjoyed 5 Spoonbill as they flew in from the north. Also present here were a couple of Ruff and around 12 Snipe. A short seawatch at the point at Butts Lagoon produced a couple of Sandwich Tern. At Keyhaven Lagoon my first Swallow appeared with a second at Iley Point. I walked to the fields to the north of the balancing pond where a male and female Wheatear were my first of the year. Two Marsh Harrier showed over the reedbed and around 20 Sand Martin fed around the balancing pond. As I walked back along the Ancient Highway my final spring migrant of the day was a Willow Warbler which sang from the bramble scrub.

Chiffchaff - Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit, almost full summer plumage - Pennington Marsh

Mediterranean Gull, calling overhead - Pennington Marsh

Mediterranean Gull, such cracking birds - Pennington Marsh

Spoonbill - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Spoonbill - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Male Reed Bunting - Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh 

Male Reed Bunting - Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh 

Little Egret - Keyhaven Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Meadow Pipit - Keyhaven Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Lagoon, this bird still in winter plumage - Iley Point, Pennington Marsh

Female Marsh Harrier - Pennington Marsh