Other Animals

Slimbridge WWT, Hayling Island, Denny Wood and Pennington Marsh

With the last days before my next foreign trip, work and family life have been hectic. The glorious, warm sunny Easter weekend of 19th April was spent decorating at home with some time on the beach with friends and family and enjoying the garden.

Birding of late has been confined to a few short jaunts when time allowed. On 14th April we were at Cowley and so I spent a couple of hours at Slimbridge WWT reserve while Sarah was with friends. Highlights were six Sand Martin, two Willow Warbler, a single Swallow, Sedge Warbler and a few left over Wigeon, Pintail and Teal.

Avocet were showing very well from the Rushy Hide with 29 birds present – Slimbridge WWT

Avocet – Rushy Hide, Slimbridge

Black-headed Gulls were looking fine – Slimbridge WWT

After a breeding bird survey near to Bognor Regis on 17th April, where the highlights were my first Whitethroat, Wheatear and Yellow Wagtail of the year as well as good numbers of Sedge Warbler and Reed Warbler, I stopped for a short walk along the Billy Line to the Oysterbeds on Hayling Island. The highlights here were three Whitethroat, 12 Whimbrel and Willow Warbler. I spent some time at the Oysterbeds enjoying the hundreds of nesting Mediterranean Gull and Black-headed Gull and my first Sandwich Tern of the year.

Whimbrel – Hayling Island

Whitethroat – Hayling Island

Nesting Black-headed and Mediterranean Gull – Oysterbeds, Hayling Island

Mediterranean Gull – Oysterbeds, Hayling Island

Mediterranean Gull – Oysterbeds, Hayling Island

Mediterranean Gull – Oysterbeds, Hayling Island

Sandwich Tern and Mediterranean Gull – Oysterbeds, Hayling Island

Later in the day on 17th April I popped to Denny Wood where there were good numbers of Redstart on territory. Its always a great pleasure to see these stunning birds in the fresh green, spring leaves of Beech and Oak at Denny Wood.

Redstart – Denny Wood, New Forest

On 18th and 24th I spent a couple of hours at Pennington Marsh, on 18th I walked the Ancient Highway and back around the seawall to Jetty Lagoon and back to the car park. On 24th I walked out past Fishtail Lagoon and back to the carpark. There were many Reed Warbler and Whitethroat on territory as well as small numbers of Sedge Warbler. Up to seven Ruff were present including a stunning rufous necked bird. On both days there were up to six Spoonbill on Fishtail Lagoon. There appear to be two pairs of Little Ringed Plover breeding on Fishtail Lagoon this year. Other highlights included two Common Tern, two Little Tern, a partial summer plumaged Spotted Sandpiper and a stunning summer plumaged Turnstone.

Ruff – Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Spotted Redshank – Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Turnstone – Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Time in the garden produced my first Holly Blue of the year and a couple of Orange-tip but despite scanning the skies over a few cold beers while revising for my trip there were no fly-over migrants.

Orange-tip – Romsey

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine’s Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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