Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Spring Catchup

It's that time of year with bird and reptile surveys and Two Owl walks, plus keeping an eye on Jackie so she doesn't try to do to much as she recovers from her operation.  Which seems to be going in the right direction this time, though it is going to take time.  
Male Adder - Swineham Point © Nick Hull
So, what's been happening since our last blog, well I managed to acquire a reptile survey license and will be surveying reptiles for the RSPB at Arne and with ARC in the Lytchett Bay area.  

We have had visits to Radipole, Lodmoor, New Forest Acres Down and Eyeworth, also Keyhaven and Pennington. At this time of year it's we are in a transition period with the wintering waterfowl, divers and grebes leaving for their northern breeding grounds and our summer breeding species returning from climes further south.  A time for keeping an eye out for our scarcer breeding species and passage migrants and maybe a rare overshoot. 

Highlights from our walks were the long staying Ring-necked Duck, now in adult plumage at Radipole, as well as the resident Bearded Tits. At Lodmoor the long staying Lesser Yellowlegs is moulting into summer plumage, which at the time of writing it will probably have completed and will be leaving soon.  Plus Marsh Harrier and Bearded Tits, to add a spring time feeling several Chiffchaff singing and four Wheatears.
Ring-necked Duck-Radipole Lake 1st/winter and adult plumage © Nick Hull
In the New Forest we had an hour or so watching Goshawk and listening to Woodlark along with Marsh Tits and Firecrest and we recorded our first Sand Martin and Wheatear of the year.  At Eyeworth we had a good number of recently arrived Blackcap, a couple of pairs of Mandarin Duck and two Red Kite which soared off towards the North.  At Keyhaven and Pennington we had all the usual species though there were very few waders and the numbers of duck had reduced considerably, but eight Ruff and a number of Chiffchaff showed evidence that migration was underway. We also had a Peregrine sat on a post out on the marsh and a pair of Eider flew east over the Solent.

More locally this week Jackie and I have recorded our first Swallow, House Martin and Osprey and as I write Little Ringed Plover and Little Gulls, Redstart, Willow Warblers are all returning and passing through. Out to sea spring passage with Common Scoter various divers species, Manx Shearwater and Gannets along with Skua.
Gannet - English Channel © Nick Hull

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