Fringe Box



Birdwatcher’s Diary No.19

Published on: 30 Sep, 2012
Updated on: 30 Sep, 2012

By Malcolm Fincham

On Tuesday, September 17, I got together with a small posse of bird watching pals on a venture to Pennington Marsh at Keyhaven on the Hampshire coast.

This was for a final wave goodbye (and in hope of a few pictures) to some of our summer migrants.

Distant shot of an extremely rare Dartford warbler!

With a day of glorious sunshine it was far from disappointing with redstarts, yellow wagtails, wheatears and various common warblers all on view. However, one bird I was most pleased to see was a less common warbler that doesn’t migrate! – a Dartford warbler. Due it to being an insec-eating bird, the recent severe winters have decimated the UK’s population with no reports of any sightings for a few years on our Surrey heath.

Therefore I was very happy to see this one, surviving on spiders and such-like, among the gorse bushes in a slightly more frost-free coastal area.

Unfortunately, I was only able to take some distant photos, so I have added a link to a You Tube clip for those who wish for a better view. Go to:

Perhaps you recognise this bird. If you have has seen or heard one locally this year, please add a reply in the box below.

Juvenile knot at Keyhaven in Hampshire.

A large number and variety of waders were also on show in the lagoons, some of which I was able to to photograph, including  a close up shot of a juvenile knot, notable as a young one by its yellow legs. These birds are renown for flocking in massive numbers between December  and March on some of our muddy estuaries. This can be seen in another You Tube clip I have found. Go to: . I must admit, this individual I saw did look a little lonely!

Sandwich terns.

Back at Keyhaven, on posts a little way out to sea were 15 or so sandwich terns, soon to be off on their long journey to South Africa to maybe fish alongside our common terns from Stoke Lake.

On Friday, September 21, I ventured down to Pulborough Brooks RSPB reserve in West Sussex. The only migrants I could see were a few swallow and blackcaps.

Although members of the warbler family and insect eaters, blackcaps are also rather partial to blackberries. A small number could be seen gorging around the bushes alongside mixed flocks of tits and finches.

Teal at Pulbrough Brooks.

Viewing from the hides that face out on to the scrape, I noticed a few more ‘winter’ waders and ducks had arrived since my previous visit. These included teal and a few wigeon.

Common snipe.

Also on view, although as always extremely well camouflaged, fairly close to the hide were half-a-dozen or so common snipe – back from their more northern breeding grounds.

Marsh tit seen in the car park at Pulbrough Brooks.

To round the day off I picked out a marsh tit not far from the car park. This is a bird also now on the RSPB’s ‘red list’, due to its decline in numbers. So this was, once again, a very pleasing sight to see it feeding on berries. It was only the second  marsh tit I have seen this year and the first photo since the one I took of one on a garden feeder in Shamley Green in December last year Remember to keep those feeders topped up this the winter, it really does help.

Marsh tit pictured on a feeder in a garden in Shamley Green in December 2011.

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