Thursday, 2 July 2015

Did I find the Greater Yellowlegs?

Thursday 2 July

The simple answer is "No."  Having read that a Greater Yellowlegs had taken up residence at nearby Titchfield Haven, near Hill Head on Southampton Water, I look myself off there this afternoon to see if the bird really was an easy sighting.  Should have checked the tide times as, upon arrival, I was there about an hour after high tide and it seems that the bird takes itself off up river (the Meon) at this time.  I did venture forth towards Titchfield to check out the old, overgrown canal where it is reputed to sometimes spend its time but to no avail.  So back to the reserve to see what else was about as well as the numerous breeding Black-headed Gulls, Mallards and even a few Mute Swans.

The graceful Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
Loads of breeding Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundas  
What did strike me. apart from the numerous Black-headed Gulls, was the number of successfully breeding Avocets, always a delight to watch.  Collared and Rock Doves and especially scores of Wood Pigeons to be seen.  The woods also held Magpies and, along the shore, a handful of Common Starlings to accompany the water birds.

Three of the quartet of Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus in with their Black-headed cousins
In addition to the Avocets and Mallards I recorded a few Gadwall and a couple of Shelduck along with about three pairs of Canada Geese complete with well-grown goslings.  Why so many Black-tailed Godwits with some looking like "old" juveniles and yet others in full breeding plumage?  Are these birds on their way north or south?

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa by the score

Also present at least ten Common Terns,  two pairs of Oystercatcher,  couple of Lapwings and a dozen or so Moorhens.  All the way north from Spain and I also found a quartet of Mediterranean Gulls on the nearby island.  I was only at the site a relatively short time with even less time to look at the water given that the adjoining track is mainly through woodland but on returning to the car parked on the waterfront, with the tide now rapidly receding, I noticed both a single Little Egret and a Lesser Black-backed Gull on the seaside rocks and a pair of Crows working the shingle.  So, the real question is will I have time (nevermind permission!) for a return visit in the morning before setting off for the eldest son's wedding?

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus with Common Tern Sterna hirundo (above) and on nest below

Birds seen:
Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Little Egret, Moorhen, Avocet, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Back-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Crow, Starling.

Eventide with the Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta

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