|Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sunday 27 March
A quiet , sunny morning at Farlington Marsh, north of Portsmouth, where the sun was shining brightly but a cold breeze coming off the water. A two and a half hour walk round the perimeter plus a short foray inland totalling jut over 6 kilometres eventually produced 38 species, the pick of which were a couple of Avocets and Mediterranean Gulls plus a single Knot.
Taking the anti-clockwise walk along the perimeter path I was soon seeing hundreds of Black-headed plus the occasional Common Gull. Before turning westwards I had also added Lesser Black-backed and towards the end of the walk even Herring Gulls. On the river opposite the Information Centre at almost the end of my walk, checking the massed Black-headed I even found a pair of Mediterranean Gulls.
|Herring Gull Larus argentatus with 2 Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus and a single Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
On my first stretch of the walk the tide was rapidly receding also exposing the mud that encouraged the waders to draw closer and this, in turn, produced many Redshank and then a single Knot feeding alongside a single Redshank giving an excellent size comparison. Also in this first area I found a lone Whimbrel and within the next 200 metres as the path turned left the first of many Curlew.
|Curlew Numenius arquata
This next stretch also provided me with many Turnstone and Redshank plus the small number of Brent Geese that seemed to prefer the more open waters and accompanying mud flats. Meanwhile, the inland pools were producing Little Egrets, Coots, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon and Mallard as well as more Black-headed Gulls and the first of the scores of Canada Geese. Even a pair of Mute Swans albeit later n I was to see many more.
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Continuing on, despite the war, bright sunshine there was a distinct cold breeze coming from the north. I was now seeing very many Canada Geese and as I turned inland on the far side I could see the, possibly, hundreds of both Brent and Canada Geese. Not having seen a Starling for a week or more I now had a feeding flock over a hundred on the grass across the stream to my left plus others resting in nearby trees and bushes. A thicket of dense bushes in front of me held a posing Song Thrush and a Blackbird was foraging on the more open ground nearby.
|Distant Song Thrush Turdus iliacus
To my right of the mudflats a few Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Turnstones plus the occasional gull and Little Egret but mainly over a hundred feeding Dunlin.
|Where have all the Starlings Sturnus vulgaris gone? They're here, at Farlington Marsh in Hampshire
The large inland pool held a huge flock of Black-headed Gulls along with Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Mallard and Shoveler. No shortage of Coots and on the adjacent grassy fields many Lapwing along with a single Heron and the regular passing Carrion Crows. Further on I came across a handful of Jackdaw and a couple of Magpie plus, of course, many Wood Pigeon as I neared the trees. The next small stream held a number of feeding Black-tailed Godwits.
|Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa coming into breeding plumage
So on to the Information Centre and a stop to check the water opposite where I picked up a pair of Little Grebe plus Mute Swans and more Black-tailed Godwits. A couple of Robins were singing in the trees behind me but masked by twigs to prevent a photograph. I then took the inland path that followed this main waterway and had sight of more Mute Swans, Little Egrets and both Shoveler and Mallard as well as Coots. Checking the Black-headed I managed to find the pair of resting Mediterranean Gulls and, even better, a pair of Avocets. Time to head slowly back to the parked car and passing the groups of small trees and bushes I added both Greenfinch and Goldfinch to the morning's sightings.
|Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta
Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.