Sunday 18 June 2023

Hayling Island

 Saturday 17 June

An overview of the large Black-headed Gull and Common Tern breeding colony

Just like being back to pre-Spain visit days with a morning out birding with my friend Richard Osman.  This first birding trip since returning from Spain was to the former oyster beds on the "Billy Line" at Hayling Island.  With rain promised late in the morning its was straight off from the car park once we had note the Little Egret and both Common and Herring Gull.

Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus

Making our was down the path towards the old railway line we recoded a couple of Blackcaps, a Magpie on the path in front of us and then stopped and spent some time listening to the singing Whitethroat with occasional brief sighting in the well-leafed small tree.

Common Terns Sterna hirundo

A Woodpigeon beat a hasty retreat away from us and once on the path alongside the former oysterbeds we noted another Little Egret and both Blackbird and Carrion Crow.  A small flock of Starlings were foraging on the grassy bank and then a Swallow skimmed over the water in front of us. A couple of distant Oystercatchers were seen and with both a Wren and Whitethroat singing away in front of us we made our way to the main lagoon and its large islands to study the vastly populated Black-headed Gull breeding colony.  

Just a handful of the hundreds of Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus

Within the breeding colony and water in front were many juvenile birds with a good disparity in ages. In between the many Black-headed Gull nest a small number of Common Tern were found. Then it was on to the far side where we found many Common Tern nests on the floating breeding platforms and, finally, after noting the distant Cormorant, a lone Mediterranean Gull of the thin water-break.

Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus

Making our way back we stopped at the final, almost dry, lagoon on the inland side of the former rail track not just to check out the few Black-headed Gulls but also the newly-arrived Oystercatcher and the sleeping Shelduck.  Only nineteen species but good to be out at a local site and back at the car just as the light rain started.

Sleeping Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Birds seen:

Shelduck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Common Tern, Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Wren, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow.

Young Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus

Mainly Common Terns Sterna hirundo on the nesting platform

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

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