Monday 25 September 2023

Farlington Marshes

Sunday 23 September

Following some early morning very light drizzle I drove over to Farlington Marsh to join the HOS meeting under the leadership of Kevin Stouse, making a total group of 14 members.  It was with a very strong, cold wind that we set off northwards towards the marsh and, with the tide making its slow way out, very many Oystercatchers and Curlews relatively close to the shore along with scores of Black-headed Gulls and a fair few Carrion Crow foraging on the the wet mud. A female Marsh Harrier was quartering the island in front of us and succeeded in disturbing all the roosting birds below.

Two of the very many Curlew Numenius arquata
Curlew (above) and Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Working our way along the shore path we found many more Curlew and Oystercatchers the, at last, a couple of Whimbrel. Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits were also noted.  With the tide rapidly ebbing more and more Little Egrets were recorded along with the many Black-headed Gulls. A Cormorant flew low across the water and soon we were ready to leave the waterside and enter the marsh proper as we headed inland in the direction of the distant, former observatory.

Loads of Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus

No sooner had we entered a field than we had recorded both Cetti's Warbler and Long-tailed Tit and then, as we watched a Heron moving low long the adjacent field, it was jointed by a handsome quartering male Marsh Harrier. Woodpigeons became a regular sighting and then a Great Tit flew across the track into a nearby tree.  Our first Meadow Pipit spent considerable time bathing in a pool to our left and, as we watched, a small skein of Canada Geese flew over.

Male Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Many more, hundreds, of Canada Geese were seen as we approached the former centre and lagoon but we did also stop to admire the trio of juvenile Yellow Wagtails and yet another Heron.  Not a lot of birdlife at the lagoon but we did find a few teal and Lapwing plus a Coot and pair of Shoveler. Just two Wigeon but ore were to be found further along the water.

Wigeon Anas penelope

As we walked along the path adjacent to the river we recorded many more Lapwing, Teal and Mallard plus scores of Black-tailed GodwitsCanada Geese appeared to be everywhere but amongst the small group of the water was a singe Greylag Goose.

Greylag Goose Anser anser (centre) with Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Another check a little further along the path produced a pair of Avocet and using bins and scopes to check the Canada Geese beyond the water we found the local "white goose" which led us to quickly and easily find the resident lone Barnacle Goose. A closer check on this stretch of water also found a quartet of Shoveler and a pair of Pintail before the juvenile Shelduck put in an appearance.

Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta with Wigeon Anas penelope

Then it was on up to the embankment overlooking the now almost empty Langstone Harbour and onto the mirador for our picnic lunch.  Below us on the lagoon side we found a quartet of Gadwall resting near a small flock of Mallard.  On the harbour side of the wall a couple of Herring Gulls and a single Grey Plover.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Pushing on ahead I then completed the last couple of miles but only added a single Magpie before reaching the car, completing my check list and heading for home having recorded a total 41 species.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Stonechat, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Canada Geese Branta canadensis and Wigeon Anas penelope

Departing Curlew Numenius arquata 

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