Trip reports

Farlington Marshes - Sunday 19 November 2017

Farlington Marshes - Sunday 19 November 2017
Brent geese by John Birkett

Friday, 24 November 2017

Scanning around early on gave us the first of many teal, Brent geese, grey plover, dunlin, pintail, little egret, redshank, shelduck and black-tailed godwit. A couple of kestrels were hunting in different directions and a sizeable flock of ringed plover was near the bridge. As we entered the reserve a song thrush was foraging around the bottom of a fence. The fields held large flocks of starling, lapwing, Canada goose and wigeon. Closer scrutiny of the geese revealed a couple of grenada geese (Canada x greylag) and a couple of white 'domestic' geese. The first pair of stonechats of the day were flitting around the scrub and a few skylarks flew over. There were bearded tits flying around in the nearest reeds and later on we had excellent views of up to 30 feeding close to the sea wall. The main lake held a flock of 24 avocets as well as large flocks of other waders. A single common gull added to the variety. Most of the Group had been watching a short-eared owl hunting, then we picked up on two owls flying around over the point and then heading out over the harbour towards the RSPB islands and possibly even over to Hayling putting up thousands of waders as they went! 8 red-breasted mergansers suddenly appeared in the harbour behind us and we had two further flocks making at least 20 birds. A cronking overhead was made by a pair of ravens, which landed nearby. Several snipe were beside the lake, reed buntings were flying into the reeds and a buzzard perched on vegetation in the field behind. The buzzard was seen later on flying around and at one point a sparrowhawk accompanied it. While watching the bearded tits we heard our first water rail of the day and later on we saw one (or more likely two) in a small stream. By the end of the day we had seen/heard at least six. At least six greenshanks were found on one of the pools. As we started on the return leg from the point we had a flock of linnets and more stonechats. It was while checking these out for any companions that one of the owls flew back in over the harbour and then proceeded to hunt the fields. At one point it dropped down and caught a vole, which it devoured. Once it had eaten it took a short flight before settling down again and disgorged its meal. From then on it spent most of its time on the ground. A few other species were added as we headed back - a flock of goldfinch, rock pipit, turnstone, barnacle goose, Cetti's warbler and little grebe. There was just a single greylag all day and as dusk fell back at the car park a marsh harrier drifted over.
Based on John Birkett's personal blog.