Sunday 18 October 2020

Sunday 18th October

Long before dawn, 28 Mallard and two Aylesbury Duck with a large flock of Teal were on the Main Pond. Later that morning, an unseasonal Reed Warbler there was checked carefully and heard to call. It is by coincidence that a vagrant Acrocephalus appeared in another part of the county today.

Overcast and dank, light faded for a time in the morning to become almost unbirdable, but even when the rain fell, the site produced quality as a flock of five Cattle Egret flew SSW and disappeared over Langstone Rock 08:40-08:45. At c.09:30, one observer saw a lone Great White Egret fly north low over the Main Pond and into the estuary, so with the few Little Egret present completed another three egret day.

Despite the conditions, visible migration was quite good, all flew northeast unless otherwise stated; 195 Goldfinch, 117 Siskin, 57 Meadow Pipit, 46 Chaffinch, 18 Greenfinch, 17 Lesser Redpoll, 16 Linnet, 13 alba wagtail (W), nine Skylark (W), three Grey Wagtail, two Swallow, two Song Thrush (left site) and a Redwing. A female Merlin rapidly flew low NE at 09:25.  One or two Goldfinch of groups examined more closely were distinctly more robust and subtly different toned, suggestive that  a few Continental carduelis were among the usual British britannica on the move.  Significant influx of Continental birds to Britain is suspected (e.g. Wernham et al, 2002) but remains only hypothesised since too few ringing recoveries support this assumption and racial identification is especially challenging.   

The Yellowhammer was still present in bushes around Greenland Lake, as well as two Reed Bunting and a few Cirl Bunting. In the woods and bushes, eight Chiffchaff, five Blackcap and four Goldcrest.

The only wader count achieved was 296 Dunlin and as the tide dropped the wildfowl drifted out and among the Wigeon and Teal flocks were 24 Shelduck, a pair of Gadwall, only the second record of the year,and a Pintail. Scavenging out on the exposed mudflats were 166 Carrion Crow, the highest count here since Nov 2010, and among them two Rook.

Gorping skyward, a distraction for the assembled birders from undertaking waterbird counts was the awesome sight of three separate Short-eared Owl that cruised around for some time over Warren Point and moved up and down the site at height, sometimes harried by crows.

Miscellaneous other notables were two Kestrel, two Sandwich Tern, the drake Eider and the Slavonian Grebe. A total of 103 species were recorded for Global Bird weekend.

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