Monday, 1 March 2010

A trip to the coast (Are the grebes stalking me?)

A quick trip to my old haunts around Langstone Harbour this morning and what a morning to go there. Although I the journey has not got better, in fact I think it was worse, how did I do that everyday?

Once I got there it was magically calm, completely glass smooth water showed every ripple allowing even the smallest bird on the water to be easy to pick out. From the top of the mound at Budds Farm I counted at least 39 Goldeneye, 85 Red-breasted Merganser and 15 Black-necked Grebes, there was also a Velvet Scoter and what I took to be a Long-tailed Duck, although the views of the last were distant and into the light. I thought I would get a look at it when I went over to the Hayling Oyster Beds, but when I got there it was nowhere to be seen.
The Oyster Beds are a great roosting site for waders, the old bunds now forming islands at high tide, these attracted a good flock of Dunlin with some Grey Plover today, the picture shows them coming in to land at the roost after being disturbed by a helicopter.
Langstone Harbour is well known as a breeding site for gulls and terns. The Oyster Beds have held a good colony of Little Terns at times and are wardened by the Wildlife Trust each summer and we were there to look at doing some works to improve the habitat before the coming nesting season. The island in the lagoon is also a gathering site for the Mediterranean Gulls that nest with the Black-headed Gulls out on the harbour islands. There were at least 50 there this morning in the sunshine, with lots of calling and displaying. Although the nest rather later than the Black-headeds they get their black heads earlier.
After an hour or so planning some work on the ditches at Farlington Marshes to see if we can attract more Lapwing and Redshank to nest it was return to Blashford time.
I had a quick look at Ibsley Water and would you believe it, there were 4 Black-necked Grebes, I just couldn't escape them today!

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