On a beautiful spring like morning, I dropped Tobias off for his last day at school before the Easter holidays and spent a couple of hours at Pennington Marsh.
At the corner of Lower Pennington Lane I had a coffee and watched the Lapwing displaying and listened to the Sky Lark but other than small numbers of Wigeon and Teal there was little else on the marsh.
I drove down to the car park at the end of the lane and headed a short way along the Ancient Highway. On Efford Lagoon the Great Crested Grebe were displaying and there were around 15 Tufted Duck still on the water.
The passerines were in full song with many Sky Lark over the old landfill and the Gorse full of the sound of Greenfinch, Linnet, Dunnock and a single Dartford Warbler.
I wandered out past Fishtail Lagoon where the water levels currently look excellent for attracting a rare spring wader. There were at least 12 Ruff, 15 Snipe and 32 Avocet, my highest count ever of the latter for Pennington Marsh. There were still many Wigeon, and Teal on the marsh and I spent some time scanning for Garganey but with no luck.
There were also still small number of Brent Goose and Pintail remaining. Wandering out to Keyhaven Lagoon there were five sleeping Spoonbill and a further 16 Avocet plus four Greenshank and two Spotted Redshank. It was time to collect Tobias and retracing my steps I found my first Adder of the year along the northern bank of Butts Lagoon.
It had been a pleasant couple of hours but I had seen no summer migrants.
Male Greenfinch in full song in the Gorse – Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh
Male Greenfinch eating Hawthorn buds – Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh
Female Greenfinch – Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh
Meadow Pipit – Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh
Dunnock in song in the Gorse – Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh
Great Crested Grebe – Efford Lagoon, Pennington Marsh
Spoonbill – Keyhaven Lagoon, Pennington Marsh
Wigeon – Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh
I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine's Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.
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