Pennington Marsh – 30th April and 2nd May

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May Bank Holiday weekend and not much planned, apart from a family event on Sunday so Saturday and Monday were free, fantastic! Sarah needed some home time so I used the mornings of Saturday and Monday for some birding although I was aware that I needed to not push my luck and stay out too long!

Saturday morning (30th April) dawned early at I was up for 05:00 and down to Pennington Marshes for 06:30 – I need my breakfast and at least two coffee before I am ready to leave the house! The winds were north-west and so I was not hoping for too much but it is always great to be out birding especially on a sunny mid-spring morning.

I started by birding Efford Lagoon, the water levels here have started to recede exposing a little shoreline and now attracting a few waders, I had 35 Dunlin, two Little Ringed Plover and four Common Sandpiper here plus my first , five in total, of the year and a singing . A fly over Yellow Wagtail was myfirst of the year.

Common Sandpiper – Efford Lagoon

Chaffinch – Efford Lagoon

 I then wandered out past Shoveler Pools and to the sea beside the jetty, it was evident that many of the breeding

Whitethroat (15), Reed Warbler (12) and (6) were now on territory. Two , now a familiar site here, were on Jetty Lagoon and a single male Common Scoter was offshore.

Linnet – Butts Lagoon


– Fishtail Lagoon

 I spent a little time at Fishtail Lagoon, Keyhaven Lagoon and Keyhaven Quay and it was evident that there were good numbers of Dunlin around with approximately 350 birds present. Scanning through the flock at Keyhaven Quay I found a near summer plumage which I spent some time watching but it was too distant for photographs.

At Fishtail there was a fine summer plumage , again a little too distant for decent shots, and five Swift appeared low over the lagoon. There were approximately 12 Whimbrel around the area, some feeding in the salt marsh while others were flying overhead giving their distinct bubbling often heard at the marshes in the spring.

A single Common Sandpiper plus two Greenshank were also on Fishtail Lagoon. On the salt marsh there were still 15 Dark-bellied Brent and amongst them two Pale-bellied Brent.

A fishing Common Tern was joined by two Little Tern on Fishtail, my first of the year.

Turnstone – Fishtail

Spotted Redshank, summer plumage bird – Fishtail Lagoon

Shelduck and nesting Lapwing – Keyhaven Lagoon

Shelduck – Keyhaven Lagoon

Common Tern – Keyhaven Lagoon

Whimbrel – Keyhaven Quay

I walked back along the Ancient Highway seeing a few more Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler, 10 Swift. Finally, there were two Little Ringed Plover, a female Wigeon and a male Shoveler on Pennington Marsh.

Monday the 2nd May dawned a classic Bank Holiday Monday, overcast, heavy rain and a cold north-west wind. Still, I was up early and decided to head down to Pennington Marsh. It was miserable and so I birded with just scope and bins and birded there Ancient Highway and back past Keyhaven Lagoon, Fishtail Lagoon and Shoveller Pools.

It was pretty slow going, a few straggling Wigeon, a female Pintail, 15 Whimbrel, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 300 Dunlin, six Dark-bellied Brent Goose, eight Sandwich Tern, four Little Tern, eight Swift, six , and a briefly singing Grasshopper Warbler were the highlights. I headed home early to gain some birding Brownie Points for another day.

 

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

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.

Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

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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