Field Reports

Friday 22 March     Farlington Marshes

Leader Tony Wootton

What wonderful weather we enjoyed last Friday. Usually, it’s wet and windy on the Society’s outings to Farlington but not on this occasion. As we gathered, we listened to a Cetti’s Warbler outdoing the noise of the traffic on the A27. It was going to be a good morning.

Even before we started listing the many bird species we were to observe, we saw lots of brown tailed moth caterpillars with their urticating hairs, best avoided.

As we set off in an anticlockwise direction towards the harbourside, the fourteen members called out their observations. These included Great Tit, Collared Dove, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, the song of a Robin, the churring of a Greenfinch and a Cormorant flying seaward over the incoming tide.

On reaching the water’s edge, Mallard, Brent Goose, Oyster Catcher, Black headed Gull, Redshank and Curlew were noted with a Little Egret wading within, what seemed, a very short distance of the main road. A lone Grey Plover was seen (distinguishable by its black patch under the wing). Two Shelduck flew over, to join the many others in the field behind us.

Looking both right and left, out into the harbour and in to the marsh, we observed Moorhen and Coot, a mixture of Canada and Brent Geese, including some juveniles, as well as Magpie, Pheasant, Avocet, Black tailed Godwit, Teal and two Mute Swan. How nice it was not to be buffeted about by the usual squalls!

As we reached the southernmost edge of the marsh, Greenshank, Dunlin (very busy dibbling), Bearded Reedling (Bearded Tit), MORE Shelduck, Meadow Pipit, Lapwing, Wigeon, displaying Moorhen, Common Gull, Coot and Shoveller were added to the growing List. Some Hirundines flew over but there was no agreement as to what they were! The beautiful sound of Skylark could be heard almost continuously but proved invisible against the grey sky.

The antics of several Great Crested Grebe were enjoyed, difficult to tell how many there were as they dived down and reappeared!

We met 4 members of a recently formed group of birders, part of the Winchester U3A and we ambled on together as Tony led us north on the eastern side of the marsh. Raven, Chaffinch and another Cormorant (out at sea) and a close-by Meadow Pipit were next to be seen. Over towards the Hayling Island oyster beds, beady eyes spotted four Merganser (two male and two female) and Sandwich Tern; while Mediterranean Gull were heard.

To our left were seen - Wren, Gadwall, Teal, very handsome Tufted Duck, Pintail and a lone winnowing Little Grebe. On cue, Lapwing put on a dramatic swooping display against a backdrop of a small murmuration of Starling. Nearer to hand, we listed Goldfinch and Reed Bunting.

A pure black rabbit caught our attention as we crossed the fields heading towards the car park. We bumped into a Wildlife Trust warden who informed us that the metal points we’d queried on some of the fence posts were specifically near the Lapwing nesting areas to deter predators.

Nearing the information shelter and the nearby pool, we completed our List (to be forwarded to the Society’s Recorder) with a Little Ringed Plover, a Peregrine flying overhead, Chiffchaff, and the song of more Cetti’s and Robin. An observant member saw nine Avocet mixed in with some black headed Gull in the final pool (the rest of us were keen for our lunch, I think!) This same member went on to see some Black Necked Grebe (see the Chi Nats Blog for more detail).

Many thanks for everyone’s company and especially to Tony Wootton for leading us so ably.

 Gill Hance

A proud and posing Pintail duck

Brown-tailed moth caterpillars - don't touch!

Black Rabbit !
The black Rabbit

Meadow Pipit


Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
LIttle Ringed Plover

Golden Eye

Tufted Duck


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