I was rather briefly at Farlington around lunchtime, so rather than eating I walked down to the Deeps and back, it was well worth it as it appears that spring might finally have sprung.
I checked the cattle in the bushes first and saw at least 12 chiffchaff and my first blackcap of the year. a male and I think the first on the reserve this year. I know many people have blackcap I their gardens in the winter, but I don’t and they are rare away from urban areas, I’m sure this bird would have been a migrant. At the Building several bearded tit were flying around and 2 common sandpiper were feeding along the Stream, another first for the year.
Walking out to the seawall a female wheatear was in the Hayfield and at the end of the track a fantastic male redstart, yet another first for the year for me. I was collecting salinity data from the ditches on my way, unsurprisingly most are quite fresh at present. At the Deeps the mute swan pair seem to have completed their nest.
Over the Deeps 2 swallow were also the first I have seen on the reserve this year, although not my first this year as I saw one at Warsash at the weekend. Looking out into the Harbour a black-necked grebe was a good sight being nearly in summer plumage and I also added one more species to my yearlist as 6 whimbrel flew around calling. So with four additions I am now on 146 in Hampshire for the year.
Returning to the Building so that I could head off to my afternoon meeting I spotted a plastic bag in a bush. Visitors from other countries around the world marvel at us for the terrible state of our countryside when it comes to rubbish. The roadsides are strewn with an endless ribbon of jetsam, thrown or just lost from passing traffic. The same is true for the seashore where waterborne rubbish and especially plastic rubbish comes in with every tide. In general the reserve does not get too much rubbish left on it by visitors, most of our rubbish comes over the seawall or off the A27. However these bags in bushes are an exception, they are clearly left there quite deliberately, a statement of some kind perhaps. Maybe they are left in the name of art, in which case they are to the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude what a crude graffiti tag is to a Canaletto. A bit like the leavers of tags they do not want them to be easily removed, instead of using permanent spray paint they include faeces, so special effort is required to clear them away. You may say, it is just dog walkers who pick up the mess and cannot be bothered to take it to the bin in the car park, but why pick it up at all if it is going to be hung up to rot? Very strange behaviour indeed.