Days of Brent and a Big Blue

I was at Farlington Marsh on Friday and again for a time today at least. Since the start of last week there has been a huge arrival of wildfowl, there are now in excess of 1500 wigeon, around a 1000 brent geese, at least 80 pintail and today over 300 teal. In addition on Friday the red-breasted goose was seen on the Hayling shore and later off the Point at Farlington, although it seems it was at Fareham Creek the next day, hopefully it will see the error of its ways and come back to us. On Friday I was delighted to see some juvenile brent, it is very early to see juveniles and so perhaps this indicates that they have had a better breeding season. I got a very poor picture of a family party with three juveniles in Shut Lake.

brent family Sept 2013

brent family Sept 2013

You can just make out the barred coverts on the juvenile on the right, these juveniles also lack the white neck collar, but this is not a reliable feature for aging as a few adults also have minimal collars and some juveniles have good ones. Heading back through the Bushes I found the mute swan family from the Building part of the Stream on the Old Pond.

mute swan family on the Old Pond

mute swan family on the Old Pond

Near the Building I heard bearded tit calling and saw at least 14 birds high-flying. We were moving the cattle out of the Hayfield in readiness for some to leave the Marsh. I went into the field to check them before we moved them and saw 2 whinchat and flushed my first jack snipe of the autumn.

My only other significant sighting was of 4 common seal hauled out on Mallard Sands, to the south of the Point.

Today started well, I run a moth trap at home and when I went to turn it off there was a Clifden Nonpareil, or blue underwing. This is a huge moth and something of a rarity, although this is actually my third for the garden in recent years.

Clifden Nonpareil (Catocala fraxini)

Clifden Nonpareil (Catocala fraxini)

I was at Farlington again today to look at some ditching works we have planned for next month. As I waited at the Building there was a continuous passage to the east of swallow and meadow pipit, there must have been many hundreds of each in just a few tens of minutes. In the Bushes there were a few chiffchaff, perhaps ten or so and large numbers of blackcap, I found one flock of birds and as they flew across the gap between two bushes I counted the blackcap, 54 flew across!

I then went up to Hookheath to check on our British white cattle, I was pleased to find that they had found their way through to the far end of the reserve and were looking very relaxed.

British White cattle at Hookheath

British White cattle at Hookheath

The grassland at Hookheath is very varied and just now the most obvious flower is the devil’s-bit scabious, which is also attracting most of the insects.






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