Sunday, 6 July 2014

Patch Birding at Curbridge - July 2014

After my visit to the Black Redstarts I stopped off at Curbridge for a spot of patch birding. By early July there can often be small numbers of waders present, which are probably failed or non-breeders. The tide was out, but coming in and so I walked along the creek from the Horse and Jockey end. There were a few Black-headed Gulls, four Little Egrets, Common Moorhen, Mute Swan and several Mallards, including one duck with about 10 recently hatched chicks. As I approached the main estuary I spotted a couple of Common Greenshanks and two distant Eurasian Curlews.

The greenshanks were both adult birds, which would be expected this time of year. They are very obvious to tell from juveniles by the heavily streaked and spotted upper breast and their broad and more rounded scapulars. The two birds were roosting on the waters edge directly at the mouth of the creek and therefore I was able to creep up and get some great views.

Adult Common Greenshank - Curbridge
Adult Common Greenshank - Curbridge
Adult Common Greenshank - Curbridge

After I had finished watching the greenshanks I turned my attention to the rest of the estuary. There were a further six Little Egrets, around 70 Black-headed Gulls and two Eurasian Curlew. Scanning over the mud I picked up two adult Oystercatchers and a chick. Interestingly the chick was still flightless and given that it was on a piece of mud that is totally covered at high tide, it will be interesting to see where it goes. 

Oystercatcher with chick - Curbridge

At the far end of the estuary I suddenly noticed a tern feeding over the water. It is not that uncommon to see Common Terns this far up the River Hamble, but this bird was an adult Sandwich Tern, which I must admit I don't recall having seen before. It didn't come very close but I still managed to grab a record shot before it turned around and headed back down the river. 

Adult Sandwich Tern - Curbridge

The only other bird of note was a roosting Lesser Black-backed Gull, so with time pressing on I headed back to the car. On the way back my attention was drawn to a large orange butterfly which turned out to be a Silver-washed Fritillary, my first of the year. Unfortunately I only had my long telephoto with me and was unable to get a photo.

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