Friday, 14 November 2014

Calshot Marshes and Spit - November 2014

This morning I headed to Calshot Marshes and spit with Simon Colenutt in the hope of seeing the Snow Bunting that had been frequenting the area for a few days. It had not been seen since Wednesday, but we decided to go and have a look just in case. Heavy overnight rain delayed our start, but by the time we arrived on site it had cleared through and sun was breaking out. We spent a couple of hours pottering around the area but unfortunately had no luck with the Snow Bunting, there were however plenty of birds around to keep us occupied. 

Several Rock Pipits were feeding around the puddles on the access road, one individual was particularly tame and allowed me to get close enough for some half decent images. A flock of around 20 Greenfinches were feeding on the beach, these were proving pretty flighty and wouldn't settle down. Off shore there were several Cormorants, Great-crested Grebes and a Grey Seal, which was a bit of a surprise.

Rock Pipit, Calshot - November 2014

A good selection of waders were on the marsh including, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Curlew and Oystercatcher.

Two Dunlin, Calshot - November 2014

The tide was going out and in the shallow channels several Little Egrets were feeding, at least six were present. Their energetic feeding style was entertaining to watch and in the glorious sun we spent a few minutes watching and photographing them.

Little Egret, Calshot Marshes - November 2014
Little Egret and Dunlin, Calshot Marshes - November 2014

Fifteen Black-headed Gulls were roosting on the exposed mud, two of them were ringed with metal rings. One bird flew off and we were unable to get the ring number, the other one frustrated us by only allowing us to read half of the ring numbers before it too flew off. Whilst trying to read the ring number on the Black-head an adult Mediterranean Gull dropped in. It settled down and meticulously preened, spending an amazingly long amount of time on its primaries.

Adult Mediterranean Gull preening, Calshot Marsh - November 2014

It never ceases to amaze me how these pure white gulls keep their feathers so clean, especially when they spend much of their time in such dirty environments, this bird looked immaculate when it had finished.

Adult Mediterranean Gull, Calshot Marshes - November 2014

After Calshot we headed to Lepe where we spent most of our time in the small copse and looking over the Dark Water. There was very little of note to report, the highlight being a Firecrest, and couple of Bullfinches and a Coal Tit.

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