Monday, 11 May 2015

Disappointed Despite a Bonaparte's Gull

On Saturday, the Greater Yellowlegs reappeared at Titchfield Haven and showed all day. It's been a frustrating bird, appearing on the reserve on odd days since the beginning of the year. Where it goes in the mean time has been a mystery, but when it was reported on the floods at the north end, away from the reserve proper, where coverage may have been limited, it seemed reasonable to assume it might have been pinned down, so we thought it worth a trip down. I've had a bad time with Greater Yellowlegs, one at Minsemere went before I got there, another in Lincolnshire was hard to pin down, and more recently we went for the Druridge Bird a week late, having decided that a Sharp Tailed Sandpiper at Chew (with two Dowitchers, a Spotted Sandpiper and a belatedly identified Semi-Palmated Sandpiper) was more important.
The news on the way down was not good, so we diverted to Southampton's Riverside Park on the Itchen where the long staying Bonaparte's Gull was still present. After a bit of confusion with the various car parks we arrived at the right spot to see a couple of local birders that we have met before in attendance. The 1st Summer bird was sitting on the mud a bit of a long way off but flew a bit closer a few minutes later. I got a record shot with the 300mm lens, but as it was some way off went back to the car for the 500mm. Fatal mistake as it had flown down river, and despite waiting an hour it did not return.

We then drove down to the north end of Titchfield Haven, despite there still being no news. It was starting to warm up a bit and the walk down the old canal was pleasant, though with a distinct lack of dragonflies. Did see a small school of Trout and what appeared to be a Grayling in the water.
Got down to the floods to find a small group of quiet birders, including Ian Bennel. The devastating news of a Citril Finch in Norfolk had not gone down well. We had a chat for a while as there did not seem to be much happening-a reasonable flock of Icelandic Black Tailed Godwits, a few Shelduck, Lapwing and Common Terns, with Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warblers. Ian went down to check out areas to the south, and we followed, though all we saw was a Cuckoo, so we all returned to the floods, saw that there was no change and decided that a coffee in the car would be nice. Back at the car park, Dave from Royston and one of his mates had just arrived (Aubrey being in Scotland failing to see the irregular Harlequin Duck), so we had another long chat as its been a while since I last saw them.
There was no chance of getting to Norfolk for the Citril Finch and there were no other birds nearby so we returned home, calling in at Noar Hill for an hour. It is looking superb at the moment, carpeted in yellow Cowslips with contrasting spikes of Early Purple Orchids. Butterflies were a bit hit and miss as it was a bit overcast at times, and a bit breezy as well. Dingy Skippers were abundant, and there were a number of Orange Tips and a few Duke of Burgundys as well. Saw a blue of some kind-views were very brief but failed to find any Green Hairstreaks. Had hoped to hear Turtle Doves here, but luckily I saw one from the car on the way home.

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