Friday, 16 January 2009

A day at the coast with Tony

A not so early start for 'The Early Birder' today (Friday 16th) as I picked up Tony for a day birding at his request on the south coast at Farlington Marshes.

Farlington Marshes is 125 hectares (308 acres) of flower rich grazing marsh on the northern shore of Langstone Harbour. This is an internationally important site for wintering Brent Geese & Black-tailed Godwit plus a breeding site for Redshank, Lapwing & Skylark in the summer.
Mucky Ducks! (Teal)


A view of the freshwater lagoon

A confiding Little Egret
This is what we expected to see - 000's of overwintering 'Dark-bellied' Brent Geese

Close to the information hut we located this 'leg ringed' wader with it's head buried in the grass. Can you guess what it is?

Other notable sightings were Common Snipe (12), Kingfisher, Stonechat, Avocet (12+), Little & Great-crested Grebes, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Curlew, Knot, Dunlin (000's), Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveller, Shelduck and a Water Rail [heard screaming]. A male Marsh Harrier was seen quartering above the extensive reed bed.

The afternoon was spent on Hayling Island at the old 'oyster beds'.

The early 19th century was probably the hey day of the Hayling Island oyster beds but in 1902 when new drainage / sewerage pipes were laid to meet increasing housing development the outfall into the harbour nearby caused major pollution and the oyster business failed. In the 1980's a large volume of rubble was 'dumped' into the beds. Some of the 'bunds' have been breached so nearly all of this previously protected area is now tidal. The rising tide breaks through the opening in the bunds.

Resting Redshanks & Shelducks

Most of the afternoon was spent watching displaying Red-breasted Mergansers (40?) and Goldeneye (15) plus we also added Turnstone & Ringed Plover to our day list.

And finally another Little Egret experiencing a bad hair day!

The final total for the day was 46, but the highlights were definitely the large numbers of Brent Geese, Red-breasted Mergansers & Goldeneye plus of course being able to get close to a confiding Black-tailed Godwit. Did you guess correctly?


  1. A lovely selection of birds you have here. I especially like the egret.

  2. Those Red-breasted Mergansers are beautiful, and love the sweet Little Egret too Frank! A good birding day!

  3. Thank you Joan - Everyone seems to appreciate the Little Egret.

  4. Yes Jayne I agree. Just a pity they didn't come closer unlike the Little Egrets that seem ready to pose for a pic!

  5. So many beautiful birds in your area! Especially enjoyed the egrets!

  6. Shelly - No exactly on the doorstep, we have to drive 60 miles to the coastal marshes but it's worth it. Glad you like the Egrets - popular choice.

  7. I missed reading this post until now - but those are great photos of the Black-tailed Godwit. Especially good that you could get clear photos of the leg bands. I'll be interested to hear more details about where it was banded etc. We get a few Black-tailed Godwit out here in SE Queensland, Australia - associated with huge flocks of Bar-tailed Godwit.

  8. Thanks Mick, I was pleased with the results. Initial feedback indicates the BTG was ringed last Sept at Farlington - will post more info when I hear again from the 'ringer'.

  9. It looks like you have a great day. Lots of great photos. Life's good!

  10. Steve, whilst I often birdwatch on my own it is good to spend time with close friends like Tony who enjoys wherever and whatever we see.


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