Friday, 25 February 2011

Farlington Marshes.

On Thursday, after a 60 mile drive southwards and with more blue sky than I have seen for ages, I started out on a leisurely anti-clockwise walk around the perimeter of Farlington Marshes. High tide was some 4 hours away so many of my initial sightings - Curlew, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Shelduck, Teal, Pintail, Wigeon plus Red-breasted Mergansers were somewhat distant views through the bins and scope.
Farlington Marshes is 125 hectares (308 acres) of grazing marsh on the northern shore of Langstone Harbour reclaimed in the late 1700s. Most of the site lies below mean high water level protected by a sea wall embankment on three sides parts of which have been recently restored. The M27 provides the ‘noisy’ northern boundary. Parts of the site were used by the military during both World Wars, with munitions disposal resulting in several of the smaller pits and pools. With good views over Langstone Harbour, including various shingle islands, the marsh and inter-tidal mudflats attract many species of waders and shore birds. It is also an internationally important site for wintering Brent Geese and Black-tailed Godwit plus a breeding site for Redshank, Lapwing and Skylark in the summer.

Fortunately one species offered slightly closer views. Both the grazing marsh on one side and the water filled mud gulleys on the other were full of Dark-bellied Brent Geese (Branta bernicla).

All quietly feeding and then suddenly they start to chatter to one another and all take flight as a Peregrine Falcon makes a pass over the grazing marsh. This scenario was repeated throughout the day on several occasions by both the Peregrine and a Common Buzzard. 


After each disturbance the geese resettled, often at a different location and I eventually managed some slightly better views but not quite as close as those captured a year ago.

On the southern most part of my circuit I turned my back to the mudflats and stopped for a refreshment break overlooking The Deeps with many of the same species I had already logged plus Black-headed and Common Gulls, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Little Egret, Common Snipe, Lapwing, Mute Swan plus the lovely sound of Skylarks singing overhead.

The final stage of my stroll followed the stream where a Kestrel put in a brief appearance plus slightly closer views of Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Moorhen plus over flying Shelduck.

As I headed back to the car the Brent were still wandering on the diminishing mudflats as the tide raced in.

A very pleasant coastal stroll with around 40 species logged.  Click here for previous posts on Farlington Marshes.  FAB.

20 comments:

  1. What a marvelous day you had! So very good to be able to get so many good images. Just beautiful.

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  2. Love all the shots of the Brent Frank, definitely my favourite goose

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  3. What a feast for the soul and the eyes this place is! I cannot believe all the bird species you saw and the numbers of individual birds! Outstanding that such a placed is preserved for the birds! They need such habitat to survive. This place is WONDERFUL! You got some lovely shots! I would LOVE to visit there!

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  4. ...glad you finally had a sunny day--and what a wonderful day...lots of birds, and it even looked like it was warm! You've gotten lovely photos too.

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  5. Wow what an impressive variety! Love the close-up of the Brent.

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  6. Hi Lois. It was great to be out in the sunshine at long last.

    Cheers Roy ... mine too.

    Hi Kathie. I'm sure you would love it ... plenty of species to count AND observe.

    Thanks Kelly. May have to wait awhile before the sun reappears so made the best of wha was on offer.

    Hi Jen. Thanks. If only every trip out was that good!

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  7. That is so cool!
    Excellent shots!

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  8. What a great day you had! And so many nice images! Love those flight shots, Frank.

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  9. You picked the best day of the year so far for your visit Frank and what a visit it was, no wonder it is a place you revisit!

    I have never seen a Dark-bellied Brent Goose, it is certainly a handsome creature and you got some lovely photos of it and of the rest of your walk. You also saw an impressive list of birds, what a great place to go!

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  10. Nice outing Frank, neat to see the brent photos.

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  11. What a great visit you had Frank. Excellent number of birds. Those flying Brent Geese must have been an amazing sight. Love that first capture of them.

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  12. This goose species is particularly beautiful. And just look at how many they are, fantastic! Great post.

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  13. Thanks Sarah and Mona.

    Hi Jan. I've waited a long time for a sunshine visit; just a pity the high tide wasn't a bit earlier. Yes, a delightful little species ... has to be my favorite winter Goose.

    Thanks Jann E.

    Cheers Keith. Always a delight to see so many of one species all together.

    Yes, it is JM. Just a few of the 000's that winter along the south coast.

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  14. Unbelievable. What a flock of birds. Beautiful images. I bet you had fun. Carol

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  15. what a great day. So many birds! Love it. My world is still empty of them.

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  16. Thanks Carol. Always fun watching the Brent.

    NatureFootstep. I guess you'll have to wait a while until some of our winter visitors return northwards.

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  17. Great to see these photos Frank. I'm from the area, left it 8 yrs ago to move to Scotland, and know it well. I used to spend many hours birding near Langstone Harbour, lived a short walk from the shore. Brought back memories! Karen

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  18. Karen the Artist. I'm delighted this brought back happy birding memories for you Karen.

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  19. Hi Frank
    Didn't know you were in the blogosphere until you came up as Featured Bird Blogger of the Week! And you've retired, too, so plenty of time to get out and find things to blog about. Well done, keep it up!

    Peter

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  20. Hi Peter. Thanks for the visit. Hope you are well and enjoying life. FAB.

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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