Last Friday I drove to the south coast and took a leisurely stroll around Farlington Marshes. As is typical of this coastal location most of the species were far too distant for the lens but it was great to be out on a breezy but fairly cloudless day. Due to construction work alongside the access road I had a longer than expected walk in order to get onto the reserve.
On my arrival it was still low tide but my first sightings from scanning the main pool produced long awaited views Curlew Sandpiper (2) and a single Little Stint. (All new sightings for 2011). Other inhabitants of the pool included Common Redshank, Lapwing, Grey Plover with many porting their black waistcoats, a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff (4), Dunlin, plus Mallard, Gadwall, Moorhen, Coot and Shelduck.
By scoping the open mudflats I added Little Egret, Grey Heron, Curlew plus the usual gatherings of Black-headed, Herring and Common Gulls. Leaving the seawall behind I headed down alongside the stream where I watched the aerial acrobatics of large numbers of Sand Martins and Swallows busily feeding up prior to their southward migration. The bushes produced views of Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Common Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Blackbird and Reed Bunting. Scanning eastwards I located a Common Buzzard perched on a fencepost before heading back onto the southern edge of the seawall path.
A Clouded Yellow butterfly briefly perched on the grassy path before disappearing and only allowing me a single shot of its distinctive closed wings. At The Deeps I added Canada Geese and a very lonely Brent Goose plus small flocks of Oystercatchers calling as they flew way out into the harbour to gather on the distant shingle islands. There were a few Great Crested Grebes on the sea but I failed to locate an Osprey that had been seen during recent days. I did however manage to find a dozen or so Yellow Wagtails flitting around the hooves of the cattle on the inner
After a complete clockwise circuit I ended back at the main pool which was full of the mixed flocks of waders logged earlier in the morning but now included a single Whimbrel, a few Knot plus 20 Greenshank. This peaceful sight was soon disturbed by a male Peregrine Falcon who managed to grab a Dunlin and flew into a nearby field to consume its prey. When the waders eventually resettled I also spotted a male Sparrowhawk sitting very patiently on the rear edge of the pool but its attempt to catch a meal was unsuccessful.
Northern Wheatear before it disappeared into the grass!
This shot of one of the many ringed Black-tailed Godwits to be found at this site was taken in 2009. For more information and images from my previous visits to Farlington Marshes please click this link. FAB.