Sunday, 14 August 2016

6th and 13th August - Pennington Marsh

A free Saturday morning on 6th August and I couldn't resist the pull of Pennington Marsh but a few beers the night before meant a slightly later start so I wasn't in the car park at Lower Pennington Lane until 08:00 by which time the dog walking hordes had descended. I wandered a short way along the Ancient Highway to view Efford Lagoon where three Common Sandpiper, six Swallow, 10 Sand Martin and a single Swift were the highlights. Gulls are loafing here in good numbers now with at least 12 Lesser Black-backed Gull, five Great Black-backed Gull, 60 Herring Gull, 250 Black-headed Gull, four Mediterranean Gull and a couple of Common Gull. I then walked out past Shoveler Pools where a Green Sandpiper and Wood Sandpiper were present with three juvenile Little Ringed Plover and a single Yellow Wagtail, my first of the autumn. Cutting back along the north edge of the old dump there were good numbers of juvenile Willow Warbler (c.10) and Whitethroat (c.15) in the scrub.

Juvenile Reed Bunting - Ancient Highway, Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Willow Warbler - Pennington Marsh

I spent the best part of an hour scanning over Fishtail Lagoon, there are a lot of birds here and it is worth spending the time watching the comings and goings. The Wood Sandpiper from Shoveler Pools dropped in, around six Snipe, 125 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Redshank, 25 Dunlin, two Little Ringed Plover were the best on show.

Roe Deer - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit dropping into Fishtail Lagoon - Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit dropping into Fishtail Lagoon - Pennington Marsh

I then went out to the point of Butts Lagoon and spent another hour or so here. The conditions were fantastic, absolutely still and brilliant sunshine. Little Egret chased fish fry in the shallows and on the mudflats were c.200 Dunlin, 45 Turnstone, 15 Grey Plover, one Sanderling, six Whimbrel, eight Curlew, 30 Ringed Plover, 25 Sandwich Tern and 30 Common Tern. After such a still morning it was amazing how the wind suddenly picked up from the west. I decided it was time to make a slow move towards home - another quick scan of Fishtail Lagoon failed to produce the hoped for mega, maybe next time.

Little Egret chasing fish fry off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Little Egret chasing fish fry off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Little Egret chasing fish fry off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Little Egret chasing fish fry off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Dunlin and Ringed Plover off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Sandwich Tern, Common Tern, Black-headed Gull, Turnstone and Dunlin off Butts Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

13th August and another free morning so back to  Pennington Marsh. Today I completed the full loop, out past Shoveler Pools, back along the north edge of the Old Dump to Fishtail Lagoon then out to the point at Butts Lagoon, then out past Keyhaven Lagoon and around the Quay and back along the Ancient Highway. It was pretty slim going. The highlights of the morning were the first Ruff (2) of the autumn on Fishtail Lagoon, Wood Sandpiper on Fishtail, Tree Pipit (1), Yellow Wagtail (1)and  my first Wheatear of the autumn at Keyhaven Lagoon 

Reed Warbler - Efford Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Reed Warbler - Efford Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Reed Warbler - Efford Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Reed Warbler - Efford Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

A distant Ruff, the first of the Autumn- Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Sandwich Tern - Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Sandwich Tern - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Wheatear - Keyhaven Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Friday, 5 August 2016

Pennington Marsh - 29th July and 5th August

I have been suffering from local patch neglect of late and have been tied to my computer either at work or processing a silly number of images from my recent Alaska trip, so on 29th July I paid a short visit to Pennington Marsh walking out past Fishtail Lagoon to the point at Butts Lagoon and then to Keyhaven Lagoon. I only had my digiscoping kit and that, coupled with the heat haze has resulted in some pretty shitty images but it was simply nice to be out and about.

Water levels are generally pretty high but the marsh at the back of Fishtail is looking cracking. Waders are returning and on Fishtail Lagoon there were 125 Black-tailed Godwit. Also here were 30 Dunlin, six Snipe, three Common Sandpiper and six Little Ringed Plover. On the intertidal was a single Sanderling, 350 Dunlin, 30 Turnstone, four Whimbrel, 12 Grey Plover, 10 Common Tern and six Sandwich Tern.

Black-tailed Godwit - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Black-tailed Godwit - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Black-headed Gull (juvenile), apparently they have had a very good breeding season at Keyhaven this year which is good to hear since many years the nests get flooded out during Spring Tides - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Common Gull, my first of the 'winter' - Fishtail Lagoon, Pennington Marsh

Eider, an eclipse male off Butts Lagoon - Pennington Marsh

On 4th August I paid another brief visit to Pennington Marshes and walked from the end of Lower Pennington Lane out past Fishtail Lagoon to the seawall, around Butts Lagoon and back past Shoveler Pools. The tide was on the rise and there were fewer birds on the pools with most birds being on the remaining intertidal. Dunlin numbers were put to around 600 while there were at least 50 Turnstone, 20 Grey Plover, three Bar-tailed Godwit, 30 Sandwich Tern and 20 Common Tern. My first Wigeon and Pintail of the 'winter' were on Fishtail Lagoon. On Shoveler Pools there were three Little Ringed Plover, a Green Sandpiper and a Wood Sandpiper. Again, I only had my digiscoping kit so my images are a bit shite.

Wood Sandpiper - Shoveler Pools, Pennington Marsh

Green Sandpiper - Shoveler Pools, Pennington Marsh

Little Ringed Plover - Shoveler Pools, Pennington Marsh

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly at Latchmore Bottom - 14th July

The Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly is a species I have looked for on a number of occasions in the last few years, unsuccessfully, in the New Forest although in the past have seen at a number of sites elsewhere in the UK. But today I nailed it. I had a fairly specific site that I had gleaned from the internet at Latchmore Bottom to the south-east of Fordingbridge. After searching various areas that I thought might be suitable as I walked eastwards from the car park at Ogdens farm I realised that this was a bit nonsensical and decided to head straight for my 'known' spot and go from there. On arrival the weather conditions were somewhat windy and overcast and my optimism began to wain but quickly I saw Blue-tailed Damselfly and then Small Red Damselfly and I realised that all was not lost. And then, I came across a rather dull female Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and then a rather stunning immature female of the 'form' aurantiaca, this is actually a development phase of the species. I then came across a mating pair and finally an adult male. I spent the next hour or so getting great views of the species seeing around 10 males, six females and three of the form aurantiaca.

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (adult male) - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (adult male) - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (female) - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (immature female of the 'form' aurantiaca
- Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly (immature female of the 'form' aurantiaca
- Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Habitat at Latchmore Bottom supporting Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly. The species was moving around in the wettest area of the bog low amongst the Bog St. John's-wort, Cotton-grass, Purple Moor-grass and Jointed Rush

Bog Asphodel - Latchmore Bottom, Fordingbridge

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Ober Water & Silver Water, New Forest - 7th July

I had a spare morning and so decided to head into the New Forest to try and see Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, a species I had tried for in the forest last year but failed to see. I tried Ober Water, a well known site for the species, parking at the Puttles Bridge car park south of the Rhinefield Hotel at SU271029. I then walked west along the Ober Water for around 2km, it was pretty tough going through heathland and bog and I was unsuccessful in my quest but did see a range of species including Beautiful Demoiselle, Gold-ringed Dragonfly, Keeled Skimmer, White-legged Damselfly, Small Red Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, Black Darter and many Silver-studded Blue.

Female Keeled Skimmer - Ober Water, New Forest

Silver-studded Blue - Ober Water, New Forest

Silver-studded Blue - Ober Water, New Forest

Teneral Black Darter - Ober Water, New Forest

Small Red Damselfly - Ober Water, New Forest

Large Red Damselfly - Ober Water, New Forest

Female White-legged Damselfly - Ober Water, New Forest

Male White-legged Damselfly - Ober Water, New Forest

I then went onto Silver Water which flows south-west from the Puttles Bridge car park, this is also meant to be a good area for Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly and, in hindsight, the habitat close to Rhinefield Road appears suitable but I had no luck. I added Southern Damselfly and Azure Damselfly to the list of species for the morning.

Southern Damselfly - Silver Water, New Forest

Azure Damselfly - Silver Water, New Forest