Saturday 1st November was the date chosen for another WeBS count. This time, instead of the usual high tide count, it was a low tide count to see how birds use the mudflats around Portsmouth Harbour. After a rather quiet ringing session at Titchfield Haven, where we had only 10 birds, I joined Jeremy Smallwood to count the birds at Fareham Creek (the top of the harbour).
There wasn’t much of note, but it was interesting to see what was about as I’d never really explored Fareham Creek despite living so close. Last time I’d briefly visited was to see an eider duck that stayed all winter with the mallards.
While walking around, we saw just over 1,000 black-headed gulls (or more!) and with them were a few common, c40 herring and one great black-backed gull.
In terms of waders, we spotted 3 greenshanks, 10 or so redshanks, 7+ oystercatchers, 5+ curlew and 5+ black-tailed godwits. One of the oystercatchers and one of the black-tailed godwits were colour ringed so it will be interesting to see where they came from. The oystercatcher‘s combination was BTO//R+ R//YR and the black-tailed godwit‘s combination was OR+WR//BTO.
There were also around 150 dark-bellied brent geese, 15+ wigeon, 5 teal, mallards and 20+ mute swans. Towards the end of the count we were surprised to see a kingfisher perched by the sluice. What a nice bird to finish on.
Not bad for a small section of intertidal mudflats on the edge of a town.