Winter wander around the marsh

Another month and time for another WeBS count. Thankfully it wasn’t raining, but it was extremely cold! Despite this I was thoroughly looking forward to seeing what was about at Farlington Marshes. We started working our way around the reserve anticlockwise, while the others headed in the opposite direction to make sure the whole marsh was covered.

It seems quieter than normal, with less birds for some reason. There was, however, still the usual mix of black-tailed godwits, redshank and dunlin on the Lake and quite a few brent geese, as well as other wildfowl, but less than previous years and months (or so it seemed!).

As well as the common species, there were a few more unusual ones such as a water pipit and golden plover on the Lake and 2 greylag geese in the main marsh. A water rail was also showing rather well.

golden plover against the "typical" grey winter waders.

golden plover against the “typical” grey winter waders.

As we walked along the sea wall we checked to see what was about in the harbour itself. Among the birds seen was a group of 25 avocet. As well as the avocets there were numerous red-breasted mergansers, great crested and little grebes.

Avocets drifting around the harbour

Avocets drifting around the harbour

Counting waders can be challenging at times, especially for less experienced birders like myself… but I’m getting to grips with it and it definitely helps to be around better birders!

Spot the difference! Knot, dunlin and grey plover roosting on Oyster island.

Spot the difference! Knot, dunlin and grey plover roosting on Oyster island.

The final part of the WeBS count involves counting the birds as they leave the main islands in the harbour as the hide drops. While waiting for the flight counts to begin, we had lovely views of 4 Slavonian grebes as we eat our lunch.

2 of 4 Slavonian grebes in Langstone Harbour. They showed well at times and were often close to great crested grebes which was good for comparisons.

2 of 4 Slavonian grebes in Langstone Harbour. They showed well at times and were often close to great crested grebes which was good for comparisons.

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