Farlington Marshes – 15/10/2023

With the tide beginning to flow, quite a while was spent watching the birds out on the mudflats move closer. Initially two Greenshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Oystercatcher and Curlew were seen. A stonechat was then spotted in some tall vegetation at the edge of the saltings.

As the water rose, a flock of Dunlins flew in to feed enthusiastically and one or two Ringed Plovers crept over the mud. Two late Swallows flew out over the sea and a single Grey Plover appeared amongst the feeding birds. Five Greenshanks were later noted on the mud closer to the A27, the two seen earlier having flown across to feed with others. Additional species seen included Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Shelduck, Wigeon and Starlings.

On the main lagoon, a lot of birds were congregated in the left corner. The majority were Redshanks and Black-tailed Godwits but three Avocets were concealed amongst the flock. A few Shoveler and Pintail were noted on the water and a couple of Snipe in the cut reed. Gadwall, Coot, Teal and Reed Bunting were also seen.

A Cetti’s Warbler chased a wren through reeds below the sea wall and a Mediterranean Gull was sitting on the water. With a Black-headed Gull nearby, the nice clean wing markings and thicker bill could be appreciated.

With no signs of any owls in the Point Field, we proceeded along the East side. Three Great-crested Grebes were on the sea and a few Stonechats appeared in the scrub. A Green Sandpiper was a fortunate find amongst the mud churned up by cattle. It would never have been seen had it not been for the antics of a particularly amorous bull in the field.

A female Marsh Harrier suddenly appeared in flight over the fields. Super views were enjoyed as it circled overhead two or three times revealing a cream crown and shoulder patches. Surprisingly a Peregrine then flew in over the sea wall. We were close enough to see its moustachial stripe and muscular build, but it didn’t stay long, going back out over the sea.

The morning session ended with a Kestrel perched on the top of a bush just before reaching the stream. Two Cattle Egrets were then seen in a field close to the Information Hut.    

Some of the party took advantage of the fine weather and returned to the lagoon for a short while after lunch. A Little Grebe was on the water close to the far reeds and five Snipe were now on view.  Grey Heron, Cormorant, Herring Gull and Common Buzzard were all added to the day list,

A Ruff and a Curlew Sandpiper then both showed for two members who delayed their return journey.