We made the most of a trip to Portsmouth for some safety wellies and did some cross-border birding at Farlington and Southsea Castle, our first stop of the day. Upon arrival the tide was already fairly high, and we were fully expecting to have missed the Purple Sandpipers, but on arrival at the tip of Southsea Castle, we spotted four very obliging birds feeding around the surf, running up and down the embankment to avoid it; to our amusement. Just as we were walking back a Rock Pipit put in a very brief showing before flying off into the old moat area, its call echoing around.
|Purple Sandpiper (Calidris maritima)|
After the quick stop to get wellies, it was on to Farlington, where we immediately caught on to the GREEN-WINGED TEAL present on the inner lake. Unfortunately views were not great as it was sound asleep, but the vertical white line from its shoulder was unmissable. Also present on the lake were two Avocet, a single Greenshank, lots of Eurasian Teal, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, three Dunlin and two Shoveler.
|Greenshank (Tringa nebularia) and Redshank (Tringa totanus)|
|Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)|
On the way round, Skylark and Lapwing were calling constantly, and once out onto the southern edge of the marshes, a look out to sea found us two Curlew, plenty of Oystercatchers, a Little Grebe and at least fifteen Red-Breasted Mergansers gathered around the first little island. The second Island was covered in Knot and Dunlin, with a few Grey Plover and Godwit scattered amongst them and a pair of Gadwell floating just offshore. Further round we also found five Goldeneye (one of my favourite ducks) including a splendid drake, amongst more Mergansers and four Great-Crested Grebes.
|Drake and female Pintail (Anas acuta)|
Back on the marshes were the usual suspects, including Pintail, Shoveler, Widgeon, Teal, Little Egret, Gadwell, what must have been at least 800 Brent Geese and 150 plus Shelduck, by far the most I've ever seen in one place. On the way back, just next to the barn we were treated to my first Stonechat of the year, a male and female, as well as some Long-Tailed Tits and a Song Thrush. Unusually, we didn't see a single raptor throughout the day.
|Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)|
At the end of the day, we tried for the Iceland Gull at Budds SF, but with no luck. We did add Tufted Duck to the list, which brought it over 40, a very good half day total, including two lifers for me.