A good forecast, sandwiches made, bag packed and the alarm set for 05.20. I wake before the alarm at ten past five and am seriously tempted to turn it off and stay in bed. I force myself to get up and I am on the road at a quarter to six. Just before Tidworth I see a Barn Owl, hopefully a good omen. I arrive at Milford-on-Sea at just before half seven and head for Sturt Pond. A quick scan of the few birds here gave a couple of Black-tailed Godwits, some Redshank and Lapwing, a few gulls and a Spoonbill. A great start. Then it along to the Cut Bridge to admire the sunrise before going to park at the usual place for the walk along the shore. It was high tide so the only waders around were a few Turnstone roosting on the boats. A couple of Snipe flew over, the first of many. All of the expected birds were on the salt-marsh including quite a few Brent Geese. I scanned through them for the Red-breasted Goose that was seen yesterday with no luck. Plenty of Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails around, also a Willow Warbler and a few Reed Buntings. Reaching the lagoons I quickly added A few waders to the list including several Greenshank, a Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper. Plenty of Redshank but I couldn’t see any of the reported Spotted variety. Four House Martins appeared followed by a few Swallows. On the Butts Lagoon a Water Rail was seen flying and the Long-billed Dowitcher was eventually found It did give good views although it spent most of the time I was there asleep. It was good to see it next to some Snipe. A large flock of Greenfinches flew in, well over a hundred birds and four Eider, several Great-crested Grebe and a Seal were seen out to Sea. A mass of birds flew up from the marshes and a Peregrine was soon found. Arriving back at Fishtail Lagoon I was having a casual scan when a Glossy Ibis flew in. It stayed for a couple of minutes before heading off to
the Butts. Apparently it soon moved on from here and it or another was later seen at Portsmouth and on the I.O.W. Certainly the bird of the day and number 199 on my year-list. Three Stonechat and a single Wheatear were around but I didn’t manage a Dartford Warbler. Back at the car I grabbed a bite to eat before heading back to the Cut Bridge to look for the flock of Brent Geese. GBB Gull and Barwit were added to the list here and there were large numbers of Pipits, including a few Rock. The Brent Geese were here and the Red-breasted Goose was with them. A good bird to bring up 200 for the year.
Next it was a bag of chips before heading off to Black Gutter Bottom hoping for Great-grey Shrike. Despite spending well over an hour of searching it wasn’t found. It had been seen earlier but had maybe been disturbed by a couple of Army Lynx helicopters that were flying around. I did get a good view of a Dartford Warbler, a Sparrowhawk and a herd of fifty or so Fallow Deer so it was a worthwhile stop. Also good to explore a new area. A quick diversion over SPTA East was made on the way home but nothing much was seen. Just a couple of Kestrels and a Buzzard. So another great day of birding. That makes two in two weeks.