. . from 2015 to current
* You can now find all my current wildlife blog
reports on the Brook Meadow wildlife blog * * *
Go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/wildlife-news-blog/
am also still updating pages on these two special
birds . . .
. . . Great
Black-backed Gulls on Slipper Millpond
. . . Spotted
Redshank at Nore Barn
MAY 24 2021
Black-backed GullsLooking from Slipper Road I could
see 3 Great Black-backed Gull chicks on the centre
raft of Slipper Millpond being tended to by one of the
parents, presumably the mother. The father was on the
pond nearby and later joined his mate on the
One can't help but
admire these birds which have successfully bred on the
pond for the 10th year running despite the very
determined efforts of the Slipper Millpond Association
to deter them.
Here's a nice little video I captured of mother and
MAY 23 2021
Black-backed Gull chicks
I went to Slipper Millpond to check on the Great
Black-backed Gull chicks that Pam Phillips reported
yesterday. The weather was chilly with a strong
blustery wind, whipping up waves on the normally calm
millpond. However, I could just make out two chicks
next to their mother under the wire netting on the
main centre raft. So, they have actually succeeded in
breeding successfully on the pond for the 10th year
running despite the determined efforts of the pond
association to deter them. What determined and
resolute birds they are. Well done! Now the big
problem for the adults will be getting sufficient food
to the chicks through the wire netting.
Here is a shot of the raft showing the two little
bundles of fluffy chicks beside their
MAY 22 - 2021
tells me that the Great Black-backed Gulls which have
been nesting on Slipper Millpond have hatched chicks
despite the efforts by the Pond Association to deter
them. Pam couldn't see how many chicks there were but
there was grey fluff on the nest.
APRIL 17 - 2021
Milinets-Raby got a shot of the two Great Black-backed
Gulls on the centre raft with one bird seemingly
sitting on a nest beneath the wire netting. It will be
interesting to see what progress they make in such
Peter also noted a
young Great Black-backed Gull on the pond (maybe one
of last year's brood visiting home)
MARCH 30 - 2021
Black-backed Gulls are back!
The pair of
Great Black-backed Gulls were both on the centre raft
at about 11am this morning. Clearly they had crept
under the wires which have been strung across the
raft. These very determined birds appear to be
settling in for a 10th year of nesting on the pond. I
shall be interested to see if they manage to build a
nest despite the wires. There also appears to be a
pair of Coot bravely attempting to nest on the same
raft. They will need a lot of luck!
Here's a short video
clip on YouTube of the birds . . . https://youtu.be/2BB2gAk8kx4
MARCH 29 - 2021
I did not get
on with my early chest clearance again, so decided to
venture down to Nore Barn in the car to check for the
Spotted Redshank on a rising tide. 2½ hours to
high water. Time: 10.10am. A very pleasant spring day.
The colour-ringed Greenshank was on the edge of
the stream when I arrived. No other birds in the
To allow the tide to
rise a bit more, I had a walk around the woods. Very
pleasant. Nut no sounds of any migrants, Chiffchaff or
I found a cluster of what I think were Common
Dog-violets - (with slightly notched spurs) beside
the path, though they could be Early (Wood)
More interesting was a
Bee-fly sunning itself on a nettle leaf.
When I got back to the
stream at about 10.40 I saw a Redshank scuttling along
the stream. At first I thought it might be the Spotted
Redshank, but on closer examination turned out to be a
Common Redshank. Our Spotted Redshank may well
have left on its journey north to its breeding grounds
in Northern Scandinavia.
MARCH 24 - 2021
There was still no sign of the Great Black-backed
Gulls on Slipper Millpond which probably means the
wire netting covers that the Association erected over
the nesting rafts has had it intended effect. Sadly I
feel that is the end of the long nesting history of
these magnificent birds on Slipper Millpond - nine
years producing a total of 16 fledged youngsters.
That's pretty good.
it is goodbye Great Black-backed Gulls - it's been
good knowing you!
Please see their
special web page for the history of the nesting and
lots of photos and videos.
Go to . . . Great
Black-backed Gulls on Slipper Millpond
MARCH 22 - 2021
As I have not been able to get over to Nore Barn as
often as I would like during lockdown I have asked
Susan Kelly to keep a look out for the Spotted
Redshank on her daily walk. It should be leaving us
shortly for its migration back to its breeding grounds
in Northern Scandinavia and I always try to get a
final sighting date.Susan last saw the bird on 15
March and since then she's only been on the shore at
very low tide, so would not expect to see it. She has
been marking sightings on the calendar and has asked a
couple of other people to keep a lookout. Thank you,
has made several recent visits to Nore Barn and on
Saturday (Mar 20) managed to get the video footage he
needed of the Spotted Redshank to finish his movie -
"Birding the Warblington and Nore Barn
Here is a link to Peter's excellent movie, about a
typical wander around the area in March.
MARCH 19 - 2021
The pair of
Great Black-backed Gulls that has nested on Slipper
Millpond for the past 9 years was back on the main
centre raft despite the presence of wire netting
designed to prevent their nesting! They had clearly
found a way through the netting, so it will be
interesting to see if they manage to make a nest. When
it comes to nesting birds are determined
Video clip . . .
MARCH 8 - 2021
at Slipper Millpond I was dismayed to see that the
north raft had been netted in addition the other two.
So all three rafts on the millpond are now fully
covered over with wire netting - meaning there's no
where for the Great Black-backed Gulls to nest or the
Canada Geese, if it comes to that, as they also nest
on the centre raft. Maybe the Coots will find a way
through. It will be interesting to see the outcome of
this radical step taken by the Slipper Millpond
Preservation Society to stop the large gulls nesting
on the pond.
FEBRUARY 25 - 2021
It was good to
see the famous Spotted Redshank feeding among the
seaweed at Nore Barn this morning at 12.30pm - about
2½ hours after high water. It was feeding alone,
no sign of the colour-ringed Greenshank anywhere.
These two birds usually, but not always, feed
together. I could not resist getting a few photos and
a video clip of the Spotted Redshank to add to several
hundred I have in my files.
Video clip . . . .
The bird should be
with us for another couple of weeks or so before it
starts back on its long journey to its breeding
grounds in Northern Scandinavia. Our last sighting is
usually towards the end of March, though last year it
was still present on April 4th which is exceptional.
Dave Long, Seasonal
Ranger, Bird Aware Solent posted a piece about the
Emsworth Spotted Redshank on Facebook. Here's the link
. . . https://www.facebook.com/434721193397035/posts/1524534101082400/?sfnsn=scwspmo
While I was at Nore
Barn, inevitably the Spotted Redshank was disturbed by
a dog chasing into the water. But, as always, it
returned to its preferred feeding ground when the dog
had gone. I did have a quick word with the owner about
her dog chasing birds which I think she responded to
as later I saw the dog being led away on a lead! When
you can it's worth having a friendly word with dog
owners to help them appreciate the importance of the
FEBRUARY 24 - 2021
The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls was on the as yet
unnetted north raft when I passed by this morning.
However, I fear the Pond Association will soon be
covering this raft as well as the other two to prevent
the large gulls nesting. One can just discern a small
collection of twiggy material to the right of the
standing gull in the photo which might be the start of
a nest. This is the time when nest building has begun
in previous years, so watch this space!
FEBRUARY 22 - 2021
I was not
surprised to find the centre raft on Slipper Millpond
had been netted, like the south raft, to discourage
the nesting of the Great Black-backed Gulls.
The north raft is at
present clear, but will no doubt follow suit.
The Pond Association
has tried netting the rafts before (in 2014) but the
gulls found a way around the wires and managed to
nest. The netting this time looks more substantial so
we shall see what if anything happens. There was no
sign of the gulls this morning, but I am sure they
will be back.
Here's a shot I got of the pair of Great Black-backed
Gulls last Thursday on the centre raft.
Interestingly, on the
same occasion a handsome Great Crested Grebe
was swimming and diving on the pond, once coming very
close for a nice photo.
FEBRUARY 15 - 2021
Spring like weather on Brook Meadow this morning,
such a change from the freezing conditions and strong
winds of recent days. The birds were in good voice: a
Green Woodpecker was yaffling from the east
side, Robin singing everywhere, plus the occasional
Wren, Great Tit and Woodpigeon.
The first Primroses are just coming out on the
north bank. Lesser Celandines struggling to
open on the Butterbur area in front of the seat.
There's no sign of any flowers on the Butterbur spikes
as yet, the frost must have slowed them down. Counting
the Butterbur will be hard this year with lots of dead
grasses and other plants strewn over the area.
Lungwort is remarkably still in flower on the
causeway despite the hard frosts. The first white
blossom is now showing on the Cherry Plum on
Two pairs of
Mute Swans are established on the two ponds, the
regular nesting pair on Peter Pond and a new pair on
Slipper Millpond. There is bound to be some friction
between the two pairs before nesting. Here's the
Slipper Millpond pair.
The pair of Great
Black-backed Gulls appear to have taken up
residence on the centre raft. The south raft where the
large gulls have nested for the past 4 years has been
netted by the Association to prevent gulls nesting
there, but the centre raft where they have nested in
the past is not netted. It will be interesting to see
what happens when/if the pair of Canada Geese which
have nested on the centre raft return.
Harbour and millpond
A large flock
of Mute Swans has been milling around the quay over
the past few days. They are not easy to count, but
today I counted 44 including about 10 juveniles. This
is not a resident flock and I suspect they have come
from Fishbourne or maybe Langstone.
Meanwhile, over on the
town millpond three Cormorants were perched on
the sailing club jetty hanging out their wings to dry.
All of them had definite signs of breeding plumage.
I was surprised to see
no sign of the resident pair of Mute Swans which are
usually so vigilant in defending their territory from
outside invasion. Maybe they have gone elsewhere for
nesting grounds as there's no where on the millpond
for them to nest. It is possible that they are the new
pair that have turned up on Slipper Millpond - a far
more favourable site for nesting except for the close
proximity of the Peter Pond pair.
FEBRUARY 12 - 2021
saw the Spotted Redshank and the colour-ringed
Greenshank today at Nore Barn.
FEBRUARY 2 - 2021
I spent an
enjoyable couple of hours at Nore Barn this morning
10.30.12.30 with the tide rising. The main purpose of
the visit was to check on the Spotted Redshank
which I have not seen for a while. It was not in the
stream when I arrived so I walked to the top of the
channel south of the woods and there it was - the
famous Spotted Redshank! So good to see it again and
looking so healthy. Its behaviour was unmistakable,
feeding actively close to the edge of the shore.
PHOTO - digging
deep into the mud
As always the Spotted
Redshank was quite impervious to people and dogs
passing close by.
VIDEO - Spotted
Redshank feeding at the top of the channel with a dog
Walking back along the
shore I enjoyed the spectacle of masses of birds
feeding close to the shore as the tide pushed in. They
included good numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Brent
Geese, Wigeon and Teal. The Black-tailed Godwits
were feeding close to the shore, before the tide
finally pushed them off to the saltmarshes.
Black-tailed Godwits in flight.
VIDEO - Black-tailed
Godwits feeding . . . https://youtu.be/0G3YBUED-pc
I looked carefully
through the Brent Geese hoping to see the Black
Brant seen here on 29-Jan by Amy Robjohns. The neck
bands of some of the Brents were pretty close, but
none of them had the strong contrast between white
flanks and very dark belly of a true Black Brant.
PHOTO - Brent
When I got back to the
stream the only birds there were the regular
colour-ringed Greenshank (G+GL), a Common
Redshank and a pair of Mute Swans. The Spotted
Redshank presumably had stayed in the upper channel.
Greenshank (G+GL) and Common Redshank.
For earlier entries . . .
2020 (restricted blog during Covid