The male SMEW that I had missed in January, returned to Moor Green Lakes, Berkshire and on the 9th, I managed to see it. It stayed for most of the month off and on and stayed in close company with the GOOSANDERS. The 10th saw the 'Compost Club' at Blashford Lakes, Hants, where we had great views of a BITTERN, whilst a MEALY REDPOLL turned up on the feeders. A BLACK NECKED GREBE and RED CRESTED POCHARD completed a very good day.
It was off to Southsea, Hants, on the 19th. After parking the car I walked to the seafront next to Southsea Castle, where a SHAG was fishing close inshore in front of me. It took no notice of my close proximity and carried on fishing. Shortly afterwards it was joined by another SHAG which joined in with the fishing. A very short distance away in front of the castle, were twelve PURPLE SANDPIPERS, busy feeding in and around the rocks at the waters edge. The birds were very obliging when having their photos taken and weren't the slightest bit perturbed when a dog passed close by, they just carried on feeding. From there it was on to Farlington Marshes, Hants, where the footpath, which runs between the sea and reserve had suffered a lot of damage from the recent storms that the country has had recently. I counted eight SLAVONIAN GREBES scattered about the sea and probably a lot more that I didn't see. On the far side of the harbour were a pair of LONG TAILED DUCKS, a bird that I had not seen for a number of years, so I was very pleased to see them again.
A report of a male SCAUP at Moor Green Lakes on the 22nd, had me making a flying visit to the reserve and as luck would have it, it was still there when I arrived, a very smart looking duck. The weather forecast for the 28th for the Lymington area was mainly rain with sunny intervals, which Gordon and I chose to ignore and how pleased were we that we did. The day turned out mostly sunny and quite warm in the morning with some cloud and strengthening wind in the afternoon, but no rain. Birdwise it seemed as though we couldn't go wrong, our first five birds were BAR HEADED GOOSE (probably an escapee but no visible leg rings), a female MERLIN, very good views of the LONG BILLED DOWITCHER, LITTLE STINT and a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, swimming close to shore near the Jetty, fantastic. Later on we spotted another GREAT NORTHERN DIVER in the channel near to Keyhaven Harbour. A really good birding day which ended a great month.