When it had got light we scored with a Tawny Owl and a Fallow Deer in rural Sussex en-route before we reached the small carpark at Church Norton and just managed to squeeze the car into a space.
Then began a rather long vigil! It was just after 06.00 and the bird had been see flying out to sea at 04.30! Eventually I picked the Elegant Tern flying over the tern island at 08.50 and called it to the assembled crowd. Unfortunately it quickly dropped down onto the island and out of view. Most people hadn't see it, including Andy! Luckily the frustration was short-lived as it showed 3 more times during the morning before we quite the scene at 12.30. While scanning I also picked up a 1s Little Gull, 2 Peregrines sat together on the saltings and there were c150 Mediterranean Gulls amongst the Black-headed Gulls, Sandwich Terns and Common Terns. 2 Little Egrets having a serious scrap was also rather entertaining! A wander along the shingle spit at the harbour mouth failed to yield Childing Pink but I did identify Scarlet Pimpernel and Common Centaury.
Elegant Tern twitch
Our other destination for the day was the lovely Hampshire Wildlife Trust reserve of Noar Hill which I'd not visited for many years. The main attraction for us here was Musk Orchid and we easily found 500+ scattered widely over the reserve. The sheer number of orchids here is amazing - thousands of Common Twayblades, Common Fragrant Orchids (including 3 white 'albiflora' specimens), Pyramidal Orchids and Common Spotted Orchids. I also found a large Knapweed Broomrape. Butterflies were also superb although not numerous. I eventually tracked down 2 Small Blues which was my 'most wanted' but a rather early Marbled White was also lovely. Other than that is was mostly Small Heaths and Common Blues. Birdwise Nuthatch, Green Woodpecker and Garden Warbler was about it.
Common Fragrant Orchid
Common Fragrant Orchid, var albiflora