|Distant Spoonbills Platalea leucorodia through the mist|
Saturday 2 December
Very cold at -2C when I set off for the Hampshire Ornithological Trust (HOS) meet at Oxey Marsh and Normandy Lagoon but still and dry albeit much fog which was to last the full four hours of our circuit from the The Salterns siling Club, around Oxey Marsh and on to a circuit of Normandy Lagoon. Needless to say, the camera stayed firmly in my rucksack for most of the walk and those few photographs taken reflected the low lying fog. Indeed, looking out over the Solent towards the Isle of Wight it was difficult to see more then fifty metres never mind the relatively close island! Arriving by ten o'clock I joined up with the other ten members present and we set off on our four mile circuit under the leadership, once again, of that ever cheerful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable member, Ian packer.
|The distant flock of Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta on Normandy Lagoon|
I had already noted both Pied Wagtail and a Redwing as I approached the site followed by a foraging Robin on the opposite side of the road as I changed my footwear but little else, other than a Magpie and a Great Tit until we reached the far end of the pool holding the Salterns Sailing Club. Here, a couple of Mallard and a small number of Wigeon before we took the path on our left and followed the creek to the Solent shore. A Little Egret flew over and in the creek both a Redshank and a pair of Teal. Stopping on the main path towards the shore we recorded a selection of small birds including Greenfinch, Dunlin, Blackbird and Wren before paying closer attention tote very large mixed flock of geese, probably in excess of 100 Brent plus twenty Canada and a couple of Greylags. feeding amongst the Brent Geese at least forty Black-tailed Godwits and a little further away a couple of Curlew. In addition to a pair of Stonechats, this path also produced at least four of the dozen Robins that we to see during the early part of the walk. A Pintail flew over and in the pools to either side more Wigeon and a pair of Mute Swans to our right.
|Pintail Anas acuta|
Once on the coastal path and heading eastwards, a couple of Turnstone then more Redshank, Wigeon, Teal and Mallards along with regular sightings of Little Egret. A pair of Greenshank below us was a great sighting along with a Kingfisher which spent much time dashing up and down the creek below us. And no sooner than the Great Black-backed Gull had flown over we were rewarded with the first sighting of our Spotted Redshank. Even better views later on and the added bonus of having it accompanied by a close Common Redshank so giving excellent views to compare size, bills, plumage, etc. Also present were a few Black-headed Gulls, Cormorant and Oystercatchers.
|Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus|
Crossing the creek and on to Eight Acre Pond we added more Turnstone and then a number of Dunlin plus more Redshanks and Wigeon. On the pond itself we noted ten Little Grebe, Coot, a Heron, Carrion Crow and a calling Cetti's Warbler. Even a lone Woodpigeon put in an appearance.
|Common Redshank Tringa totanus|
And so to Normandy Lagoon where we found the water well stocked with a great variety of birdlife. Lots of Wigeons and Pintails along with Mallard, a large flock of Shoveler, Little Egrets and Redshanks. But then the specials. First a trio of Red-breasted Mergansers along with half dozen Shelduck and a score or more distant Avocets. Having found the pair of Spoonbill a couple of the group managed to find the reported female Goosander and at the far end not only a return of our Spotted Redshank but more Kingfishers and a couple of Snipe. We also saw a couple of Herring Gulls and a few Cormorant and as we made our start to return to the cars the female Goldeneye was once more seen at closer quarters along with an overflying Lapwing to take of day's total species up to 49. Now id I hear right that one of the group also noted a Long-tailed Tit near the start of the walk to make a round fifty?
|Views of our Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator|
An excellent morning's birding in great company with excellent recordings and just a shame that the fog did not lift to give clearer views.
|Mute Swan Cygnus olor with Wigeon Anas penelope|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal. Pintail, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Back-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Redwing, Cetti's Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Greenfinch.
|Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus|
|Shelduck Tarorna tadorna|