Sunday 7 November
Hardly arrived in the country for two minutes and having only joined the Hampshire Ornithological Society last week, Jenny and I were invited to attend a field meeting at Keyhaven and Pennington Marshes this morning aimed at new members. And very welcome we were made by other new members, the Society's Chairman and committee members, Following coffee and biscuits and a welcome from the Chairman, Keith Betton, we split into three groups for a guided walk around the local nature reserve. With about a dozen members in each group along with guides, we had the Chairman himself, on a glorious sunny, autumn day we managed to record over fifty species before returning to to Keyhaven car park about three hours later. And what some good birds were recorded. And to think we arrive in the country late Thursday evening and will be off up to Stamford in the morning; what timing!
Arriving at the main car park in Keyhaven we quickly recorded the more common "locals" including House Sparrow, Starling, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Cormorant, Canada Goose and a regular supply of Jays. A Kestrel was seen hovering in the distance and then a Kingfisher flashed past over the water, across the road and into the neighbouring reeded area. A rather good sighting was that of a Rock Pipit resting on a gravel bank bot ten metres away.
Our turn to visit the little hide across the road overlooking the fresh water lake and immediately a supply of Mallard plus, in the neighbouring pool, many Coot, Tufted Duck, Shoveler along with a number of Little Egret and a single Great White Egret plus Heron and a few Little Grebe. Patient use of bins and scope also produced both Lesser Black-backed and Greater Black-backed Gulls as Black-headed Gulls flew over us. Yet more and more skeins of Canada Geese moving across the waters to their favoured feeding area more inland of the actual coastal edges. Also seen flying over a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits. Nearer to us a few Carrion Crows, more Jays and a last look at the water produced a small group of Redshank.
Off we all set then following a small trail inland and passing many pools on both sides where we continued to encounter the thousand plus feeding/resting Canada Geese. Also many Lapwing and a few Curlew before finally observing a Moorhen. A Robin was sitting atop a thorn bush and the next pool produced a good number of Teal, Gadwall and a couple of Pintail. On the opposite side of the track we had a first Buzzard and then a Peregrine Falcon put in a closer appearance before disappearing off into the distance. For others in our group, this part of the walk also produced Meadow Pipit, Dunlin and Wren.
|Pintail Anas acuta|
Reaching the final pool before before walking round it and towards the shore where, at last, we would have the sun behind our backs when looking inland at these pools, we next picked up the a couple of Wigeon and a Great Crested Grebe. A Herring Gull flew over us and I managed to see the passing Raven. It was at this point that we got our first close look at the visiting Brent Geese. However, on the field behind us having left the lane to take the track to the shore, we not only had a score or more Greylag Geese but a small flock of Golden Plover took the opportunity to land and settle not so far away. Both Goldfinch and Linnet were seen flying to a nearby tree before onto the shore path itself.
|Mainly Brent Geese Branta bernicla plus Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus|
Lots of bird life on the pools as we made our way back to Keyhaven. Mainly Brent Geese and Lapwing but no shortage of Teal, Mallard and Little Egrets. We eventually found our first Snipe and in with the resting Little Egrets a single Spoonbill. This area also held a number of Shelduck, a few Black-tailed Godwit and more Curlew.
|Lots of species but can you find the Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia?|
Very little to be seen out at sea and both the wind and sun were directly in our faces. However, we did record a few more Greater Black-backed Gulls along with Lesser Black-backed, Common and a Mediterranean Gull. Having noted the increased number of Pintail and Teal on the pool opposite, the this sheltered part of the sea held scores of Pintail. Much searching by Keith with the scope eventually found a couple of Eider Duck and no sooner had we all strained to take a look at the birds than we found a further three almost in front of us towards the distant Hurst Castle!
Approaching the end of the track we found a lone Pied Wagtail working the roof of a nearby cottage and in a tree to the left of the house a resting Kestrel. I say resting but more likely watching the potential meal in the grass below as suddenly the falcon dropped down and then reappeared in a near tree. But no sign of a meal! A Blackbird near the car park turned out to be the last species of the morning.
|Kestrel Falco tinnunculus - resting or looking at a potential meal?|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Eider, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Kingfisher, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunlin, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet.