Monday, 23 January 2023

Back on the Lower Hamble River

Wigeon Anas penelope

 Monday 23 January

Following yesterday's enjoyable mid-morning walk up the Hamble River in Warsash I decided to make a rerun visit first thing this morning but on this occasion taking my camera in the hope that the wintering Rock Pipit would be just as obliging. (It was not!)  The ground was still white from the overnight heavy frost and certainly cold despite the clear blue skies, brilliant sunshine and not a breath of wind.  Once again, thank goodness for many layers even if my hands were quickly getting colder and colder despite wearing gloves!

With the tide half-way in and on site by just after 9 the low sun was casting a dull orange glow over the water and waders.  But, no sooner in sight, than first a Mute Swan alongside a lone Herring Gull as a Cormorant flew upriver and a Carrion Crow was seen behind me on the meadow side.  Also seen in the meadow amongst the tall, yellow reeds a couple of female Roe Deer. Ere long I was amongst the usual waders including Curlew, Redshank, and Turnstone plus the fist score or more of the over 100 Dunlin in the  area. 

Curlew Numenius arquata

It not take a lot of searching before I also recorded both Grey Plover and a Greenshank feeing alongside a Little Egret in a channel on the land side of the path.  Just a few Black-headed Gulls as most seemed to be already congregating up in the conservation area.  However, it was whilst observing these first Dunlin that I realised there were three "bigger" Dunlin resting a couple of feet off shore and realised I was looking at a trio of Knot; a most pleasing sight.

Sleeping Knot Calidris canutus

Continuing n my slow walk upstream I found the first of the Teal along with a small number of Ringed Plovers.  These birds seemed to be well spaced out along the mudflats and often with a Grey Plover or two.  Just the one Oystercatcher seen this morning and eventually reaching the large overspill area on the inland side of the path I found not only many more Ringed Plovers, Redshanks and Dunlins but also a dozen Shelduck.  Again, this particular site also provided the first Brent Geese and it seemed that most this morning were feeding on the opposite bank of the main river.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola with Dunlin Calidris alpina

Seventeen Canada Geese were noted on the bottom of one of the large gardens at the back of Bunny Meadow along with more than fifty foraging Woodpigeons. On the main river opposite the first of three Little Grebe and then my first Rock Pipit which landed in thick weeds below me but completely disappeared from sight.  I was to see two more Rock Pipits but on this occasion they were very flighty and wanted to move away a hundred metres or more rather than a quick hop to the next bush or rock.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Lots of resting Wigeon and Black-headed Gulls at the conservation area plus a few Redshank and Teal and this morning I continued on up the river past the hump-backed bridge for an other 500 metres or so.  Nothing new apart from a quartet of Jackdaws in the trees and then back to the conservation area which revealed a single Lapwing along with a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

So back to the village with the tide now well up and pushing the great majority of waders up to their preferred resting spots on the meadow.  A Magpie was recorded on a fence at the back and, once again, the last bird observed was a singing Blue Tit at the top of the highest tree adjacent to the car park. A most enjoyable couple of hours covering almost 5km which finally recorded 30 species.

The singing Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Knot, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit, Blue Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Redshank Tringa totanus

Feeding Dunlin Calidrus alpina

Grey Plover P.squatarola with Teal Anas crecca and Dunlin C.alpina

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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