Sunday 22 January
What a beautiful winter's morning with clear blue skies, a shining sun and heavy frost on the ground as, with week-end guests Barrie and Jan Avis, we walked up the Hamble River to the conservation area and back. With high tide during the walk most birds had already moved to the shelter of the now flooded Bunny Meadow to our right but still much to be seen. Only the occasional Redshank on the shoreline but a score or more Wigeon and the occasional Black-headed Gull along with a trio of Brent Geese.
As we continued up the river to accompaniment of the whistling Wigeon, we soon added a Great Crested Grebe before the remaining tops of the grassy islands revealed a variety of waders including, mainly, Dunlin and both Grey and Ringed Plover. Just the three Curlew noted but also a single lack-tailed Godwit. On the shore a quartet of foraging Turnstone. The next, smaller, grassy remains held thirty resting Ringed Plovers. Perhaps the odd ones out were trio of Feral Pigeons.
Meanwhile on the inland side of the path, first more Redshank then a lone Greenshank before finding a dozen Shelduck. On the field at the back a dozen Canada Geese and scores of Woodpigeons. By now most of the small waders had joined the additional Brent Geese on the shallow water along with the Curlew. Overhead a regular passage of occasional Carrion Crows and then we found four resting Herons but not a single Little Egret. Amongst the two dozen Black-headed was a handful of Herring Gulls. Also here was the main flock of Teal totalling just over two dozen.
Perhaps the bird of the morning was the Rock Pipit that we found half-way up the path to the conservation area and the bird even rested atop the low vegetation not two metres away. Perfectly positioned with the sun behind us for close up photography - but none of us had brought a camera to complete the operation. On the return walk we were once again to find the pipit which seemed to accompany us most of the way back. I winder if it will still be about if I return to the riverside in the morning?
|Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow.
For the latest news follow the Axarquia Birds and Wildlife Facebook page for more photos and comments and the opportunity to share with the wider birding world.