Saturday 25 March
Out of the house by 10.30 to walk along the shore past Warsash harbour and on down to Southampton Water vis the Spit, followed by a visit to both the Scrape and meandering Pool on the Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve. The sun may have been shining through the broken cloud but the strong wind dropped the temperature to single figures. With the tide well on its way in, it became very evident reaching the Spit that the wintering Wigeon flock had departed save for three stragglers found at the back of the Scrape. Even the Brent Geese numbers were down to a couple of score rather than in excess of a hundred individuals.
|Redshank Tringa totanus|
However, still lots of Redshank to be seen long with a dozen Oystercatchers, a Black-tailed Godwit and a couple of Curlew. Just three Turnstones and neither Grey Plover nor Dunlin this morning. Reaching the Spit I did find ten Ringed Plover but was twenty minutes too late for the sighted Wheatear. Also present a number of Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Gadwall. I had already recorded a few Herring Gull, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon as I made my way along the shore of Southampton Water.
|Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula|
Reaching the Scrape the pair of Mute Swans were at the very back and five Tufted Duck were the most numerous ducks on the water albeit, apart from the Wigeon trio resting at the far end, there were also a handful of Teal and ten Shelduck on the grass. Off to the right a single Canada Goose and to the left a sleeping flock of a dozen Curlew. Immediately in front of me on the stream a pair of Mallard. As I was departing a trio of Linnets flew past and a Sky Lark was singing as it ascended the heavens. In the meadow to the side both Magpie and Blackbird were noted.
|Sleeping Curlew Numenius arquata|
Onwards towards the Meandering Pool and no sooner had a I take the narrow path alongside the now burnt gorse that I, at last, found that familiar brown figure on the grass and the female Wheatear remained for at least a minute enabling me to get a record shot before moving below the bank at the back.
|Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe|
Once at the Meandering Pool all very quiet with just a pair of Shelduck and a single Teal plus another Magpie at the back of the water. A stop as at the Scrape as I made my way back produced both a single Coot and a male Kestrel. Similarly, moving through the little spinney as I left the shore I stopped to watch a foraging Goldcrest and a close Cetti's Warbler left me in no doubt that it wanted to be recorded as it blasted away with its distinctive song. On reaching the Spit the tide was now just about fully in but the Ringed Plovers were still visible and at the far end there were now three Cormorant along with a couple of Herring Gulls. Despite the strong wind, a most enjoyable walk and many thanks to both the Wheatear and Goldcrest for giving such clear sightings.
|Herring Gulls Larus argentatus and Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo|
Bret Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Sky Lark, Wheatear, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Linnet.
|Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula|
|Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula|
|Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus|
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.