Monday 13 July 2020

Hook with Warsash, Hampshire

Monday 13 July

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Presently staying with my brother-in-law, Chris at his lovely home in Warsash which overlooks the mouth of the River Hamble where it flows into Southampton Water.  Numerous yachts in the Hamble and, apart from watching ships moving up and down to Southampton, on the opposite side of the Southampton Water we can see Calshot and to our left, south, the Isle of Wight.  If this was not scenic enough, Warsash is smack bang in the middle of the Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve. To our right we can walk the shore of the Hamble and o our left we can walk the shore of Southampton Water, all the way to the interesting site of Hook Pool where, last Friday we recorded a female Garganey.

This afternoon we left it rather late to walk along the Hamble River with the tide almost in and those birds present being forced up the beach to take their twice-daily roost.  It seemed at first, not arriving till just before 5pm, that all we would see would be Black-headed Gulls; scores and scores of them.  As we walked up river I continued to count and eventually reached a tally of 210 individuals. However, within the groups we also found a trio of Mediterraean and a couple of Herring Gulls.  Also close by a pair of juvenile Common Gulls.

Part of Black-headed Gull roost with one Mediterranean Gull (back, centre right)
The Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus

But we were not to be disappointed for as we continued on our way we gradually discovered other species, many hiding in the grasses a the back of the meadow.  First a couple of Little Egrets and then the first of our five Herons.  An Oystercatcher was resting  low down in the vegetation and then our first Pied Wagtail took off from the shore and in doing so disturbed the, till then, hidden Meadow Pipit.
Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Reaching the breeding lagoon here still more Black-headed Gulls were roosting we then found another four Herons and a couple more Little Egret.  At the very back another two Oystercatchers and a half-dozen Redshank.  Not just Redshank but also a couple of Greenshank and then the discovery of a pair of Whimbrel.
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Always the occasional Wood Pigeon moving around and then the discovery, as we started to make our way back, the arrival of forty Black-tailed Godwits and a single male Blackbird feeding in the grass behind them.  Then, walking back along the riverside path, another couple of Pied Wagtails to finish the day and with the tide now just about at its height.  Not a bad result for 80 minutes in the very late afternoon.
Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa
Birds seen:
Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Little Egret Egretta garzeta
Herring Gull Larus argentatus

Check out the accompanying website at for the latest sightings, photographs and additional information

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