Thursday 30 December 2021

Warsash and Surrounding Area

 Wednesday 29 December

Rain promised for most of the day so whilst dry, if windy and overcast, I set off for Fareham to top up with fuel and so able to call in a the fishing lakes at Newlands where first I unsuccessfully sought the elusive Manadrin Duck  fortnight ago.  All very wet and muddy but a large number of Magpies and a few Blackbirds noted.  the occasional Wood Pigeon and a Carrion Crow but with anglers settled down with their equipment around the water virtually nothing other than a single Coot to be seen.

So on to the shopping area and Asda to top up the car's fuel before travelling back to Warsash via Hill Head and the the Meon shore.  All very rough at sea with the sailboarders out in force and dashing about here and there.  Looking inland at the lowest pool adjacent to the Titchfield Haven reserve a few Coot and Mallard on the water and and a number of birds hunkered down on the island including Lapwing, Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls.  On one exposed area of shore beach a couple of Oystercatchers, a trio of Turnstone and a handful of Carrion Crows.  A couple of House Sparrows as I set off and approaching Chilling Wood a single Jay crossed the road.  

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Taking the narrow, single, concrete road towards Brownwich Estate a I came across a few Wood Pigeon  and at the deserted and dreary looking Brownwich Lake a pair of Mute Swans, single Tufted Duck and a few Coot.  On returning towards the main road I noted a good-sized flock of Starlings then stopped to observe the large flock of Canada Geese accompanied by very many Black-headed and a handful of Herring Gulls.  Finally, a few Jackdaw as I passed through Posbrook and back to Warsash.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula

I though that was it for the day but as I sat eating a snack for lunch I became aware that not only had the light rain stopped but that the sun was actually shining through the thin clouds.  Would it last? Nothing ventured, nothing gained so I once more donned shoes and coat and set of to cross the  road and take a short walk up the Hamble river to the conservation area and back, noting both Goldfinch and Wood Pigeon as I left the house.

With the water on its way in but at least another hour or so before high tide, there was still plenty of exposed muddy shore but the riverside path was awash with large puddles to keep the shores clean if wet.  Immediately Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew followed by a Redshank. Just beyond the ferry pier a few Dunlin and a couple of Oystercatchers before finding the first of a few Grey Plovers during the walk.  A good number of Black-headed Gulls were resting in a number of places and as I passed the first main inlet I found the expected large number of Wigeon.  Also on the water a pair of Little Grebes and then the most pleasant of surprises as I double-checked my eyes on seeing a Meadow Pipit, not a Rock Pipit this time, on the path in front of me.  Plenty of time to watch the bird as it happily moved slowly along until a loose dog gave chase!

Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis

The muddy green of Bunny Meadow held a small number of Brent Geese whereas the the water's edge held seventeen Canada Geese.  Lots more Redshank and Curlew along with feeding and passing Carrion Crows.  having watched the passing Little Egret I than picked up the eight foraging Ringed Plovers and two resting Heron in the long grass at the back of the meadow.  So on up to the conservation area where I found more Wigeon and the main flock of Teal along with a few Turnstone on the beach and another pair of Black-tailed Godwits along with a few Herring in amongst the Black-headed Gulls.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Home and still dry and reasonably clear, probably the reason why half the village seemed to have come out to enjoy the unexpected dry weather to walk themselves and their four-legged friends. And quite pleasing to realise that I had actually recorded 33 species during the day.

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch.

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

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Fishlakes Meadow, Romsey, Hampshire

 Tuesday 28 December

The main water at Fishlakes Nature Reserve seen from the roadside observation area

With the rain finally just about stopped, along with Jenny and brother-in-law, Chris we set off for Fishlakes Meadow Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Romsey.  Arriving just over thirty-five minutes later the rain had stopped but it was still wet underfoot, but a solid path as we entered the reserve, and a strong wind blowing.  The initial walk alongside the brook produced Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird and Blue Tits having already observed our first Wood Pigeon upon arrival.  Always the occasional Carrion Crow in the air or settled on a nearby tree but then the lovely sight of three Buzzards soaring above us.  At the same time, as we were about to enter the reserve proper, a pair of Kestrels in front working the wet meadow.

Moving through the kissing gate and onwards to the path leading to the two observation screen a cock Pheasant was very close and gradually moved away through the grass and deep puddles as a Jay flew low across the filed immediately behind him. Then it was through the next gate to the screens and a recently posted notice, dated today, warning of a flooded path at a depth of three inches.  A Heron flew up from next to the fence and landed a little further away.  Ere long we found the pool at which point Jenny realised that her shoes were not appropriate, so she and Chris reversed their tracks to take the long walk circumventing the lakes and picking up a Great Tit on their long journey.  

Me?  I carried on and once through the ten metre swimming pool with equally wet trainers and socks eventually arrived at the first screen having listened to a noisy calling Cetti's Warbler.  Moving on to the second, almost adjacent, viewing screen covering the back of the main pool, I found a couple of Mute Swans and the same number of Canada Geese.  On the far side a resting Heron and more Carrion Crows near to the trees.  A magnificent Marsh Harrier wandered into sight and was mobbed by the Carrion Crows.  Not too bothered the raptor eventually made its way back along the far side of the water. Out of the long grasses to my right a total of nine Snipe eventually dashed low and fast to the reeds in front of those watching and quickly out of sight. Away to my right and over the main water a broken flock of more than 120 Greylag Geese dropped out of the sky and, presumably, onto the neighbouring water.

Distant Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus

Time for a repeat swim as I made my way back along the flooded path, stopping to watch the Robin watching me, past the flooded meadow which now held another Heron, and on to the main path back to the car park.  At this point, although having suggested their would be no more rain during daylight hours, the light drizzle returned with a vengeance and it was soon  a question of storing camera and bins and getting back to the car as soon as possible, albeit I did notice the first Magpie of the morning.

Heron Ardea cinerea

Once back at the locked car and no Jenny it was either stand around and get wet or continue on under Fishlake Meadows road and up onto the road itself to seek out the observation gap in the hedge that overlooked the main water as informed when at the second observation scree.  And my word it was certainly worth the visit, especially as the rain had stopped and kept the wet feet moving and my mind pretending that my socks were actually drying inside the wet trainers!  Obviously their were birds to be seen.

Almost in front of me next to some dead trees in the water a number of Black-headed and two Great Black-backed Gulls along with the resident Coots.  Beyond the trees a large number of Pochard and right at the back a smaller number  of Wigeon.  Away to the right at the back the small flock of Mallard and in front of the reeds many of the Greylag Geese.  Using the scope I was also able to find  more then a a handful of resting Cormorants and, as I watched, a Gadwall landed on the water and revealed a further two.

Finally scoping the bases of the trees trying to get a clearer view of the Great Black-backed Gulls I found two small resting ducks that certainly seemed strange, even in the dull light.  Only when I was trying to make sense of two spotty, small, female Mallards that the penny dropped and I realised that I was looking at a pair of female Mandarin Ducks, identical in markings to my Collins.  camera out of bag and try and locate the mandarins as two Pintails then also dropped into the area with their upturned beaks and yellow backsides.  But the lady observer next to me had also found the former for confirmation but in the rush to try and get the wanted photo a double whammy; the Mandarins dived and then moved away for cover and shelter and I ended up photographing the Pintails.  A sort of drat and double drat!  Not really a consolation to find more Magpies away in the distance so back to the car and home to dry and change my socks, etc.  But, on the whole, a pleasant outing and 30 species seen.

Pintails Anas acuta with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Mandarin Duck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pintail,  Pochard, Pheasant, Cormorant, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Buzzard, Kestrel, Coot, Snipe, Black-headed Gull, Great Back-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

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

Monday 27 December 2021

Hamble River, Warsash

 Monday 27 December

The rain finally stopped, the sun was trying to break through the cloud cover to give a dulled lighting and I set off for the neighbouring Hamble River with my brother-in-law, Chris.  My word it was cold as a result of the very strong wind blowing upriver.  (All very well, but the return journey would see us walking directly into this icy blast!)  The tide was already half-way in but straight away the first Curlew and a couple of Brent Geese.  Lovely to pause for a few minutes and watch a Kestrel hovering not five metres above our heads.  Almost immediately we added Oystercatcher and Redshank as we made our way along the flooded path past the ferry pier and, of course, by now we were seeing regular sightings of the local Turnstones.

Curlew Numenius aquata

Continuing on to the first inlet produced the first of many Wigeon and a good-sized flock of Dunlin.  Yet another Curlew but also a couple of Sanderling and a Grey Plover.  What did come as somewhat of a surprise was to find a couple of Little Grebe out in the middle of the inlet, quiet happily diving and fishing to their hearts' content.  A little further on and our friendly Rock Pipit hopped off the path in front of us and settled on the beach.  Teal on the water on the other, inland, side of the track and then the large expanse of exposed mud flat in front of Bunny Meadow where, as expected, we found sixteen Shelduck and a large flock of feeding Ringed Plovers.

Dunlin Calidris alpina

Not until the conservation area did we find our first Heron and Little Egret along with both Wigeon and Teal.  A few resting Redshank but also a couple of sleeping Greenshank.  It was on the far side of the river that we found our two resting Cormorant.  It was also t this point that we found the flock of twenty-one Canada Geese on the river's edge before they took flight and settled at the back of Bunny Meadow.

Redshank Tringa totanus

Other regular sightings along the river included Carrion Crow, Black-headed  and a couple of Herring Gulls.  At the conservation area we also found more than a handful of Jackdaw but just the two Black-tailed Godwit.  Before undertaking the return journey we made a short detour through the wood below Holly Hill, encountering a couple of Magpie, and teen on return to the river walk found yet more Oystercatchers, Wigeon and Teal.  We had already had an overfly by a couple of Feral Pigeons and, almost at the end of our walk, another Wood Pigeon to make three for the morning.

Black-headed Gull Larius ridibundus

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow.

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

Sunday 26 December 2021

Brownwich and Titchfiel Canal

 Sunday 26 December

The rain seemed to be holding off, it was a pleasant 12C and calm, if somewhat overcast, so Jenny and I drove over to Titchfield to take the unpaved private road, Brownwich Lane, down towards the beach, taking the final mile on foot.  Very wet and muddy in places so some careful foot placement required but, nevertheless, we recorded Blue and Great Tit along with many Blackbirds, Wood Pigeons and Carrion Crows during the walk down to the shore. Approaching the shore we had a tightly gathered flock of over 300 Brent Geese in the field to our left and on the right a roosting Buzzard.  Once on the shore we were amazed to see the number of visitors, both with and without accompanying dogs, on the beach itself but they seemed to make no difference to a total of 28 foraging Carrion Crows.  A couple of Black-headed Gulls on the water but then, about 150 metres off shore, we found a group of scoters; nine Common and a single Velvet Scoter.

Buzzard Buteo buteo

Taking a circular return walk to the car we found a number of small see-eaters foraging in the stubbled field to our left including Chaffinch, Greenfinch and a Reed Bunting.  Just before meeting up with our outward track we came across a small fishing lake and apart from the pair of Mute Swans and six Coot were pleasantly surprised to see a couple of drake Tufted Duck.  The tall, bare trees to the back held a half-dozen Redwing as well as a single Stonechat.  Not only was the Buzzard still happily sleeping atop an electricity pole, but a little further away around 80 resting Starlings and immediately next to the raptor a Collared Dove.

One of a handful of Redwing Turdus iliacus

Once back to the car to drove the short distance to the car park in Titchfield giving access to the former narrow canal and then a very short walk of less then 200 meters took me to a viewing point overlooking the top end of Titchfield haven nature reserve where I saw numerous Black-headed Gulls and Canada Geese along with a Little Egret, couple of Teal, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and Wood Pigeons. But to my right I found the dead tree I had been previously informed about and, sure enough, there was the roosting Barn Owl. Difficult to get a decent photograph due to both the light and distance along with the numerous small twigs blocking my line of sight.  But seen it was.

Distant record shot of the roosting Barn Owl Tyto alba

And then it was back home for lunch and entering the northern end of Warsash not only a handful of House Sparrows but a Kestrel flew over the car road in front of us.

Birds seen:

Brent Goose. Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Teal, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Velvet Scoter, Cormorant, Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Barn Owl, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Redwing, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting.

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

Saturday 25 December 2021

Meon Shore, Hill Head

 Saturday 25 December

A quick drive over to the shore at Meon harbour at Hill Head before the expected rain came - which, in the end did not!  Still, the twenty-fives that I was in site, and certainly underdressed in terms of layers as it seemed far colder then 10C, produced a very rewarding twenty-four species for the morning including 11 Eider Duck and a couple of Common Scoter.  Also on the Solent itself a trio of Great Black-backed and a handful of Herring Gulls.  Having flown off, the Eider Ducks pitched up on an exposed shingle island along with a few resting Cormorant. Further along the beach I could see a massed gathering of Black-headed Gulls accompanied by at least a score of Oystercatchers.

Distant Eider Ducks Somateria mollissima on Southampton Water

Walking to the harbour with the tide on its way in lots of Mallard and Black-headed Gulls being encouraged to feed on the bread being thrown by visitors from the harbour wall.  Also twenty-three Turnstone on the small mud and pebble beach in front of me and they, too, seemed to have taken a liking for the human-provided food.  On the other hand, the pair of Mute Swans were quite content to glide on the narrow river channel and the arriving Moorhen was a little too shy to join in the feeding fest.  

A feeding fest of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus and Turnstones Arenaria interpres

Checking out the lagoon at the end of the Meon and inside the adjacent Titchwell Haven reserve, lots of Gadwall along with Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler and Teal.  Many of the Gadwall were resting on the island along with a number of Lapwing.  In the background the movement of an occasional Wood Pigeon along with a single magpie.  Too distant to really check one of the islands on the Meon lagoon of the reserve with reed in the way and the scope left in the car.

Mainly Gadwall Anas strepera but also Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and Black-headed Gulls L.ridibundus on the island

As I set off back to Warsash I could not but noticed a handful of Carrion Crows on a shingle spit below me and passing through nearby Little Posbrook Jackdaw, Starling and a single House Sparrow were noted.

Birds seen:

Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Eider Duck, Common Scoter, Cormorant, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Redshank Tringa totanus

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

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

Friday 24 December 2021

Hamble River

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

 Friday 24 December

Almost Christmas and the weather forecast for Warsash, half-way down Southampton Water towards the Isle of Wight, is not good.  Indeed, rain forecasted for 11o'clock and then pretty much all day with Christmas Day sounding as if it will, if anything, be even worse.  So, come 10.45 Jenny and I were out of the house and across the road to take the short path to the neighbouring Hamble River where the tide, by timing, was half-way in.  Carrion Crows flying about and upon reaching the river with its exposed mud flats a handful of Brent Geese along with the first of many Curlew to be seen, a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits, a few Redshank and an Oystercatcher.

Curlew Numenmius arquata with Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa (front)

As we started our leisurely walk upstream we soon found a Little Egret and the local Black-headed Gulls plus more Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits.  Once one Grey Plover had been recorded we soon added another half-dozen along with a dozen Turnstone and a good supply of the wintering Dunlin.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A few of the many Dunlin Calidris alpina

Ere long we had also found the numerous Wigeon and good-sized numbers of TealBrent Geese numbers continued to increase as they were busy feeding right the way up the river as far as we could see.  We even added a sleeping Greenshank.

Mainly Wigeon Anas penelope with a Brent Goose Branta bernicla and a few Teal Anas crecca

Once we had found the first Rock Pipit we found two more along with both Carrion Crow, Redshank and Oystercatcher on the opposite side of the path away from the beach.  Further out on Bunny Meadow more Curlew and then a flock of 21 Shelduck.  A couple of Feral Pigeons flew away from the shore to the trees on our right but we had to wait until we had completed the return journey before observing the first Wood Pigeons of the morning.

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

Once at our return destination, the conservation area, we noted the four resting Heron and along with both the Wigeon and Teal in the bay beyond the rotting hulk along with a single Lapwing.  However, pride of place probably went to the Roe Deer that was feeding in the misty grass at the back of the meadow.

Distant Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus at the back of Bunny Meadow

The return walk, with the weather now much darker and a misty drizzle almost imminent, produced another Greenshank and a handful of Ringed Plovers before the biggest surprise of all.  Approaching the house having crossed the road from the small path a small bird foraging in the bare tree appeared to be a Blue Tit bit, no, the length of the tail, along with the others that soon joined it, confirmed a Long-tailed Tit.  Bird of the morning?  It was for all of two minutes for when checking the Blue Tit in the next bare tree we discovered that we had actually found a pair of Goldcrest.  And to cap it all, we did also see a Blue Tit in the third tree, along with both Wood Pigeon and Magpie followed by a Dunnock in the garden.

Birds seen:

Bent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing,  Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit,  Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Male Wigeon Anas penelope

Four of the 21 Shelduck Tadoma tadoma on the meadow

A few of the resting Teal Anas crecca

Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Carrion Crow Corvus corone

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

Thursday 23 December 2021

Warsash and the Solent Shore

Thursday 23 December

After yesterday's cold but sunny day I was out of the house by a minutes after nine to walk along the shore from Warsash southwards down Southampton Water to the "Scrape" at the local nature reserve. That was certainly the intention but I was greeted by a calm, cold start to the walk with an overcast sky and a dampness in the air.  Within half an hour a steady light drizzle had set in, the sort that you hardly feel but end up completely soaked.  Thanks goodness I had dressed warm and gone prepared.

A Robin as soon as I reached the shore along with the first Wood Pigeon and with the tide starting to rise there were plenty of Brent Geese on the mudflats plus both Black-headed and Herring Gulls.  Waders included Redshank, Curlew and Oystercatcher as I made my way past the School of Navigation towards the spit.  Once the drizzle had set in there was to be no chance of any photographs so some steady walking southwards with regular stops to check the shore and creeks, producing the occasional Carrion Crow and Blackbird.

Wigeon Anas penelope

Once in the bay sheltered by the spit a good number of Wigeon plus a number of Teal and a trio of Mallard before pressing on along the shore, taking the track next to the field rather than the beach. On a very narrow path through the short grass I cam across a Song Thrush a bare ten metres ahead who then, rather than fly, simply walked or ran along in front of me or almost a hundred metres before taking to the air and disappearing to the bushes on the other side of the adjacent stream.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Once at the scrape not too much bird life but I did find a Shelduck, pair of Shoveler and half a dozen Gadwall.  A couple of Magpie were on the grass ahead of me but it was time to turn round and get the drizzle at the back of me.  The tide had moved further in but still plenty of mud and as well as the Wigeon and Teal I was now also to add a few waders, mainly Dunlin but also a couple of Sanderling and a little further on a handful of Ringed Plovers and a few Turnstone.  A small flock of Starling flew over me to the nearby tall trees and back at the sailing club's boat park a friendly Dunnock on the path followed almost immediately by a Pied Wagtail.  Only 26 species but quite happy given the circumstances.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

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

Swanwick Nature Reserve

 Tuesday 21 December

I needed to get out and away form the computer so took a very short drive to Bursledon and the Hamble river before turning inland to find the small Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve.  Already early afternoon and not too good a light as well as being cold, I found a delightful steep-sided valley with a trio of small fishing ponds at the bottom in addition to that at the entrance.  Set in deciduous woodland this is potentially a very good site for future visits and is regarded as holding a few Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers.  About two miles of paths in total and plenty of resting points.

The sleepy Heron Ardea cinerea hiding in the shade

However, on this occasion very few birds to be seen; mainly Robins and Blackbirds with the ever present Carrion Crows and the occasional passing Wood Pigeon.  The entrance lake held a resting Heron which was still present almost an hour later when I finished my walk covering most of the paths.  Also on the water both a couple of Mallard and a Coot.

"Christmas card" Robin Erithacus rubecula

Circumnavigating Bens and Toms Lakes I found more Mallards, Moorhen and a second Heron. Then, at the top of the hill, I was in time to see the disappearing Green Woodpecker but no chance of getting the camera out to take a photograph.  It was in this area that I found the obliging Grey Squirrel and once back at the car park, Heron still present, I was able to observe the feeding Blue and Great Tits. Overhead a passing Black-headed Gull and a couple of Magpies to finish the stay.

The relaxed Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

Birds seen:

Mallard, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Green Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magipe, Carrion Crow

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

Sunday 19 December 2021

Hook & Warsash Nature Reserve

 Sunday 19 December

Parking the car at 10.45 at the end of Newtown Road it was dry and calm albeit overcast and cold with the temperature at a very cool 7C as I started a four mile circular walk taking in Workman's Lane, the coastal path and return via Cowes Road to the car almost two hours later.  The walk down the lane produced Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie and a resting Herring Gull in a field to my left before I took and added diversion to the left to walk through the neighbouring Solent Breezes Caravan park collecting both Kestrel and Blackbird as I made my way past the power station.  Having reached the beach at the far end I discovered that the tide was fully in so had to retrace my steps back to Workman's lane but noticed the small flock of Jackdaws as I exited the caravan park along with a couple of Collared Doves.

Male Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Back in the lane it was then take the narrow path down to the shore noticing the number of Blue and Great Tits making use of a feeder in a neighbouring garden.  Once on the path above the shore I was able to quickly pick out a couple of Black-headed Gulls and a Cormorant was resting on a post.  I ought to have got the camera out as I watched ten Canada Geese fly in from Southampton Water and continue on inland, just like a returning bomber command flight!  Then, in front of me on the narrow pebble strip of shore a trio of Turnstone, the only waders seen all morning till the Oystercatcher at the very end.  Moving on up Southampton Water I next had a pair of Brent Geese flying south before two pairs of Pied Wagtails working the beach.

Scrape viewed from the beach

The small, elongated pool to my right held a quintet of Teal and as I finally approached the Scrape I was welcomed by a friendly Robin.  The water was surprisingly quiet as I had imagined it would have been well-stocked by roosting and resting birds awaiting the receding tide.  Probably about a score of Black-headed Gulls along with a pair of Mallard and eight Shelduck.  Just the single Heron and Little Grebe but, best of all, as I approached the "hidden seat" a Dartford Warbler rushed low out of the bush to my right and disappeared into the gorse a metre to my left never to be seen again, nevermind try for a pictorial record.  Then, turning to start the return journey towards the exit to Cowes Lane I was confronted by and incoming Little Egret.

Sleepy Heron Ardea cinerea

Stopping to check the last field on the left as I approached the houses I was not surprised to see both Magpie and Carrion Crow but the lone Oystercatcher came as a somewhat sudden surprise. And to cap it all, at the far end of the field a Fox was searching the ground for, presumably, something to eat. A few local Starlings to finish the list after a most enjoyable two hours walk, even if relatively few species recorded.

The wandering Fox Vulpes vulpes

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Kestrel, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Dartford Warbler, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling.

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

Hamble River

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba

 Saturday 18 December

Completing the shopping it was 11.30 with both Dunnock and Wood Pigeon in the garden when I crossed the road for a two mile return walk up the River Hamble in glorious sunshine and a clear blue sky, albeit none too warm at a lowly 8C.  A Robin as I approached the river and immediately realised the bad timing as the water was within  ten minutes or so of high tide.  However, I hoped that this might have pushed the birds up as well, so offering clearer views and perhaps close sightings of the Grey Plovers

So that's where the Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola were hiding

The occasional Black-headed Gull and a Redshank but next to nothing on the, now, shingle beach.  Yes, there were well over a hundred Brent Geese, over seventy Wigeon and almost forty Teal but the birds were huddled down and resting/roosting awaiting the the tide to turn.  On the other hand, lovely to see both a Rock Pipit and a Pied Wagtail as I walked the footpath. Other than the usual waders, perhaps one highlight was the sight of over  hundred resting Dunlin.  In end pleasing to record 26 species in a lengthy walk.

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow.

Mainly Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus but note the Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

A few of the hundred plus Brent Geese Branta bernicla

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Just a few of the very many Dunlin Calidris alpina

Find the Lapwing Vanellus vanellus!

Mainly resting Redshanks Tringa totanus

Male Teal Anas crecca with Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Curlew Numenius arquata(right)

Wigeon Anas penelope with single Brent Goose Branta bernicla

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