Thursday 22 July 2021

The Solent shore at Warsash

 Thursday 22 July

Out of the house and down on the shore by 6 am and this time a walk "round the corner" of the Hamble river mouth to follow the shore track in Warsash down to the Solent.  Again, perfect weather although by 7.30 I wish I had taken the opportunity to venture out in just my thin short-sleeved cotton shirt; it's going to be another hot and humid day.

Immediately aware of all the Black-headed and occasional Herring Gulls, it was lovely to quickly see both Curlew and Oystercatcher.  This first stretch of exposed shore also produced a couple of Little Egret and a lone Redshank.  The departing Carrion Crow over to the field on the land side of the path duly produced both Wood Pigeon and House Sparrow whilst I carried on towards Hook Spit.  Many more Black-headed but also a lone Yellow-legged Gull on the mud flats.  In addition, I now sight of a couple of Little Egret and a Whimbrel.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Leaving the newly-arrived flock of eight Turnstones I rounded the corner and found a Heron with a second flying over me towards the spit itself.  Reedbeds to my left and I could hear the Reed Warblers calling with the occasional glimpse.  

Magpie Pica pica

A solitary, perching bird further back seemed to distant to identify with the bins but enlarging the record shot discovered I had actually captured a male Reed Bunting. Meanwhile, sheltering in the lee of the spit, eight Canada Geese along with a handful of Mallard and both watched over by the Heron on the spit and almost two hundred Black-headed Gulls on the mud flats opposite.

Distant record shot of Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus

Then it was onwards along the Solent shore towards the pool at the centre of Hook Links.  A Cormorant was making its way south and, in the opposite direction, the cruise ship "Arcadia" was slowly making its way north and would be expected to dock in Southampton around 7 o'clock.  A couple of Magpies were foraging in the grasses in front of me and having already seen eight Rock Doves fly over near Warsash School of Navigation, I now had a pair of Stock Doves in the air above me.  A short stop to check out the drainage ditch behind the path produced a foraging Willow Warbler but by now a few dog-walkers were beginning to appear so a case of taking distant shots of ground working/resting birds and hope for the best.  Certainly, best it was as I discovered I had photographed both Linnet and Dunnock.  Meanwhile, a Blackbird was followed by at least three pairs of Sky Lark.

Distant record shot of Dunnock Prunella modularis

A stop at the pool produced more Mallard and both Oystercatcher and Little Egret until the Coot put in an appearance.  Other than more Sky Lark sightings and the back end of a deer in the tall grass to the south of the pool it was time to turn and head back.  A second stop at the pool was rewarded with a couple of Common Tern and a Moorhen.  Strange to see a single Common Starling flying out and over the Southampton Water but breakfast was calling.  Almost back into the Hamble river shore with a trio of Black-tailed Godwit when I noticed a pair of Collared Dove on the mud below.  Seems remarkable that these were the first Collared Doves seen in the area!  With the bungalow overlooking the shore, perhaps appropriate ti include the Goldfinch on the feeder when I reached the back door.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mallard, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Sky Lark, Dunnock, Blackbird, Reed Warbler, Willow Warbler, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Linnet, Reed Bunting.

Cruise ship "Arcadia" passing Calshot as she slowly makes her way to Southampton

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