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

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