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

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