Thursday 6 January 2022

Lower Hamble River

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

 Thursday 6 January

Something by way of a change this morning in order to get my birding walk in before the expected rain arrives around midday.  Rather than a return walk from home up the Hamble River I left the Robin happily eating breakfast on the garden feeder and caught the Southampton bus to Bursledon, where the main A27 crosses the Hamble.  Then a straight forward walk down to Warsash, almost at the confluence with Southampton Water.  Cloudy but calm weather but whilst the temperature might be stated as being as high as 4C, the overnight hard frost, still lots of ice about, and the chill factor made it seem nearer zero.

Male and female Teal Anas crecca

As soon as alongside the river a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits along with a couple of Teal and Mallard plus the ever-present Black-headed Gull.  A Carrion Crow was foraging in the lawn in front of me and once round the first bend, where I found both Blue and Great Tit, I came across a mixed collection at the water's edge including a Mute Swan, pair of Gadwall and more Black-tailed Godwit, Teal and Mallards.  

Mute Swan Cygnus olor entering "Teal creek"

Onwards and ere long I had found the first of many feeding Brent Geese but today in small rather than large groups.  The occasional Redshank on the mud and then the first of many regular sightings of the large Wigeon flock along the lower river.

Brent Goose Branta bernicla

Lovely to come across the first of the morning's Curlews and away to my left a Great Spotted Woodpecker was banging away in the old trees.  Arriving at the conservation area I found the usual occupants plus a single Little Egret and a couple of Oystercatchers.  Interesting to see the seven Canada Geese (where were the rest f the flock?) but they departed as I approached along the main path. In the grass next to the little creek a trio of resting Herons.

Herons Ardea cinerea

Having caught the briefest of sighting of the Rock Pipit that had been disturbed by a walker approaching me, I next stopped to take a prolonged look at the small waders feeding on the muddy flat of Bunny Meadow.  Tightly grouped, there must have ben over fifty Ringed Plovers along with maybe a score more of Dunlin.  And when they decided that they preferred the water's edge, what a lovely sight to follow the massed flight.

Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula and Dunlins Calidris alpina

The rest of the walk produced many more of the same but eventually the first Grey Plover and three Little Grebes fishing on the open river.  A Pied Wagtail flew out from beneath my feet and over the exposed mud which led me to discover almost a score of foraging Turnstone.  And so back to the bungalow having recorded 26 species in my slow walk downstream from Bursledon.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Carrion Crow.

Curlew Numenius arquata

Gadwall Anas strepera with Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus and Black-tailed Godwit

Feeding Dunlin Calidris alpina

A Brent Goose lost amongst the foraging Dunlin

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

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