Sunday 9 January 2022

Lower Hamble River

Redshank Tringa totanus

Sunday 9 January

Beautiful, sunny start to the day with lovely blue skies but by the time we were ready for a late morning walk, some cloud had arrived to partially block the sky and it still felt much colder than the reported temperature. By 1 o'clock Jenny and I were by the ferry pier having already seen both Magpie and the first of many Black-headed Gulls.  A Little Egret was sleeping on the bank of an empty muddy creek on the meadow side of the path and ere long we were also seeing regular Redshanks. With the tide almost in and relatively little exposed left for the feeding waders we saw a good number of Dunlin and the main flock, probably exceeding an hundred individuals, was further upstream on the mud flats to the meadow side of the path.  Amongst the Dunlin the occasional Ringed Plover and a couple of Greenshank.  

Ringed Plovers T.totanus with 5 Dunlin Calidris alpina

Near the water's edge we had our first sighting and counted fifty Wigeon.  On the opposite side of the inlet almost as many Teal along with a Curlew and an Oystercatcher.  Moving on we had a couple of Brent Geese and then at the seaward end on a neighbouring large garden fourteen Canada Geese and a half-dozen Wood Pigeon.  Lots of Carrion Crows moving about the general area as we made our way to the conservation area.

A section of the large feeding Dunlin C.alpina flock

Once at the conservation area I thought I had a distant glimpse of a Little Grebe on the main river but is seemed to disappear for more than the expected time under water.  Eventually the "shape" reappeared to reveal itself as a Grey Seal and whilst waiting for a second, longer surface a Little Grebe did appear on the scene.

Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus in the Hamble river

Meanwhile, on the mudflats on the meadow side of the path hundreds of Dunlin with a smattering of both Ringed and Grey Plovers.  In addition a couple of Oystercatchers and more Curlew along with the main resting flock of both Wigeon and Teal. A lone Heron was eventually found hiding in the long grass at the back o0f the meadow and as we mad our way home, not only a pair of Greenshank just waiting to be photographed but also a Great Spotted Woodpecker hammering away in the trees at the back.  Nineteen species but still an enjoyable walk and that sighting of both the close Greenshanks and the Common Seal made it all most worthwhile.

Greenshanks Tringa nebularia

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Heron, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Feeding Dunlin and Ringed Plover on Bunny Meadow

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Herring Gulls Larus argentatus

Distant record shot of the Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

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

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