Tuesday 8 February
Back in Blighty and time to hit the birding road once again, even if my leg has still not recovered from my trip in Valencia a fortnight ago. Clear, still and cloudy as Jenny and I set off for a leisurely, slow walk up the Hamble river with the tide right out and about to turn. The temperature may have been reading 10 but it felt more like 6 as we hit the riverside path and began to wonder whether it would have been better to put on an extra layer! Straight away a dozen Brent Geese and the first of very many many Black-headed Gulls. Indeed, no other gull species was recorded during the next hour or so. There had been a resting Wood Pigeon in the trees as we approached the river but no others were seen until we were on the return journey.
|Curlew Numenius arquata
A Cormorant flew up river and we were to see a further four as we made our way upstream On the shoreline a Redshank, Curlew and the first of the Wigeon. A lone Oystercatcher was also foraging at the water's edge.
|Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Further on we cam across more Brent Geese and a large flock of Dunlin. having counted at least a hundred of the last, it was interesting to note the gradual moult into breeding plumage with many of the Dunlin showing signs of a growing black chest. On the muddy wastes of the meadow a dozen of Shelduck with a further two on the river pools. More Dunlin and Brent Geese and the first good-sized flock of Wigeon. Just off shore a trio of Little Grebe were fishing and in an empty inlet on the shire side the arrival of a lone Little Egret.
|Little Egret Egretta garzetta
At last our first of four Grey Plover along with a solitary Carrion Crow. Approaching the conservation rea we noted a flock of 14 Canada Geese in the garden of one of the large properties overlooking the river and then six Rock Doves resting on the bank of the conservation area itself. A pair of Jackdaw flew away south and then it was time to concentrate on the large mixed flock of Wigeon and Teal. Also in the mix a Curlew and a first Greenshank of the morning. We were to see two more, sleeping, Greenshanks on the return walk. Opposite the conservation area a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits were feeding at the water's edge. Nothing new seen on the return journey and a final tally of 20 species for the short walk. And my leg is now giving me all sorts of gip!
|Mainly Wigeon Anas penelope but also at least a dozen Teal Anas crecca.
But can you find the Curlew?
Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Black-headed Gull, Rock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow.
|Greenshank Tringa nebularia
|Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
|Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
|A few of the Shelduck Tadorna tadorna