Sunday 13 March 2022

Hayling Island Oysterbeds

Greenshank Tringa nebularia

 Sunday 13 March

A couple of hours this morning walking the "Billy Tail" from the main access bridge to Hayling Island as far as the second car park. The early morning sunshine had disappeared to be replaced by dull, overcast skies and a very cold breeze. We should have joined the organised meeting with the Hampshire Ornithological Society but they were starting on the far side of the bridge including the walk to said bridge. With jenny not really up to a long walk we parked at the first car park immediately over the bridge and took time to check out the bird life on the mudflats in front of us. A Mute Swan was working its way towards us and no shortage of Black-headed along with a few Herring Gulls. Whilst we saw Redshank and Oystercatcher, the main wader occupants were Black-tailed Godwits and all appeared to be rapidly moving into their summer breeding plumage. The last species seen at this site was the first of half a dozen Little Egrets.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa coming into breeding plummage

The muddy pool behind the track held more Black-headed Gulls along with a couple of Redshank and a pair of resting Mallard. Then, looking out to the main water of Langstone Harbour we were able to follow a pair of Red-breasted Merganser as they swam and dived not so far off the shoreline. meanwhile, in the field behind the hedge we recorded a pair of Magpie along with Blackbirds and both Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeons.

Continuing on to the oysterbeds no sign of any duck species but we did add more Redshanks before finding Curlew, Greenshank and a trio of Turnstone. Before reaching the noisy main roosting/nesting area of the resident Mediterranean Gulls we also found more Little Egrets and a lone Grey Plover. In the pool behind the Mediterranean Gulls a trio of Little Grebe were busy diving for food whilst there was a continuous cheeping of House Sparrows in the neighbouring bushes.

Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus  with Oystercatchers  Haematopus ostralegus (below) and a Black-headed Gull Larus ridibunus (above)

Making our way back along the main trail we picked up Great Tit, Wren and Robin plus a singing Chiffchaff and then, below a pair of Carrion Crows in a distant tall tree a single, resting Buzzard. In front of us a quartet of Jackdaws exited the bushes and flew across the path. Just when we thought we had seen everything a look out to the main water produced a pair of Great Crested Grebe to take the morning's tally up to 29 species.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

With time to spare, and having stopped to have a few words with the members of HOS who had now arrived on the island, we decided to drive home via Fareham so that we might make a quick stop at the pair of pools know as Newland Lakes.  At least half a dozen anglers well ensconced around the waters which produced Mallard, Coot, Wood Pigeon, Goldfinches, Moorhen, Blackbird, carrion Crow and a single Black-headed Gull so increasing the morning's tally to 32 species

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Little Egret, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch.

Roosting Buzzard Buteo buteo

Curlew Numenius arquata

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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

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