Friday 10 March 2023

Hamble River

 Friday 10 March

What weather! It might be dry in Warsash this morning and no sign of any snow with the temperature registering around 6C, but the strong, cold easterly breeze is giving a "feels like" temperature well below zero.  Notwithstanding, and the tide almost fully in, I made sure I was wrapped up in multi-layers and set off for a speedy walk up the Hamble River to the conservation area and back.  Against the wind on the outward journey, which is certainly preferable to the opposite!  By way of sensibility, I left the camera at home and my notebook in my pocket so I could retain the pair of thick gloves to combat the cold. All photos are from my personal library.

Setting off it all looked very deserted and a 150 or so metres before finding my first bird.  On what was left of the rapidly flooding grassy island in the river to my left I noted both Wigeon and Brent Geese and almost immediately, on what was left of the muddy banks, Dunlin, Grey Plover and a Curlew.  Both a Herring and a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were also present.  As I moved on most of the Dunlin, at least 70, flew over me to the back of the meadow on my right.  Strange, but exciting to relate, a single bird immediately dropped out of the4 flock and into some tall grass immediately below me on the lee of the embankment path to revealed itself as a Curlew Sandpiper.  

Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea

Close by the first Redshank of the walk and not far way a single Greenshank.  A few Teal here and then a pair of Canada Geese also flew over and onto the garden of a meadow-side house where I noted another six individuals.  On the now flooded meadow many more Wigeon and Teal along with eight Shelduck and three more Curlew. Also strange to relate that only ten Back-headed Gulls seen during the whole walk.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Once at the conservation area I once again found the Dunlin flock and a total of 27 Grey Plover plus a pair of Oystercatchers and a second Greenshank.  Now with the cold breeze behind me a more "pleasant" (everything is relative!) walk back home.  Half-way back a pair of Pied Wagtails landed to my right and a trio of Carrion Crows flew overhead and across the river.  Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side! Finally, just about home and I eventually saw my first and only Woodpigeon of the morning but neither Starling nor Magpie on this occasion.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Back-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow.

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