Friday 17 March 2023

Warsash Shore and Southampton Water

 Friday 17 March

Lovey four hours birding with Richard Osman along Warsash shore down to the Spit and then on to both the Scrape and Meandering Pool before returning.  Dull and cloudy with light rains we started then took shelter opposite the Wine bar for ten minutes as the heavens opened. Eased off so continued on our way with the cloud breaking and some beautiful sunshine.  Indeed, glad to be get back so we could remove some outer layers to cool off!

Once past the harbour slipway the first of very many Brent Geese along with a pair of Herring GullsOystercatcher and Black-headed GullsWoodpigeons, Carrion Crows and Magpie all in the air around us and ere long we were looking at our first Redshanks of the morning. A Robin put in an appearance on the footpath alongside Strawberry Fields and then the site of a magnificent Curlew and a quartet of Black-tailed Godwits.   A single Turnstone  before finding the first of the Wigeon and then the first Little Egret of the morning.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

A Moorhen was hiding in the vegetation below the School of Navigation and the small pond just inside their perimeter fence produce both Greenshank and Redshank.  Both conveniently posed for a direct comparison but poor photo as the camera decided it wanted to concentrate of focusing on the fence posts rather the birds!!!

Greenshank Tringa nebularia (left) with Redshank Tringa totanus

Moving on round towards the Spit we had a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls and a large feeding flock of Dunlin.  Alongside the Dunlin were a number of both Ringed and Grey Plovers plus a few more Oystercatchers and couple of Curlew.  Naturally, there was a continuous supply of Brent Geese. Then, approaching the Spit at the very last small pool of open water, not only another Little Egret but Richard spotted the small bird that dashed into the reeds from the neighbouring trees towards the sea.  Almost immediately the bird and its partner were up and down above the reeds for a few minutes before eventually disappearing, but not before being identified as a couple of Bearded Tits.  Fist time I have seen them here but the extensive reedbed is surely a favoured nesting site given that they are resident in the near area.  Also at the back of the reeds a foraging Moorhen.

The reedbed next to the Little Egret into which the Bearded Tits flew

On along the shore to the Scrape but stopping to admire the couple of Sky Larks that were singing their praises and epitomising the song of the "Ascending Lark." the return journey was to produce a third singing Sky Lark so lots of good news for the species. 

Our Sky Larks Alauda arvensis ascending and singing

Approaching the mirador seat we stopped to admire a posing Linnet and were, indeed, to find another quartet a little later on. On the water the pair of resident Mute Swans along with a pair of Little Grebe, a number of Mallard and more Wigeon.  Also sheltering on the far bank eight Shelduck and a couple of newly-arrived Canada Geese.  Near to us as we sipped our coffee, more Mallards and a number of Black-headed Gulls that were joined by a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, possibly the pair that we had previously seen flying across the mouth of the Hamble River and on into Southampton Water.

Great Black-backed Gulls Larus marinus at the Scrape

Continuing on towards the Meandering Pool we found another pair of Linnets plus at least a handful of Stonechat and whilst Richard missed the Snipe that took off and flew round the back of the reeds next to the Scrape, we were able to locate a second individual resting in some tall grass at the edge of the Meandering Pool.  Richard was first to spot the overhead Peregrine Falcon that I missed but, fortunately for me, it put in a second appearance as we started on our return journey.  On the water itself we found more Teal along with a pair of Gadwall and another Little Egret.

Linnet Carduelis cannabina

Making our way back a Coot put in an appearance at the Scrape and at the end of the canal we came a cross a pair of Long-tailed Tits. A single Cormorant flew down Southampton Water.  Come the start of the path below Strawberry Fields, we not only found another Starling atop a large pine tree but also picked up a trio of Jackdaw moving from the same area towards the sea.  Then it was a pair of Pied Wagtails once back to the harbour and, finally, a pair of Blue Tits in the trees opposite the front gate.  Altogether, a most enjoyable morning with great birds in great company.

A lonely Starling Sturnus vulgaris

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Sky Lark, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Linnet.

Pen and cob Mute Swans Cygnus olor

Shelduck Tadorna tadona and Wigeon Anas penelope resting at the back of the Scrape

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