Saturday 11 March 2023

Warsash Shore

Curlew Numenius arquata

 Saturday 11 March

An unexpected change to the weather so I took the opportunity to take a walk along the Warsash shore past the harbour and on down to the Spit before continuing on to the Meandering Pool via the Scrape.  Hardly a breeze until more exposed as I approached the Spit, but a hazy sun was trying its best to pop out from behind the mixed cloud.  And back in similar weather after recording 32 species in the just over two hour walk.

With both Robin and Dunnock in the garden as I departed just before 9.30 I soon encountered the first Brent Geese upon reaching the slipway at the harbour.  Continuing on, I immediately added a number of Redshank, Black-headed Gulls and a score or more of Turnstone that flew in to feed on the shoreline. Before reaching the School of Navigation (SofN)I had also added many more Brent Geese and Redshank along with Herring Gull, Curlew and the occasional Wigeon and Teal and just the single Oystercatcher.  Taking the path below Strawberry Fields I noted Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren plus the first the the usual Carrion Crows and Woodpigeons.

Brent Geese with Dunlins Calidris alpina and Grey Plovers Charadrius hiaticula

The mudflats between the SofN and the Spit held hundreds of Dunlin along with many more Brent Geese, a few Curlews and Grey Plovers and, of course, more Black-headed Gulls.  However, I was somewhat surprised to find a lone Greenshank feeding on the very small pond just inside the SofN to my left.   Tome to continue on round to the Spit to the accompaniment of a Great Tit.

Mainly Dunlin Calidris alpina with Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus (left) and Common Gull Larus canus

Sheltering in the lee of the Spit a score or more of Wigeon plus a few Teal and then on along the shore of Southampton Water to the Scrape.  Here many more Black-headed Gulls and Wigeon along with a pair of Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Shelduck and Little Grebe.  Just  single Gadwall and a quartet of Mallard but no Pintails present.

Wigeon Anas penelope resting in the lee of the Spit

Moving on to the Meandering Pool I found a pair of Shelduck along with a single Little Egret and no less than seven sleeping Curlew. Popping up and down on a far post a single female Stonechat and out on the choppy water I manged to find two of the seven Eiders presently in mid-stream and beyond.

Sleeping Curlew Numenius arquata at the Meanderin Pool

Returning vis a second look at the Scrape where there were now seven Shelduck I continued on round towards the SofN noticing how the rising tide was bringing all the waders and Brent Geese much closer to me.  Now easy to not the hundreds of Dunlin and more Grey Plover plus the the remains of the large party of Ringed Plovers noted on the outward journey.  Also a single Common Gull.  Across the water, where I had found two score of Oystercatchers on the far side of the Spit just an hour previously, there were now a good number of sleeping birds. Lovely to get closer views from the SofN pier.  Meanwhile, immediately below me, was a feeding Pied Wagtail and a little further towards the water more Oystercatchers, Turnstones and Redshanks.  Even a closer view of the Black-tailed Godwit pair which were rapidly moulting into their summer plumage.  All in all, a most pleasant morning's walk.

Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Eider Duck, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow.

Mouth of the River Hambe
In the lee of the Spit; Brent Geese and hundreds of Dunlin

Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Redshank Tringa totanus
Greenshank Tringa nebularia (in background)

Grey Plovers Pluvuialis squatarola

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula

Sleeping Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba

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