Saturday 29 April 2023

Hook with Warsash Nature Reserve

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Friday 28 April

Local sites for this week's birding visit with friend, Richard Osman.  A short dive up to the top of Workmans Lane at the eastern end of  the village where, once changed into suitable footwear, we set off on our grand circuit down the lane, with a detour to walk along the southern end of the main hose field, and onto the shore, thence northwards back home to Passage Lane in Warsash. A most enjoyable three and a half hours to cover the six and a half kilometres in good weather albeit towards the end of the morning before the temperature really stepped up a notch or two.

Right from the very start a good selection of birds including Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Wren and Carrion Crow.  The upper, northern, end of the horse field behind the hedge on our left held a flock of twelve Canada Geese plus a single foraging Whimbrel. Whilst we also found Woodpigeons, Magpies and Herring Gulls on the field to our right we must more deferred to the left as Richard found the first of two Egyptian Geese seen on the field.  Looking further back cross the field a distant Little Egret and a pair of Mallard.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Meanwhile, back on the right-hand field, a quartet of Shelduck and then a Stock Dove resting aside the large nest box, but probably being used this year by the Stock Doves.  In the nearby bushes and trees both Song Thrush and Greenfinches.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca

Time for the walk along the southern end of the main horse field and which produced more Blackbirds and a couple of Song Thrushes.  Further away we could see a number of Carrion Crows and the departing pair of Egyptian Geese. As we observed a couple of barn Swallows we stopped near the open area to the right of the very wet track to find a first Bar-tailed Godwit of the year and on the far pylon it was just possible to see one of the Raven pair at their nest site.  Posing on a post near the open stable on the far corner  Pied Wagtail.  As we returned to the lane, we also discovered the pair of Wheatear that had been recently reported.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

So on down the lane towards the shore noting a hovering Kestrel, yet another Song Thrush, a couple of Blackcap and a Dunnock.  Looking for a possible Stonechart, we found our first Whitethroat of the year with a singing male atop a bush at the back of the meadow on our right.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis

The tide now within a couple of hours to high tide so limited exposed beach area but, nevertheless, seven Oystecatchers counted along with a few Herring Gulls.  So on to the Meandering Pool, finding another Whitethroat on the way, where we found four Black-tailed Godwits, a pair of Avocets and a Little Egret.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis

Then it was on to the Scrape where a score or more Black-headed Gulls were in residence along with a number of Shelduck, a pair of Little Grebe plus the same number of Gadwall and a Coot.  Right at the back we found  up to a dozen sleeping Black-tailed Godwits.  Nearby a lone Jackdaw and then the arrival of the two resident Mute Swans.

As we set off along the shore towards Warsash, a trio of Linnets were flitting around and then the first of two singing Sky Larks. In the distance a small flock of Starlings.  Once past the Spit we were able to find the resting remains of the wintering Brent Geese with a final count of fifty individuals.  Also mainly Herring but also Black-headed Gulls along with a few more Oystercatchers.

Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Finally, walking up towards Strawberry Fields we noted a total of five gull-like birds resting on small boys in the mouth of the Hamble River. A concentrated study with only bins to hand soon convinced me that the head markings were all wrong for Black-headed Gulls; these were terns.  Common Terns?  Nagging doubts crossed my mind looking at the back of the heads which seemed to bear the hallmarks of Sandwich Terns and only really confirmed once back home and able to take an enhanced look at the record photos, noting not only the back of the head but the black legs, etc so confirming my suspicion; these were Sandwich Terns.  A most enjoyable morning ion good company and now getting quite warm so time for a swift pint at the "Rising Sun" before heading home to sort out recovery of my car which we had left at the far end of the village!

Distant Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Mallard, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Kestrel, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Sandwich Tern, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Barn Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Starling, Greenfinch, Linnet

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

Distant view of Raven Corvus corax at nest site

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Whitethroat Sylvia communis

For the latest news follow the Axarquia Birds and Wildlife Facebook page for more photos and comments and the opportunity to share with the wider birding world.

No comments:

Post a Comment