Wednesday 31 January 2024

Sierra de Maria with the Arboleas Birding Group

Wednesday 31 January

On a miserable drizzly end to the day just what I needed Dave, a little bi of humour.  Which one is the raven - the one looking towards the Crow.  Very droll indeed!  Nevertheless, great report and just goes to show what happens when you reverse the order of journey!  Lots of great sights and any number, that might have produced the one species to take me up to the round ton for the month and start of year.  Almost guaranteed to see a Pheasant tomorrow!

Sierra de Maria  -  Wednesday 31st January

Richard came round to my house and I drove his car towards the Sierra de Maria, picking up Peter from the Overa hotel on the way.  Driving along the Murcia to Granada motorway we could see the Los Velez mountain peaks were covered in clouds.  The only birds we saw before reaching the La Piza forest cafe were Woodpigeon, Spotless Starling and House Sparrow.  Upon arrival I reloaded the feeders with peanuts.  Richard saw a Crossbill.  We were joined by Trevor, Val, Kevin, David and Myrtle.  Below the feeders where a large number of peanuts had fallen we saw Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrow and Chaffinch.  I spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the branches just behind where Kevin was sitting. It was joined by a number of Long Tailed Tits. The feeders brought in Blue, Great, Crested and Coal Tits.

Long-tailed Tit 
(PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Kevin came up with the radical idea that we should do the loop in the opposite direction.  So we headed down the plain, stopping at the water trough first.  We saw Carrion Crows, Goldfinches, a large number of Rock Sparrows, some Mistle Thrushes and Crested Larks.  Val added a White Wagtail whilst Kevin logged a Corn Bunting.

We moved onto the hamlet.  The Lesser Kestrels have not arrived yet.  Trevor pointed out a Raven. Kevin had a search for Little Owls around the buildings without success.  A Black Redstart was seen.
We left there and headed towards the cave house village.  Going in the opposite direction was really strange.  It was like a totally different birding experience.  You see things that you have never seen from driving the other way.  I found a pair of Red-billed Chough.  Near the goat/sheep farm, we saw Collared Dove and Magpies.  Passing the firefighters airstrip we saw a tractor ploughing in the distance creating a large dust plume.  We began to see White Wagtails.  I estimated there were hundreds, but Val thought in the thousands.  There was also a large group of Linnets.  We missed a possible Lapwing seen by Myrtle.

Who is looking at who?!!!!  (PHOTOS: David Elliott-Binns)

As we approached the cliff face a raptor flew by.  A dark morph Booted Eagle.  Trevor and Val had seen some Red-legged Partridges.  We also saw a flock of Jackdaws, some Carrion Crows and a pair of Red-billed Choughs.  Carrying on I added a Sardinian Warbler and then spotted an Iberian Grey Shrike. Richard found a female Kestrel which was joined by its mate.

We stopped by the village.  En route Val had found a sitting Griffon Vulture.  Trevor saw a Calandra Lark.  As we left I spotted a Stonechat. 

We returned to the La Piza cafe.  Whilst I was devouring some delicious lamb chops Richard added a Jay.  We were joined by a thirsty Red Squirrel. 

(Dark) Red Squirrel (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Although the weather was overcast to start with, by the end the sun was out.  We ended with 37 species. 
A great day out in good company.

Last week a video was taken by Richard's cleaner of a Black-winged Kite near Albox.  Not a rarity for you in the west who visit La Janda but for us easterners it certainly is!  Hope the video downloads ok. First time I've tried it on here.

Sending our best wishes to Tom Senior, Les and Linda's son who's been very poorly in hospital.  We wish him a speedy recovery.

Sorry Dave, computer refused to upload the video!

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Tuesday 30 January 2024

Titchfield Haven and Workman's Lane, Warsash

Female Goosander Mergus merganser

Tuesday 30 January

Dry, cold, cloudy  and little wind as I arrived at the Meon shore adjacent to Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve at 9am in search of that illusive 100th bird of the month and year.  Driving down Posbrook Lane towards the sea I cam across a very large flock of feeding Rooks and then stopped, thinking must be a trio of Pheasants by the size of the birds, but no, three Buzzards searching for, presumably, worms. Finally as I approached the narrow bridge over the canal, a Jay crossed the road in front of me.  But it was not to be and not a Pheasant to be found even though I seemed to have searched every field between Hill Head and back home in Warsash.  On the other hand, I did have an excellent close vie of a female Goosander in the harbour and also recorded distant eiders out on the Solent and three Spoonbills resting just inside the reserve and viewed from the public viewpoint neat the bridge.

No sooner had I parked the car against the sea wall than I stepped out and found a score of Sanderling along with a couple of Herring Gulls on the beach immediately below me. Using the scope to follow both the beach to the south and the few spits out into the Solent and I soon added Oystercatcher, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Brent Goose, Oystercatcher and Great Black-backed Gull. A little further away at least three score of feeding Brent Geese on or near the water's edge.

Sanderling Calidris alba

Moving towards the centre I entered the public viewing area overlooking the large pool at the bottom of the river to find that, once again, we had an island on which rested a number of Lapwing.  Lots of Gadwall and a number of Shoveler on the water plus a pair of Tufted Duck.  A couple of Cormorant were resting and drying their wings and a pair of Coot exposed themselves whilst, on the far bank, a lone Heron was searching for its breakfast.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus with Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus and Gadwall Anas strepera

From the bridge I had a better view of the water the other side on the far fence in the nature reserve itself and confirmed the three sleeping Spoonbill.  On a tree behind then a pair of resting Magpie.  On the water and neighbouring banks no shortage of either Teal or Wigeon plus, in addition, a dozen Shelduck, more Gadwall and Lapwing, a lone Moorhen and a couple of Canada Geese.

Distant Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia with Shelduck Tadorna tadorna

Time to move on round to the harbour itself with its resident population of Mallards and Turnstones and, on this occasion, a pair of Mute Swans and a female Goosander fishing in the harbour and, possibly/presumably finding food on the outgoing current.

Female Goosander Mergus merganser

Taking the car I rove up to the top of the cliff for a better view of any distant sea ducks and was rewarded with a distant quintet of Eiders but, on this occasion, neither a tern nor a scoter. The last birds noted were a Blackbird atop a yacht's mast and a female House Sparrow on the Visitors Centre feeder.

Taking the longer way home vis the small village of Hook I can across a huge flock of Jackdaw and a couple of Chaffinches before deciding to take the uneven track back to the top of Workman's Lane on the edge of Warsash.  Having got this far, I parked the car and walked down the lane to the end before continuing on down the tarmac path towards Chilling Head and back.  No sooner started than I was recording Robins and the occasional Carrion Crow,  The large field to my left with the winter "pond" held a dozen Oystercatchers and 29 Resting/feeding Curlew along with a trio of Magpies.  The sudden noise made me look up as hundreds of Brent Geese flew over me.  However, they settle in the horse field on my left and I was able to make a count of 400 but, no sooner walking, on, than every now and again another score would fly in to join the party.

Magpies Pica pica

Moving down the lane I added both Great and Blue Tit along with a female Blackbird. A Collared Dove was resting on the roof of the cottage at the bottom and a Black-headed Gull flew over. Making my way back, a few Woodpigeons were seen and once back at the "pond field" (now on my left), at least a score of Pied Wagtails had arrived to forage an, at the same time, a small flock of Starlings flew in. There was a stag Roe Deer in the last field as I approached the car to make a second for the morning having photographed the first as I left Titchfield Haven.

Distant Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus taken from the car

Birds seen:

Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Eider Duck, Goosander, Cormorant, Heron, Spoonbill, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Sanderling, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Collared Dove, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.

Female Goosander Mergus merganser

Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus

Heron Ardea cinerea

Redshank Tringa totanus

Sanderling Calidris alba

Turnstones Arenaria interpres at the water's edge

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Monday 29 January 2024

Acres Down and Blashford Lakes

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Monday 29 January

A very dull day for my morning visit to the New Forest and got worse once west of Southampton as the low mist looked more like fog!  Passing over the Test Flood Meadows on the M27 on both the outward and return drives I could not but be aware of the congregation (sometimes also known as a "wedge")  of Little Egrets, at least a dozen or more. Once on site at Acres Down close to the two favoured trees I was all set to await the arrival of a resident Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.  However, like the other half-dozen birders in the area, I was to be disappointed yet again.  Another day perhaps and, hopefully, in better weather with a little more light on the scene.  On the other hand there were many Robins, Blue Tits and Chaffinches in the immediate area along with a few Blackbirds and Great Tits.  Overhead a dozen Woodpigeon and even a calling Nuthatch.  According to "Merlin" both Brambling and Siskin were in the vicinity but neither seen nor heard by myself and neighbouring birders.

Great Tit Parus major

So on down to Blashford Lakes, which was equally dull and foggy, and straight to the Woodland Hide. Plenty of Dunnock and Chaffinches and on the feeders Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Siskin,  Working the ground below a quartet of Dunnock and a couple of Blackbirds plus at least three Robins.  Finally, a single Long-tailed Tit was recorded on the feeder.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Continuing on down to the Ivy South Hide there were nine Mallard on the pool to my right and once inside the hide no shortage of Wigeon on the lake.  Much searching finally produced a couple of Gadwall, male Pintail , Great Crested Grebe and a Coot along with three resting Cormorant and a few Black-headed Gulls.

Siskins Carduelis spinus
Male Siskin Carduelis spinus
Female Siskin Carduelis spinus

The North Ivy Hide produced a few Gadwall and Wigeon but mainly Teal so straight over the road to Ibsley Water.  Here the water was packed with duck and very few Coot and Cormorant showing. Mainly Pintail and Shoveler but also many Tufted Duck along with good numbers of both Mallard and Gadwall. However, there was also a close, single Oystercatcher and a more distant Mute Swan.

The final journey hone took me through the back of the reserve where the small hamlet produced a Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw all sharing the same tree.  A small flock of Starling flew into the horse paddock and also revealed the trio of perched Woodpigeon.

Robin Erathicus rubecula

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Coot, Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gull, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin.

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris with Goldfinch C.carduelis

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Friday 26 January 2024

New Forest 's Solent shore

Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

Friday 26 January

A bright, sunny start albeit a little on the cool side with a cold breeze once on the shore when friend Richard Osman and I arrived at Normandy Lagoon, just south of Lymington. Just before leaving the end of the M27 to head towards Lyndhurst the pleasure of seeing a Red Kite above us crossing said motorway.

No sooner has we arrive than we saw both Blackbird and Woodpigeon and as we prepared to leave the car a couple of Robins in the nearby hedge. As son as we reached the sea wall with the low sun immediately ahead of us we looked to our left and found Normandy lagoon alive with birds including a small flock of Brent and the occasional Canada Goose.  Near at hand a couple of Shelduck and within close proximity a party of eighteen Avocet and a good number of resting Teal.  Checking the water we then added Mallard, Wigeon, Shoveler and Tufted Duck with the last leading us to at least six Goldeneye.

Shelduck Tadorna tadorna with Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta and Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

Moving on the end of the initial wall and along the far side we added a Great Crested Grebe whilst below us on the lagoon a very close Spotted Redshank.  There were numerous Lapwing and at least a half-dozen resting Cormorant. Whilst there were many Lapwing, the Dunlin numbers ran well into the hundreds and they seemed to be constantly on the move as a flock. Only a handful of Oystercatchers and a single Little Egret but closer inspection not only produced a number of Pintail but also a single Red-breasted Merganser and a trio of Little Grebe.

Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator

It was as we made or way back to the car that we finally located the Slavonian Grebe well out into the Solent. But looking towards the east we also found the quintet of Spoonbill resting on the far shore of a spit just off the shore and once back on the last leg of the wall a Great Crested Grebe in the water below us and a Curlew on the far bank accompanied by a Carrion Crow.

Mainly Pintail Anas acuta with Canada Goose Branta canadensis and Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus

Moving on to nearby Pennington Marshes we were once again greeted by both Blackbird and Woodpigeons and, at the first entry point greeted by a number of Canada and a good-sized flock of Greylag Geese. Also present on these flooded meadows were a number of Lapwing, a couple of Magpie, a few Herring Gulls and a lone Pied Wagtail.  Up against the boundary fence both a Rabbit and a single Roe Deer.

Having parked the car at the end of the lane we first took the short walk down to the fresh water pond on the right of the non-vehicle lane where we found just a handful of Herring and  single Black-headed Gull that flew over to join a dozen others on the nearby marsh.   Back to the car and then take the right-hand path alongside the pools down to the cost pat Fishlake Lagoon and on to Butts Lagoon.  Scores of Brent Geese and both Heron and Little Egret.  On the water a range of ducks including Shelduck, Shoveler, Wigeon, Pintail, Teal and Mallard plus a handful of foraging Turnstone and a couple of Coot.

On the far side a wandering Carrion Crow and then taking a first look at Butts Lagoon from the northern end we found a quintet of Tufted Duck along with a pair of Mute Swans and a feeding Little Grebe. Once on the seawall overlooking Butts Lagoon from the west we managed to find the single Bearded Tit that was feeding in the reeds below us albeit partially masked by the all reeds in front.  behind us a Great Crested Grebe was fishing in the deeper water.  making our way back to the car a last look across the nearby flooded meadow found a single Gadwall on the distant pool with a small number if Wigeon in front of it.

Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

Time to set off back to Warsash but a slight detour on the way took us to the eastern outskirts of Romsey where we found that the two Waxwing feeding and resting near the allotment were still present at least ten days after the first sighting report.  Not as clear a view as last week but, nevertheless, a bird that is always worth seeing.

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Slavonian Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Spoonbill, Red Kite, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Common Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Waxwing, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Starling.

Hundreds of Dunlin Calidris alpina - retsing at last

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

A few of the any Teal Anas crecca

Our Romsey Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

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Thursday 25 January 2024

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa

24 January 

It turned out to be a good day's birding for Dave and his Arboleas Birding Group and especially the excitement of watching the female Marsh Harrier seeking out her morning breakfast but, no doubt, the Coot had other thoughts!  Lots of good sightings and lovely to see the photos taken by both Peter and Steve.  Seeing some of the sea species reminded me that I have yet to record bot Gannet and sandwich Tern this year but, hopefully, the latter will soon be spotted cruising the Southampton Water in search of a meal.

Rambla de Almanzora & Vera Playa: Wednesday 24th January 

Perched female Marsh Harrier (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

To start the 03.15hrs!  Gilly and I were woken by the sound of an Eagle Owl buhoo'ing (and a sort of cackle) not 20m from our bedroom terrace on our next door neighbour's roof.  One of our cats shot in at speed when we opened the door!  Not a bad addition to my garden list!

I picked Juda up from La Alfoquia in the car and headed towards Villaricos. En route we saw two large flocks of Cattle Egret.  There must've been at least 100 in total.

As I was in the car and didn't want to wreck it along the rambla embankment, we came into the ford from the sea side only seeing a magpie perched on the reeds. The ford pond, the only bit of water, contained some Mallards, a Moorhen and some Chiffchaffs were flitting about the surrounding reeds.

As we waited for the others to arrive we saw some Woodpigeon and some Collared Doves.  Kevin arrived first.  He'd spent the night in his campervan.  A trip up the rambla had produced Common Sandpiper, Iberian Grey Shrike and Spotless Starling.  Peter arrived next followed by Carolyn and Steve.  Peter and Kevin were going to do the walk to the sewage works whilst the rest of us went to the beach.

Greater Flamingos (Photoshopped) (PHOTO: Peter)

At the beach, the flattened area must have accommodated at least 50 campervans, but there was no one on the beach.  Trevor found a sunbathing Cormorant.  Also seen was a Little Egret and a Black-headed Gull.  Steve spotted a Black Redstart (and a House Sparrow!).  We moved round to the far side of the estuary.  As we drove along the embankment, two Crag Martins flew over.  At the turning circle the sun was in our eyes which didn't help.  About 50 Cormorants flew into the end of the estuary where a shoal of fish was obviously attracting them.  Out to sea I found a couple of Gannet and a Sandwich Tern.  A pair of Ringed Plover were flying around in a noisy display flight . I found some Mediterranean Gulls, a Little Grebe, Coot and a Thekla Lark.  We were joined by Kevin, Peter and Val who'd met up with them. They only saw Shoveler and White Wagtail as there were workers at the sewage plant.  Kevin scanned the scene below us and added Dunlin and Kentish Plover.

Little Grebe (PHOTO: Peter)

We adjourned for a coffee (and tostada for some) at the Spanish bar near Villaricos centre as our normal cafes were shut.

Greater Flamingos on the laguna (PHOTO: David Elliott-Binns)

Suitably refreshed we convoyed to the dual carriageway opposite the Consum supermarket behind Vera Playa.  Stopping before the hump, we saw the  right hand shallow waters contained the Moorhens. There were quite a number of Greater Flamingos.  Also seen were some Avocet, Shoveler, a Teal, Black -winged Stilts and Shelduck. Carolyn had only just mentioned Marsh Harriers when a female appeared over the opposite bank.  It quartered over the shrubland before settling down, her head only showing. She took off again and failed to keep hold of a swimming Coot before perching on a leafless shrub.
We moved to the other side of the hump, adding a Green Sandpiper on the waters edge.  We heard a Cetti's Warbler. Checking the roofs of the duplexes behind us, I saw a flying Black Wheatear.  Kevin added a Stonechat.

Marsh Harrier missing out on her Coot breakfast! (PHOTO: Steve)

Seeing the sand spit was devoid of bird life, Juda and I headed to Iceland (shop!) and Val, Carolyn and Steve headed home.  Kevin and Peter stopped off at the elevated viewing platform opposite the Aguaparc.  The saw 40+ White-headed Ducks, a Grey Heron and some Common Pochard.

It was great days birding in good weather and company.  Sadly we didn't see a Great Spotted Cuckoo which have now arrived from Africa.  We ended up with 41 species.

For information, there is an association which has connections with the "Consum" lagunas.  Kevin has kindly taken a photo of their notice. You can follow them on Facebook.

Kevin's photo of sign


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Tuesday 23 January 2024

Titchfield Canal

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Tuesday 23 January

A damp, wet start with light rain but no wind as I set out for a morning visit to Titchfeld canal.  Well wrapped up against the damp with both layers and extra waterproofs and "wellies," I was soon off down the canal path towards the avenue where, all being well, the recent Ferruginous Duck might still be resent on Posbrook floods.  It was not!  However, as I started off no shortage of both Blackbird and Robin and stopping to check out Bridge Street floods I soon recorded Mute Swan, Mallard, Pintail, Coot and Cormorant.  A lone Magpie was foraging along the edge of the water.  Looking behind me over the field no sign of the Barn Owl but a few Woodpigeons resting in the nearby trees and a number of wandering Jackdaw.

Moving on down the path and into the avenue I stopped a few times to check the water at Posbrook floods for the Ferruginous Duck with out success, as did a half-dozen other birders who had braved the light rain before the promised oncoming storm, but did manage to find more Mute Swans and Coot along with a quartet of Canada Geese and Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail and Tufted Duck.  A resting mixed flock of Herring and Black-headed Gulls plus a single Shelduck were recorded on the open water.  A Heron flew off down stream from the back of the water and in the nearby trees more Jackdaw and the occasional Carrion Crow.

Making my way back to the car park a Song Thrush crossed the path in front of me and came to rest in a nearby small tree and more Great and Blue Tits were noted.  Meanwhile, at the Bridge Street floods a large flock of approximately forty Lapwing took to the skies and headed south.  Once the scope had been returned to the car's boot a walk round the back of the water works building produced both tits and a small flock of Starling.

Teal Anas crecca

With the rain almost stopped I crossed the road and walked north up the now flooded canal footpath noting more Mallards and Teal along with many Moorhen.  The three Glossy Ibis were still on the same horse field and in the flooded field beyond a few Teal, more Moorhens and a lone Black-tailed Godwit.  Returning to the car park a Green Woodpecker flew across the paddock to a nearby old, bare tree and, a slight diversion along the road to look at the "rubbish" field next to the river produced another pair of Magpie and a foraging Mistle Thrush on the wet ground.

Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus

Upon leaving the car park I drove along the road to Titchfield Haven and the large field on the left backing on to the canal held a large flock of Rooks plus a few Carrion Crows.  With the tide full in and the wind now picking up with the sea spray crashing over the seawall and across the road there was little bird life to be seen apart from a few gulls over the water.  However, a couple of Mallards and a single Turnstone were noted on the harbour wall.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling.

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Saturday 20 January 2024

New Forest Coast

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Friday 19 January

A beautiful, clear, sunny day for my day in the New Forest but a mere -2C when I left home having first de-frosted and scraped away the overnight ice.  But by afternoon and the sun still shining in a clear blue sky, the temperature had risen to a magnificent 6C, and I even managed to remove my outer coat and gloves!  Waiting in the level crossing queue at Brockenhurst a pair of Jackdaws were foraging on the pavement beside me. Then on through Lymington and parked up to wander around Normandy Lagoon and its neighbouring water, Acre Pond on the Lymington Reserve.

Approaching the lagoon, the last filed on the right held well in excess of 200 Canada Geese and a few foraging Carrion Crow, possibly as a result of most of the lagoons either frozen over or relatively empty at low tide. Walking to the sea wall both Magpie and Blackbird noted then, immediately upon arrival, the first group of the many Dunlin feeding on the mud. A little further away a range of waders including Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank plus the occasional Herring Gull.  The pool was completely frozen save for a small area towards the back which held the massed mixed flock of Teal mainly), Pintail, Wigeon and a few Mallard.  The neighbouring small island held a dozen Lapwing and then chance to look on the seaward side of the wall where I found a single Brent Goose along with many more of the previously seen waders plus a small number of Ringed Plovers.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Redshank Tring totanus feeding on  small fish

Making my way back a Cormorant flew over and then I picked up five Great Crested Grebes on the open water plus away in front of me a small group of Avocet and a number of Grey Plover.  Both Little Egret and Turnstone were busy feeding below me then the sight of a Heron harrying a passing Great Black-backed Gull; interesting!  Meanwhile, further away I stopped to check a bird atop a distant pole and as it flew off confirmed my suspicion of a Kingfisher.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Continuing on round to the adjacent Acre Pond I found a mixed group of duck including Mallard, Tufted Duck and Shoveler along with a few Coot, Little GrebesRedshanks and another Little Egret.  A pair of Mute Swans at the back and a single Egyptian Goose atop the island were added to the day's list.  Finally, walking back along the road to my parked car I was able to add Robin, Blue Tit, House Sparrow and a handful of Long-tailed Tits in the tree opposite the car.

Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca

Once arrived at the neighbouring Pennington Marsh section of the reserve, I immediately had a Jay fly across the road in front of me and then a couple of Carrion Crows. The frozen water on the meadow meant no resting Golden Plover but still a few Lapwing plus a good-sized flock of Greylag Geese. First a quick visit to the small lake to the right of the cycle track to Keyhaven where a number of both Herring and Black-headed Gulls  plus Wigeon and Coot were noted.  On the far bank a resting group of at least a hundred Canada Geese and then a a couple of Shelduck flew over and away towards the coast.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Back to the car to take the path towards Butts rather than Pennington Lagoon.  First a check with the scope over the meadow and in addition to the Lapwing a trio of Snipe were found. Along the path I recoded a number of Robin plus Magpie, Woodpigeon, Dunnock and Blackbird. Once at the shore I walked halfway along the bank of Butts lagoon and then stopped to admire the half-dozen Bearded Tits that were ravenously feeding on the seed less than ten metres away.  Below me on the bank a Goldcrest was foraging in a small bush.  The flock of fifty Brent Geese arrived flying over me and returning before settling on the main water off Butts.

Male Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

On the bank opposite Butts I found a number of resting ducks including Pintail, Teal and Wigeon along with Curlew, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and Dunlin. Returning by the same route to the car I stopped just before passing through the gate to check the "large Blackbird" that suddenly flew into the tall bush behind the car showing signs of colouring.  Although well concealed by the foliage, no doubt a single Fieldfare and hardly had it arrived when a second appeared from somewhere below in the bush to drive the new arrival away.  Quite an unexpected bonus sighting.

Curlew Numenius arquata

After a very short meal stop I made my way over to Romsey and at a cemetery towards the north-east of the town, along with maybe a score of others, found the two Waxwing, which had been previously feeding on nearby Rowan berries, atop a large tree at the entrance to the cemetery. Beautiful views of the birds in full sunlight and how I wish I still had my Canon camera and lenses!

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Thirty minutes later saw me at nearby Fishlake Meadows where after a quick look along the nearby path I made my way up to the road and the first viewpoint over the water before returning to the main reserve and walking the foot path alongside the canal till the turn inland before retracing my steps.  Once at the roadside view point it was, again, disappointing to find the water completely frozen over and almost devoid of birdlife save for a couple of Black-headed Gulls.  Yes, a Magpie in the trees on the far bank but then, turning around, I noted the male Bullfinch in a tree on the other side of the stream, albeit partially concealed by the many branches between the bird and myself.

Male Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Returning to the canal path I soon recorded a few Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon and the first of very many Robins and Blue Tits. A total of seven Mallard on the water plus a Moorhen.  A Heron flew across and away towards the the main water and, in the distance, I could see a Mute Swan.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Making my way along the path I found a Goldcrest and a noisy Cetti's Warbler.  At the end of the track I stopped at the main gate just through the pedestrian gate to check the nearby wooded area and added Great Tit, Dunnock and House Sparrow.  Finally, as I made my way back to the car park, I recorded a couple of Chiffchaff and, right at the end in a large tree full of mistletoe, I found a resting Mistle Thrush to bring up the 56th species for the day.  Great birding and eight new sightings for the month and year.

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull,  Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Waxwing, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Bearded Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Bullfinch.

Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus

Female Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

Male Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus
Bearded Tit Panurus biarmicus

Brent Goose Branta bernicla
Avocets Recurvirostra avosetta with a Curlew

Dunlin Calidris alpina

Curlew with Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis

Wigeon Anas penelope with a male Pintail Anas acuta (right)

Mainly Shoveler Anas clypeta with Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Sheltering ducks on Normany Lagoon. Mainly Teal with Pintail, Wigeon and Mallard

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