Sunday, 27 January 2013

Pennington Marsh - 13th Jan

From Bickerley Common we headed down to the coast, after finding Lower Pennington Lane we arrived in the middle of the reserve at Keyhaven & Pennington Marsh. Positioned nicely on the South Coast over looking the Solent and the Isle of White.

Driving up to the car park it was apparent that we would be in for a real wildfowl treat, with Teal, Shoveler, Pintail & Wigeon covering the flooded ground for as far as the eye could see. As we headed through the reserve towards the sea wall, the first excitement of the day arrived as several thousand Lapwing errupted from the marsh with a Peregrine hot on their coat tails. This proved to be a regular occurrence as the Lapwing flock rose high in the sky before returning to feed again, the Peregrine would appear about 5 minutes later as regular as clock work flushing them all again.

Brent Geese, Snipe, Grey Wagtail & Raven where all seen on the way down to the Sea wall and coastal path. Arriving on the coastal path it was clear to see the tide was in and this would reduce the numbers of waders out on the mud flats, luckily there was a small 25ft area left alone by the high tide, and it was smothered in Turnstone. Around 35-40 picked through the washed up seaweed, allowing me to get down low and quite close for a couple of shots.


Part of the huge Lapwing flock
The next spot was quite pleasing, as it gave me an opportunity to photograph as species I hadn't previously, on the lagoon the reserve side of the Sea Wall, 2 pairs of Red-breasted Merganser fished, although distant the light was very nice and shows exactly how stunning these saw-bills are. Unfortunately they kept diving so often trying to catch a pair together proved impossible.

Red-breasted Merganser Drake
Red-breasted Merganser Drake

The remainder of the walk around the reserve didn't bring to many photographic opportunity's but did however bring some cracking birds. Fly bys from a lone Curlew and several Cormorant out at sea, 5 Redshank wading at the edge of the lagoon, 2 female Goldeneye on the sheltered sea lagoon at Oxey with 2 Great-crested Grebe. With no beach to land on Ringed Plover flew rapidly low over the waves to a spit of land further out. I counted 42 but they moved so fast it was hard to tell.

As we headed back into the reserve I am positive I saw a female Black Redstart, but I was looking into the sun and as I upped the camera to take a record shot, a couple appeared behind me and flushed the bird out of sight. An opportunity missed as I was 98% sure of my ID skills.

The walk back through the flooded marsh added Oystercatcher, Shelduck, Dunlin and feeding quite close to the path Bar-tailed Godwit.

Also totally oblivious to us was a Chiffchaff, hoping around on the ground 2 feet away, it looked healthy enough but surprised me as to its total lack of intuition for danger.

A cracking visit and some much needed new additions to the year list, and I would recommend a visit to anyone who is in the vicinity of the South Coast, stunning surroundings and some stunning birds.

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