With a new year, patch & garden list created I just needed some Bird Species to go on it. Sunday 6th seemed a good as day as any, destination the South Coast plenty of rare-ish species showing up on the Solent or adjoining reserves. First port of call Hayling Island Oyster beds, a small area off of the main Hayling Island which juts out into Langstone Harbour around Portsmouth. Thick Fog! It had been pretty bad as we left home but nearer the coast it was even worse also bitterly cold.
That pretty much downed all hope of some passing Sea Birds as visibility was pretty poor. The usual ticks entered the notebook and a couple of coastal specialities Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Grey Plover & Dunlin. Surprises came in the form of Green Sandpiper & Greenshank and its always nice to get the illusive Scaup in the bag, a female and juvenile male showed quite well through the fog one of the pools.
Brent Geese seemed to be everywhere along the Oyster Beds in groups of ones and twos, to dozens, allowing pretty close views, but the light was so bad the camera remained off. The Brent Goose seemed to be the bird of the day as we headed a mile or so back towards Portsmouth to the Hants Wildlife Trust Reserve at Farlington Marshes, here Brent Geese were everywhere from larger groups of 50-60 to 600.
I'm sure throughout the reserve there had to be at least 1500+ wintering on the reserve and nearby mudflats.
|Brent Geese - 1/12th of the view of one feeding flock.|
Other highlights from Farlington were 2 pairs of Red-breasted Merganser feeding out on a channel left by the tide, not a bird we are to accustomed to seeing in the South. Large numbers of Teal & Shoveler, a pair of Stonechat showed briefly in the sunshine as the Fog lifted for 20 mins or so.
With the thick fog descending again we got back in the car and drove back towards Southampton, stopping at Titchfield Haven, quickly picking up a few Gull species at the reserves entrance. Kingfisher, Pochard and 3 rather surprising Barnacle Geese the highlights of the visit. All in all a very quiet day which I can only put down to the weather, with a paltry 53 species spotted. Luckily a fair few I am not likely to catch up with that often away from the coast.
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