With the weather being influenced by the warm air masses and strong winds crossing the Atlantic, the early forecast for the first field meeting of the winter programme was not very promising. In the event Brian + 6 completed a circuit of 8 Acre Pond and Normandy Marsh, returning to Maiden Lane via Pinckney Path and Normandy Lane, before the rain set in. Even with some notable absentees (Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler), 30+ species were seen. Some birds retained vestiges of their summer breeding plumage whilst some male ducks in eclipse.
Michaelmas Daisies © Richard Coomber
Amongst a few colourful plants were the ubiquitous Michaelmas Daisy Aster novi-belgii and the blushing red Common Glasswort Salicornia europaea.
8 ACRE POND: Kingfisher, Little Grebe, Little Egret.
4 ACRE POND: Lapwing, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit.
OXEY LAKE: Eider (♀), Great Crested Grebe (9).
NORMANDY MARSH: Teal, Wigeon, Curlew, Greenshank (7), Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Northern Wheatear (8), Stonechat and Whinchat. A male Kestrel was claiming squatters rights to a Barn Owl box!
Northern Wheatear © Richard Smith
The highlights were probably the excellent views offered by a number of the Africa-bound Northern Wheatear, with the Whinchat identified by Richard Coomber a close second. Finding a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding amongst Black-tailed Godwits enabled us to compare the two species side-by-side.(BM)
Note: This was the first of our regular 'winter' bird walks that take place on the first Sunday of each month until the Spring. The next one will be at Keyhaven on 05 November.