05 November 2017 Keyhaven Bird walk

A pair of Brent Geese

Weather - dry, sunny, cold north-easterly wind.
Tides - springs, Hurst Point high water 10.40

It is said that 13 is an unlucky number! Not so for the 13 members and visitors (including Rosie Bowman from Bird Aware Solent) who assembled at Keyhaven for the first of our Winter bird walks. Why? Read on!
We set off at 10.10 along the ancient highway to the Lower Pennington Lane car park then on to the sea wall before completing the circular route at just after 12.30. The Balancing Pond gave us good views of several species of duck, such as Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail, newly arrived to spend the winter in our area.
Four Redshank, a Lapwing and a Ruff
From the car park, we were treated to having good views of two Cattle Egrets in the field adjacent to the caravan site. We were the first bird-watchers to see these to rare, but increasingly frequent, visitors from more southern climes. A first for Lym Nats!
The high tide forced a flock of Turnstone to rest on the old jetty jutting out into the Solent. Looking across towards Hurst from the Butts a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and two Eiders were seen through the telescopes. Birding along at Fishtail and Keyhaven lagoons was easier for the shorebirds were closer as they sought refuge from the tide and included two Ruff on Fishtail and at least 116 Curlew and 70-80 Grey Plover on Keyhaven Lagoon.
During the walk over 60 species of birds were listed and in addition to those mentioned earlier other noteworthy species included Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Shelduck (22), Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit (4), Dunlin, Redshank, Snipe, Mediterranean Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Kingfisher, Kestrel, Raven, Skylark, Cetti’s Warbler (heard only), Long-tailed Tit, Dartford Warbler. Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Meadow and Rock Pipits, and Reed Bunting.
In terms of butterflies, we saw at least four Red Admirals, a Speckled Wood and a Peacock.
DW with photos © Richard Coomber