Walk Report 01 February: Keyhaven

We had a lovely sunny morning with a high tide and a gentle northerly wind for our group of 14.

Bearded Tit - female
The species highlight of the morning for many of the group was a female Bearded Tit feeding in the reeds in Butts Lagoon and skillfully spotted by Chris. Although it was quite windy by then and there was a lot of movement in the vegetation, the bird stayed fairly static feeding on a seed head which enabled us all to have good long views through the telescopes.

Ruff - male
Another species that we don’t often see was Ruff, with four individuals on the marsh to the north of the Old Tip, a couple of them with very white collar plumage which may have been the early stages of the spectacular male breeding ‘ruff’.

Our total of 47 bird species was reasonable but more notable was the number of individual birds in some of the flocks. The Lapwing were particularly skittish, taking to the air in great numbers several times at different stages of the morning. Sometimes they were accompanied by hundreds of Golden Plover seen at their best when the sun was on them as they turned and whirled high in the sky.

Flying lower, keeping just above the water out towards the Solent, was a ‘fling’ of Dunlin – smaller birds than the plovers but equally impressive with their ever-changing aerial display recalling a murmuration of Starlings! The reason for this disturbance was obvious when a Peregrine Falcon flew past us heading back towards the land, but we couldn’t see whether it had caught one of the smaller birds. MF
photographs © Richard Coomber