Walk report: 06 January 2019 Normandy

The first Sunday bird walk of 2019 saw Brian lead a party of 12 LymNats from Maiden Lane on a morning with light cloud and a gentle breeze. On entering Normandy Lane the party was immediately challenged by a very vocal male Nuthatch giving loud piping and trilling calls from a tree top.
Butcher's Broom
© Richard Coomber
A grazing Roe buck was showing the early signs of new antler growth having dropped last year's antlers between mid-November and mid-December. Winter Heliotrope, its small clusters of pinkish-white flowers smelling pleasantly of vanilla. Further on Butcher's Broom, an evergreen plant carrying both flowers and bright red berries. The flowers appear directly on the surface of the spiky leaf-like structures that are actually flattened extensions of the stems called cladodes.

In the field between Normandy Lane and the Yacht Haven, south of the Pinckney Path at least two Redwings foraged on the ground with numerous Blackbirds and Robins. Others noted on this section were a fly-over Common Gull, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit.

Common Polypody
© Chris Robinson
Continuing through Lymington Yacht Haven the party followed the recently resurfaced section of the Solent Way footpath alongside Normandy Dock before taking the customary biscuit break overlooking the marina. We watched a Kingfisher during the break and also saw Linnet (10+), Reed Buntings, Jay and Pheasant in the area.

The seawall around Normandy Marsh was even busier than usual with the annual flounder competition taking place. The bird life appeared to be completely oblivious to all this activity. A potential - and likely to be unpopular with the anglers - winner of the flounder competition made a brief appearance offshore in the shape of a Common Seal.

Spotted Redshank
© Richard Smith
Small groups of Avocet scattered across Normandy Lagoon made it impossible to make an accurate count – 16 were reported on the internet. Also present in good numbers were Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Curlew and Dunlin. Others included: Goldfinch, Canada Goose, Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Turnstone, Common Redshank, Spotted Redshank (2), Greenshank (c5), and Pied Wagtail. Far offshore, and requiring a ’scope, were a pair of Common Scoter and two Goldeneye. Distant shorebirds included Grey Plover and Knot.

The final sighting was of c5 Little Grebe on Eight Acre Pond. There were a number of notable "absentees" (any raptors, various plovers, pipits etc.), but the total was still in excess of 50 species. BM