|Common Buzzard © Richard Smith|
A clear fine morning saw Sue and Geoff plus 16 members on a general interest field meeting at Calshot taking in a variety of habitats – mixed woodland, reed bed, shingle bank and the salt marsh of Calshot Marshes Nature Reserve. The field alongside the woodland provided the birding highlights of the morning – excellent views of a Buzzard perched, basking in the sunshine and, shortly afterwards, a Sparrowhawk causing mayhem among the other smaller birds nearby including Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits. Sadly there was no sign of the Peregrine known to roost on the power station chimney but Wren and Redpoll were also seen.
© Richard Coomber
With no apparent signs of life in the reed bed, we moved on to the salt marsh where there were plenty of Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Oystercatcher and Pintail, with less numerous Eider, Redshank, Brent Geese, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Curlew, and Great Black-backed and Common Gulls.
Having crossed the swing bridge at the former power station for our biscuit stop, the customary Robin finally made its appearance. Retracing our steps to the shingle bank, we had a short interlude searching for mollusc shells which were plentiful and as Mike Mawdsley pointed out had clearly been sorted by wave action - this being particularly evident in the section where only Cockle shells could be found.
|Turnstone © Richard Smith|
Shells identified were: Cockle, Mussel, Oyster, Whelk and Dog Whelk, Periwinkle, Top, Limpet and the non-native Manila Clam and Slipper Limpet. Some of the shells carried Acorn Barnacles and the tubes of Keel Worms. A small Cuttlefish bone was also found.
Moving on towards the sea, Turnstone, Rock Pipit, Little Egret, Mute Swan and Mallard were
added to our birding tally and a Pheasant in the nearby field brought us to 33 bird species overall. S&GN