Walk report: 03 November 2019 Keyhaven Bird Walk

Little Egret © Richard Coomber
After the high winds and driving rain of the previous day it took an act of faith to turn out for the walk along the sea wall at Keyhaven. But the weather was good, with even a hint of sun now and again and no rain to speak of. Thirteen of us set out from the car park to do the round circuit of sea wall and Ancient Highway.

Those of us who got there early got a glimpse of one of the Merlins that are around at the moment at the Keyhaven end. There was also a Migrant Hawker dragonfly, possibly the last we will see this year.

Along the sea wall we saw Linnets, Stonechats and Brent Geese. Out on the Solent there were rafts of Wigeon and a few Eiders, mostly females. The Peregrines and, briefly, a male Marsh Harrier showed themselves. On the marsh side we saw small flocks of both Skylark and Meadow Pipits.

We walked further along and saw more of the migrant ducks that we expected (Gadwall, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Shelduck and Common Teal). Out on the seaward side there were flocks of Dunlin and Turnstone, Grey Plover singletons and the odd Ringed Plover. Richard picked out one Golden Plover, hopefully the advance guard for the usual large flocks we usually get.

Roe Deer © Richard Coomber
On Fishtail we saw our first Ruff (a male with large amounts of white plumage), looking very much like several we saw last year. We took this as a cue to have the biscuit break.

At this point half the group headed back via the old tip, but some of us continued round Butts to the so-called ‘jetty’. On the Solent there was a pair of Eider, the male in full plumage – very handsome. On Butts Lagoon we saw Common Snipe. As we got our collective eyes in we saw more and more. There must have been at least twenty, but snipe being snipe, they were difficult to count with any degree of certainty.

As we turned left and headed towards the car park at Lower Pennington Lane we saw that on the flooded fields there were quite a lot of Lapwings and about half-a-dozen more Ruff.

Rock Pipit
© Chris Robinson
Heading down the Ancient Highway we saw two Roe Deer wandering about on the marsh and a Raven feasting on a dead goose. A Peacock butterfly flew over. As we got back to the cars a Rock Pipit obligingly wandered up and down the harbour wall were someone had deposited the remains of their lunch.

Collectively we saw 73 species which was quite respectable total for a leisurely stroll around a local ‘patch’, CR