Walk report: 01 December 2019 Normandy

Snow Bunting © Richard Smith
Snow Bunting © Glynis Payne

Brian led 8 LymNats on the first walk of winter proper from Maiden Lane. It turned out to be an exceptional morning and here are the "Top Ten" sightings:

1. A solitary Snow Bunting on the seaward side of the sea wall at the junction of Oxey and Pennington Lagoons. Searching the ground intently for seeds and strandline invertebrates, shuffling forward on short legs (the SB, not the LymNats!), it was possible to approach and get a close view. It was so obliging that we didn’t ‘crowd it’ like the people shown in a photo on the internet subsequently.

 2. Also on Oxey Lagoon, a Long-tailed Duck. A small sea duck, a winter visitor from the Arctic, which made frequent deep dives.

Long-tailed Duck © Glynis Payne
3. Goldeneye (+ 2) on Normandy Lagoon. The distinctive dived constantly and, when on the surface, began displaying by raising its head and suddenly arching it back over its rump.

4. Whilst searching for the Goldeneye, a Red-breasted Merganser () appeared in Richard's 'scope. Like all sawbills it is a fish-eater, diving energetically and staying submerged for long periods as it drives itself along underwater with its feet.
 5. In bright sunlight the electric-blue rump of a Kingfisher was seen on several occasions. One was seen hovering over Normandy Lagoon before plunge-diving and then flying low, fast and straight to a perch on the far side of the lagoon.

Spotted Redshank © Richard Smith

6. Spotted Redshank on Oxey Lagoon, dynamic and energetic in its/their feeding actions. Pairs and small groups were seen leaping, running, upending and diving for tiny fish in shallow water, often wading more deeply than the Redshank.

Common Redshank © Glynis Payne
7. Stonechat ( + ) in the open field behind Oxey Barn. In the absence of a better perch the returned frequently to a convenient cowpat.
Dunlin © Richard Smith
8. Several Kestrels were seen hovering head to wind over the fields. It is a bird that is able to keep its head still relative to the ground, absorbing the effects of the wind by moving its body and adjusting its wings and tail.

9. Other waders included Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Greenshank and Dunlin

10. The "Best of the Rest" (starting with the most numerous): Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Pintail, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe: Long-tailed Tit, Starling,

An entry in the Hampshire Bird Atlas 2007-2012 reads "... an encounter with a Snow Bunting can be the highlight of a chilly winter's day on the Hampshire coast." I don't think any of the LymNats that saw it would disagree. BM