Walk report: 02 February 2020 Normandy

Avocets in flight at Normandy © Chris Robinson

On an unseasonably mild Sunday morning after overnight rain, Brian and 14 LymNats were joined by Mark Appleton, a Coastal Ranger with Bird Aware Solent (birdaware.org). Bird Aware Solent is a partnership of local councils and conservation bodies around the Solent which aims to help people enjoy the coast without disturbing the thousands of birds that over-winter here.

We took the footpath south behind 8 Acre Pond before turning north and proceeding anticlockwise along the sea wall around Normandy Marsh, returning to Maiden Lane via the Pinckney Path and Normandy Lane. As the lower part of Normandy Lane was completely flooded, Maiden Lane was regained via the sea wall and Maiden Dock. With wildfowl and wader numbers at their peak there was much to see, of which the following is only a small selection:
Common Snipe
© Chris Robinson

A male Dartford Warbler emerged briefly from the scrub in the vicinity of Maiden Dock sluice. On Normandy there were 15+ Avocet on Normandy as well as 3 female Goldeneye, 10+ Snipe and after any disturbance (sometimes a perceived potential predator or the occasional dog whistle) the sky was filled with the aerial displays of large flocks of Lapwing and Dunlin.

Richard put his 'scope on a Peregrine on its "usual" post on the offshore coastal marsh and mudflats, presumably resting having dined and Mark then spotted 2 Spoonbills flying south offshore, unfortunately directly into the sun. In the fields behind Normandy Barn a solitary Greylag Goose consorted with Canada Geese.
Curlew © Chris Robinson

The most numerous sighting was of Dark-bellied Brent Geese which were everywhere, on land, lagoon, sea and in the air. Others included Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shelduck, Shoveler, Curlew and Turnstone. Smaller groups and individuals included Tufted Duck, Mallard, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Little Grebe, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Cormorant.

The return produced some sightings other than birds: Jill spotted 3 Roe Deer in a field, Winter Heliotrope, Primrose, Sweet Violet, English Elm and Butcher's Broom. BM