Walk Report: 16 January 2020 Lepe

Great Northern Diver
© Chris Robinson

After tempestuous Storm Brendan twelve Lym Nats stalwarts met for a walk at Lepe Country Park. The forecast was not great and way to the west we could see the next weather system heading our way, so with no time to loose we headed east. We joined the coast near Stansore Point, where on Stansore Pools a handful of Brent Geese fed along with a couple of Redshank. Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, whilst a lone Common Gull just appeared to be resting. The Solent was choppy,  whipped up by the onshore wind, but that hadn’t deterred the Great Northern Diver that loafed amongst the waves quite close to the shore. Along the shore Turnstones searched for sustenance along the tide line, where we also saw Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail and a female Stonechat. Fly-overs included a Raven and Buzzard.

After we looked at the D-Day information board the first spits of rain were carried on the wind, so we headed back towards the car park up the sheltered lane. By the time we were there that shower had passed, so the bird hide and woodland walk along the eastern side of the nearby Dark Water River beckoned. 

Long-tailed Tits
© Chris Robinson
A number of the conspicuous plants such as Bay, Lesser Periwinke and Broad-leaved Bamboo were naturalised species, perhaps from the gardens of the large house that was there until the 1970s. On reaching the bird hide that overlooked the Dark Water River we realised that recent heavy rains had raised the waterlevels so there was nowhere for shorebirds to feed, although that didn’t bother the likes of Shelduck, Gadwall and Little Grebe. The bird feeders in front of the hide attracted an endless succession of Blue Tits, but the most interesting perhaps was the cluster of hungry and hyper-active Long-tailed Tits that appeared shortly after we settled into the hide.

Black Nightshade
© Richard Coomber
When we left we took the boardwalk beside the Dark Water reed-beds towards the sea before heading up the hill towards the site of the old house and thence back to the car park. Little was seen of note although perhaps Black Nightshade in flower was a little surprising for the books say its flowering period is from July – September! Is climate change to blame? RC