On the day of the New Moon Richard Smith met Brian in Maiden Lane at 08.30 for an unscheduled pre-Christmas 4 hour walk around Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve following an anti-clockwise route. The conditions at the start were very benign with sunshine and light winds, interrupted by the occasional light shower. The wind steadily increased throughout the morning and the skies became more menacing. The tide was very high and there was a lot of standing water resulting from the recent rain which filled the lagoons and flooded the fields. None of this bothered the birds however which were everywhere in large numbers. We set off along the footpath to Lower Pennington Lane and our first sighting of note was of 8 Barnacle Geese in the fields behind Oxey Barn. It was good to see quite a number of juveniles amongst the Dark-bellied Brent Geese which were grazing the same fields.
|Barnacle Geese amongst Canada and Brent Geese|
Next came a large flock of Golden Plover and 2 Ruff on Pennington Marsh, one of which was very active and doing a passable impression of a snowman/bird! All of the usual suspects were on Fishtail but the Pintail (M) get the award for the snappiest dressers. We turned back from the junction of Keyhaven and Fishtail Lagoons and continued via Butts, Jetty and Pennington Lagoons, Oxey Marsh, Salterns Marsh and 8 Acre Pond to the undoubted highlight, Normandy Marsh. Because of the state of the tide birds were crammed into the lagoons and its islands.
|Ringed Plover and Dunlin|
Neither they nor us were sheltered from the sudden arrival of squally winds and heavy rain/hail/sleet but we managed to see: Avocet, Red-breasted Merganser (M+F), Goldeneye (F), Kingfisher, Dunlin, Curlew, Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Shelduck, Shoveler, Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher and Snipe.
Roe Deer had put in an appearance at 4 different locations on the walk and we put up a small flock of Bullfinches in Normandy Lane as we returned to our start point. It turned out to be lovely weather for ducks!