This week's walk: 31 March 2022 Puttles Bridge with Julia Race and Andrea Janssens

Our next field meeting is on Thursday 31st March,  Julia and Andrea lead this General Interest walk at Puttles Bridge setting off from the car park at 10am. 

Grid ref:          SU 271029

Three words:          decide.hides.rejects

This week's talk: Tuesday 22nd March 2022 Birding Around The World's Remote Islands with Keith Betton

 Birding Around The World's Remote Islands

by Keith Betton


Tuesday 22 March 2022 at 7.15pm, via ZoomThis will conclude our 21/22 speaker programme.

Keith is Chairman and County Recorder for Hampshire Ornithological Society and, here, will explore the Atlantic Islands of Gough, Tristan and Ascension and the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand, amongst others.

The talk will last for approximately 60 minutes, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

Please download Zoom if you have not already done so. Also, please ensure you have updated your zoom account as it must be no more than 9 months behind the current version.

Please try your Zoom connection prior to the evening and set your audio to OFF. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need some support.

Access the meeting on the night from 7pm onwards, when you see a short member's slideshow before Robert's introduction and Keith's talk.


This week's walk: 17 March 2022 Turf Hill with Sandra Peel and Marge Wood

This week's walk 

Our next field meeting is on Thursday 17th March,  Sandra and Marge lead this General Interest walk at Turf Hill setting off from the car park at 10am. 

Grid ref:                  SU 211176

Three words:          hiding.focal.waltzed

This week's talk: Wildlife Wanderings in Chile by Richard Coomber

 Our talk on Tuesday 08 March is in St. Thomas's Church Hall 

at 7.15 p.m.

 Speaker: Richard Coomber

Title:  Wildlife Wanderings in Chile

Tonight, the speaker is our own Richard Coomber who will be talking about Wildlife Wanderings in Chile, sharing his expertise in travel and nature as well as his wonderful photography. He will take us from the Pacific Ocean up into the Andes and from the Atacama Desert south to Cape Horn.

We will, of course, continue to keep the hall well ventilated but the wearing of masks is now a personal choice.

Sue Skarstein and Glynis Payne will be in attendance from 6.50pm to accept payment from anyone wishing to purchase tickets for our 75th anniversary event on June 23rd. Cash or cheques will be accepted. 

Maureen Fidkin, our Membership Secretary, will also be accepting payments on the night for membership renewal which is now due.

The nearest public car park is behind M & S

Walk Report: 03 March 2022 Eling with Richard Smith

 On a grey still morning, we gathered at Eling cemetery car park for a walk around Goatee Beach, Eling Church and the nearby lower reaches of Bartley Water that empties into Eling Creek through a sluice under the toll bridge. Around the car park and approach to Goatee Beach, a designated SSSI, we heard Green Woodpecker and saw large clumps of Greater Snowdrop Galanthus elwesii and the yellow flowers of Lesser Celandine.

Lesser Celandine © Claire Kidger

Primrose © Sue Skarstein

We paused at the beach as the tide rose rapidly in Southampton Water and saw Oystercatcher, and Wigeon occupying the raised areas around the pylons that cross the water here. Black-headed Gull were predominant on the water and in the air, and we had distant views of Great-crested Grebe feeding mid-channel.

Yew flowers © Claire Kidger

Wych Elm flowers © Claire Kidger

We followed up the path into the older part of the cemetery surrounding Eling Church - this more overgrown area has been enhanced with several bird boxes, a bug hotel and Bill’s Bees - a single beehive which despite the overcast weather was quite active this morning, with pollen-laden bees coming and going. A large Yew tree was in flower and when shaken, the buds cascaded pollen into the air. Amongst the trees we saw and heard Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit exploring the nest boxes, and a Collared Dove.

Wall-rue © Sue Skarstein

Bill's Bees © Sue Skarstein

Bill's Bees with pollen sacks © Richard Smith

Returning to cross the toll-bridge, we followed the small footpath around the edge of Eling Marsh and onto the boardwalk section. Amongst the trees lining the path, House Sparrow and Chaffinch sang noisily and a Mistle Thrush was also heard from the boardwalk. Mute Swan and a few Mallard were the only occupants on the mill pond and surrounding reed beds. A rather uneventful visit today and we were fortunate to return to the car park just as the weather changed to a light drizzle.


Walk report: 28 February 2022 Normandy with Richard Smith

We gathered at the end of Maiden Lane under grey skies, and a moderate to strong southerly breeze driving a few spots of rain. A small group Goldfinches foraged in the trees above us. Stopping at the northerly end of Normandy Lagoon, several Mediterranean Gulls flew above us, their characteristic call and appearance distinguishing them from the Black-headed Gulls also present, some now bearing quite pronounced black heads.

Adult Mediterranean Gull © Chris Robinson 

Approaching the lagoon, a group of Avocets fed and flew up from time to time. Feeding or roosting nearby, we noted Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Canada Geese, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, a few Ringed Plover and Redshank along with a couple of Greenshank feeding. Given the strength and chill of the wind, we decided to walk around Normandy lagoon with the wind at our backs. Brent Geese flew in over us and large groups of roosting Dunlin were mixed with a few Turnstones and more Back-tailed Godwits. 

Avocets in flight © Chris Robinson 

Pausing to look out to sea, a large group of Oystercatchers was seen towards Aden Bank, along with Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Further offshore, a couple of Cormorants aired their wings, and on the lagoon, a solitary Little Egret, which turned out to not be the colour ringed oldie we had hoped for! Chris spotted a distant, and solitary female Tufted Duck as well as a single Great Crested Grebe feeding mid-channel. 

Brent Geese on final approach © Chris Robinson 

Grateful to be out of the wind, we walked back towards the boatyard and watched Curlew feeding in the fields along with Woodpigeon and a pair of Skylark briefly perched on the fence. Further on, we found female Pheasant, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Mallard and Moorhen. A distant Mistle Thrush sat up high on top of some scrub and amongst the reeds we had good views of a male Reed Bunting and a Greenfinch.

Curlew © Chris Robinson 

 In the trees bordering Normandy Lane, were Hedge Sparrow, Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch and a Green Woodpecker was heard but not seen. Thanks to Maureen who pointed out a small colourful patch of Sweet Violets growing in the verge. We also found the rather invasive Winter Heliotrope as well as Butcher’s Broom growing nearby. The adjacent fields held more Curlew feeding, along with Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Stock Dove and three Roe Deer.

Roe Deer © Chris Robinson