Walk report: 09 June 2022 Sturt Pond and Hurst Spit with Julia Race and Andrea Janssens

We set off from the Sea Road Car Park in Milford-on-Sea at low tide; aware parts of the route to Sturt Pond are flooded at high tide.  Passing through the metal gate in the far corner of the car park we saw one of the wall rocket species and Dove’s-foot Cranesbill in bloom.

The path took us past banks of Brambles, Common Stinging Nettles and large stands of Hemlock Water Dropwort. By the first wooden bridge we heard a Cetti’s Warbler.

Moving on past thick hedgerow we saw Common Mallow, Hogweed, Salsify (spectacular seed heads and mauve flowers), white Foxgloves, Spear Thistle, Bittersweet (Woody Nightshade), white flowered Common Comfrey and a young Robin in a birch tree.

Salsify with Swollen-thighed Beetle © Chris Robinson

Syrphus vitripennis - a hoverfly © Chris Robinson

After a section on pavement, the path headed towards the reed beds. Hedge Woundwort with dark pink flowers, Honeysuckle, a fumitory, and White Campion filled the hedgerow and a Reed Bunting was heard.

Just past a small bridge the view opened up and we studied a beautiful metallic-green Swollen-thighed Flower Beetle on patch of Ox-eye Daisies in the sun. Other plants identified here included Pink Oxalis (garden escapee), Smooth Sow-thistle, Common Mallow, Purple Toadflax and Scots Pine with numerous cones.

Swollen-thighed Beetle on Ox-eye Daisy © Glynis Payne

Bittersweet © Richard Smith

As we approached Sturt Pond we saw Yellow Iris, Silverweed and Charlock in flower.  A vole scurried across the path.

Sturt Pond from Hurst Spit © Glynis Payne

Along the edge of Sturt Pond we saw these plants: English Scurvygrass, Sea Beet, Sea Mayweed, Sea Milkwort, Sea Aster, Lesser Sea-spurrey and Sea Purslane and a variety of birds: Shelduck, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, two Cormorants in flight, Gadwall, Little Egret, and Oystercatcher. On reaching the Hurst Spit end we saw Thrift, Field Bindweed (small pink flowers), Sea Plantain, Buck’s-horn Plantain and Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil.

Sea Milkwort © Chris Robinson

Sea Campion © Julia Race
We walked over the bridge turned left and took a well-used path on the right up onto Hurst Spit. Turning left we saw Marram Grass, Rock Samphire and Yellow Horned-poppy, both on the shingle slopes and in the shelter of rocks. The slopes were covered with more Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Sea Campion and Sea Kale in flower. We took the first main path left down to the base of Hurst Spit and saw Common Tern in flight. Heading back towards Sturt Pond we saw large mats of Sea Campion, with Common Orache, Frosted Orache, Wild Carrot and Coltsfoot on the shingle bank.  By the square blocks of granite next to bridge (our coffee stop) we found more Bittersweet, and another patch of Lesser Sea-spurrey.

Lesser Sea Spurrey © Julia Race

To finish the walk we retraced our steps alongside Sturt Pond and back to the car park.

Our route
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