Walk report: 07 July 2022 Isle of Wight led by Richard Smith

 On a cool, overcast morning, ten of us gathered for the morning sailing from Lymington to Yarmouth. As we departed, we spotted large numbers of Canada Geese on the Lymington marshes, with a single Barnacle Goose amongst them. Shelduck, and most gull species were seen at the low tide mark along with Common and Little Tern flying past as we crossed the Solent. 

Cinnabar caterpillars on Common Ragwort © Chris Robinson

Near Yarmouth, we watched a pair of Rooks digging for grubs on the verge by the terminal. As we approached the railway track the botanists amongst us identified Bristly Ox-tongue, Common Orache, Prickly Lettuce, Marsh and Common Mallow, Fennel, Common Sea-lavender as well as Creeping, Marsh and Spear Thistles. Cinnabar moth caterpillars were feeding on a Common Ragwort plant, but not on the any others we passed on the walk. We paused to look over the reed bed next to Mill Copse and heard a Reed Warbler as a Swift flew overhead. Alongside the railway track Brambles were in flower but only a few Gatekeeper were about in the cooler part of the day.

Mating Gatekeepers © Chris Robinson

 Further along towards the Causeway we had good views of a Marsh Harrier, a few Curlew, Grey Heron, Mediterranean Gull and Redshank fed at the edge of the estuary. Wren and Chiffchaff were heard amongst the scrub and a Skylark flew overhead. Beside the track, Meadwsweet, Wild Madder, Hemp Agrimony, Wild Carrot and Red Currant were seen. At the causeway bridge crossing the Yar, Mute Swan, numerous Coot and a single Greylag Goose had gathered.

Greylag Goose © Chris Robinson

Redshank and Curlew © Richard Smith

We elected for an early lunch stop at the End of the Line Cafe, sat outside in the sun, and as the day warmed, saw more butterfly amongst the grasses and wild flowers around the perimeter; Meadow Brown, Marbled White, and Small Skipper all appeared. 

Small Skipper © Chris Robinson

Marbled White © Chris Robinson

After lunch, a brief foray around the Afton Marsh Reserve gave views of a Jay, and Moorhen and Mallard ducklings paddled in the stream running around the reserve.

Jay © Chris Robinson

Returning through the churchyard at Freshwater and across the fields beyond Kings Manor Farm, the sun came out and as the day got even hotter, large numbers of butterfly were seen with Gatekeeper, Painted Lady, Common Blue and Peacock all added to our list. Passing through Saltern Wood, an active and noisy colony of wild Honey Bees were seen in a tree close beside the path and observed from a respectful distance.

Wild Honey Bees © Chris Robinson

A brisk final walk across the swing bridge allowed us to catch the planned afternoon sailing and it was good to end a warm day sitting in the sea breeze to cool off as we sailed back home after a total walk distance of about 5.5 miles. RS

Our route
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