Monday, January 23, 2017

Diary Update #4 ~ 2017

A weekend in Hampshire for Dee and I and while driving down late afternoon Friday an unexpected year-tick, when a Tawny Owl flew across the carriageway at dusk as we approached the M3 motorway!

Glorious views of the Solent from the sea wall at Titchfield Haven...
Saturday 21st January... A glorious frosty start to the day for our first ever visit to Titchfield Haven NNR which covers 369 acres across the Meon Valley. With the pools frozen we decided to forgo the Scrapes Trail, instead visiting the three hides which overlook the meadows and River Meon beyond. These produced Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit and a good selection of the usual wintering wildfowl. Two Marsh Harriers were the highlight and a large group of Canada Geese feeding on the meadows yielded a single Barnacle Goose within.

Two Sandwich Terns among the Gull was a real surprise!
After lunch in the centre a walk East along the seawall and while scanning a group of gulls opposite the Hill Head Sailing Club we were amazed to come across two Sandwich Terns! I'm unsure as to whether wintering Terns are the norm in these parts? Waders along the shingle included Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Turnstone.

A very obliging Snow Bunting!
Returning west along the seawall and across the harbour road bridge a Kingfisher was showing rather well and then a very confiding Snow Bunting near the boat dry dock, which posed quite happily for several photographs. A long spell scanning the Solent from the sea wall was very productive with a selection of (15) Eider, (6) Scaup, (30+) Common Scoter and (5) Great Crested Grebe.

We did manage a brief visit in the fading light to Beaulieu Road Station in the New Forest. A Great Grey Shrike reported yesterday but we were not surprised to dip on this one! This can also be a great place for Dartford Warbler but again there was little chance.

Dee's excellent photo of Kingfisher at Titchfield Haven!
Sunday 22nd January... Another glorious morning and an afternoon at Lymington~Keyhaven Nature Reserve. Some superb habitat here with mudflats and salt marshes, plus a seawall which offers great views out towards the Isle of Wight.

Brent Geese!
Despite being mobbed by Sunday walkers highlights here were over 1000 Brent Geese, (110+) PintailMarsh Harrier, pair of Stonechat, Little Egret and a very inquisitive Fox! There are hundreds of waders feeding on the mudflats to scan through, including good numbers of Godwit and several Grey Plover! The sea seemed extremely quiet, other than double figure Red-breasted Merganser!

More Images of the day:

The inquisitive Fox!
Marsh Harrier
Little Egret