High tide at Hook

Whilst Mark headed to the east of the county I thought I would take the dog on a loop around Hook with Warsash. I parked up in Church Rd and walked through Hook Wood. Several Tit flocks caught my attention and at least 4 Nuthatches could be heard calling, one particular bird showing well right above my head. A few Redwings were also present.Blue Tit, Hook Wood, 10 Feb 2009Nuthatch, Hook Wood, 10 Feb 2009

As I approached the harbour I could see the tide was well up and guessing from the height it was a spring tide. With only a foot or so clearance on the sea wall. Quite a strange feeling as you approach from the hide as the sea was actually above me. The harbour itself was birdless, no Long Tailed Duck or the usual Little Grebes. The spit however did hold 75 roosting Oystercatchers which was nice to see.Mute Swan catching the breeze in the Phalarope ditch, 10 Feb 2009

The water level in the scrape was also the highest I’ve ever seen. This may account for the prescence of both Tufted Duck and Pochard, the latter being very uncommon on the reserve, usually preffering the deeper waters of Titchfield Haven down the coast. c200 Black-tailed Godwit and similar numbers of Lapwing were also roosting at the back of the scrape. Something put them all up during the time I was watching but I never caught sight of it.Black-tailed Godwit and Starlings, Hook Scrape, 10 Feb 2009. (keep checking those underwings)

Nearby to Beam Cottage I came across the regular pair of Little Owls. and a little further up Workman’s lane there were 11 Curlew in the horse paddock, no doubt taking advantage of the flooded fields.Little Owl Pair, Beam Cottage, 10 Feb 2009. (large passing cloud accounts for naff picture)Curlew, Workman’s Lane horse paddock, 10 Feb 2009

Steve Copsey

Spotted Redshank at Emsworth Harbour

After viewing Brian Fellow’s excellent website I decided to visit Emsworth Harbour.  I knew I would be arriving a hour after high tide but I was surprised to find that the front of the stream at the end of Warblington Road was impassable due to the extremely high water. 
I decided to scope the harbour and saw large rafts of Brent Geese and Wigeon, with one small island holding at least 30 Shelduck.  In the mouth of the inlet a group of 23 Mute Swans drifted lazily.
Mute Swan, Emsworth harbour 10th february 2009
By now the water was receding rapidly and as I crossed the mouth of the stream,  I could hear tits, crests and a group of House Sparrows calling noisely in Nore Barn Woods.  As I rounded the small headland to the west of the stream, two Lapwing were flushed by the ever present dog walkers.
A little further on, I looked back and spied my target, there was the long staying Spotted Redshank.
Spotted Redshank, Emsworth Harbour 10th February 2009
Dog walkers were everywhere and I held my breath as one dog passed within 8 foot of the Spotshank and although it became alert, it refused to flush, soon settling down after the dog had moved away.
As I watched the bird it sat contendly, sleeping awhile, then tensing as a dog strayed too near before settling back down onto its "single leg" pose.
Eventually it decided to take a short stroll around the vegetation, every now and then finding a titbit in the water.

Spotted Redshank, Emsworth Harbour 10th February 2009
A nice location and well worth a future visit.
Mark C.

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