Friday 20th December 2013.
After visiting my son in hospital this morning, I got home and took my dog Scruff for a brisk walk around the harbour entrance at Eastney. The blue sky of this morning was slowly disappearing with cloud coming in from the west, which is going to bring in the rain for tonight which will last into most of tomorrow. Groan!
The tide was high when I arrived at the car park by the harbour entrance and so I took Scruff for a walk north up to the Ferry Terminal. It is sad to hear that the Hayling Ferry is cash strapped and could close in the near future. A large flock of Starlings were making the most of the puddles by the car park and having a good bathe until flying up into the nearby tree, by the College buildings. When getting in the car to go home, I counted at least 200+ birds here, with many coming in from Hayling Island! Do they roost here?
From the Ferry Terminal shingle spit, I counted at least a dozen Red-breasted Mergansers within Langstone Harbour, which included one close male preening its feathers just offshore. Despite a good search, little else of note and no Sandwich Terns on show either. Up to 15 House Sparrows were resting in the bramble close to the buildings, with one male bird allowing me to get within 10 feet of it!
Walking south, making my way past the Sailing Club car park, I spotted a fairly large group of waders that included a dozen or so Oystercatchers, 15 Turnstone and up to 40+ Sanderling. Something then flushed them and they flew off only to return to the same patch among the many Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls. A check by the Outfall produced next to nothing and so I walked back to get a good view of the waders, notably the Sanderling. Some of the birds were quite confiding as they passed by along the tideline. I didn’t want to disturb them so I headed off back towards the car park.
Not a great deal else seen apart from a hovering Kestrel over the scrub near the car park. When I got back to the car, I was somewhat surprised by the number of Starlings that had gathered and as I wrote earlier, more and more were coming in from Hayling Island. My wife and I were hoping to go over to Blashford Lakes to view the ‘murmerasation’ of Starlings there over the weekend but it looks as though we are going to be too busy.
Rarities in the country include a juvenile Ivory Gull which has been present for a few days now at Patrington Haven, East Yorkshire. I would love to see one of these birds in Hampshire, though I did see my one and only at Aldburgh, in Suffolk, many years ago. Sad news concerns a young Hampshire birder, Cameron Bespolka, who was killed in an Avalanche in the Alps recently. Though I have not met him, I had seen his reports on the Hants Birding website a few times. My condolences go to his family and friends.