Nether Wallop – a new place to bird.

Saturday 14th January 2017.

One of the three Red Kites soaring over the countryside.

Today, I went to a place I have never been before. Nether Wallop, a small village 7 miles south west of Andover and seeing it was going to be a bright sunny, yet cold, morning; I was hoping to be in for a treat. Birding chum, Geoff Farwell, gave me the heads up about this village and its winter birds he had seen recently, which really whetted my appetite and so early this morning, I made my way up to the north west corner of Hampshire.

Fieldfares flying into cover from the fields.

Good numbers of Fieldfares were seen in the Village fields.

Things were looking up as I saw both a male Bullfinch and a Red Kite from the car as I travelled north bound along the country lanes, just north of Romsey. Both species were year ticks and luckily, I was to see a few more this morning. Eventually, my Google Maps on my mobile got me to the village, but where do I park? The roads seemed too narrow to park anywhere, so I just followed the road up to Church Hill, passing The Church of St. Andrew, then finally pulling over by Berry Court Farm. A quick chat with a resident here got me the permission to park my vehicle at this spot and she even told me that the nearby barn held breeding Barn Owls this year!

Stunning countryside views here.

Another Red Kite in flight over the fields.

Not knowing the area at all, I kept to the country roads and bridle paths to avoid any stroppiness from the locals and farmers. This paid off as I got fine sightings of the local Red Kites, with at least three seen together at times over the countyside. Looking down from Church Hill road, I could see a small river below in Wallop Brook. A Grey Heron stood in a field all by itself in the sunshine, probably resting after gorging on a large fish perhaps? Good numbers of both Redwing and Fieldfare were present here in the fields and roadside trees along with other thrush species, which included 4 Mistle Thrush, 6 Song Thrush and numerous Blackbirds.

The Grey Heron with the Church of St. Andrew in the background.

Common Buzzard being mobbed by Corvids.

I found some Yellowhammers by the bushes and hedgerows at Berry Court Farm, which were also year ticks and overhead, I heard a Linnet flying over but couldn’t locate the bird. In fact, there were at least 20+ Yellowhammers in the area and at least three, possibly four Bullfinches seen in the hedgerows along with around 50+ Chaffinches. A possible Firecrest was seen, but I just couldn’t get to see it properly as it flitted low down in a hedgerow and was mostly obscured from view.

A pair of Red Kites together.

A male Kestrel overlooking its territory.

As well as the Red Kites showing superbly in the sunshine, both Common Buzzard and Kestrel were present and gave good views. Geoff had a possible Merlin the last time he was here, but no sign of any this morning. Pheasants were in good numbers, but I couldn’t find any Partridges in the neighbouring fields, which was disappointing. I had a good look in the nearby Barn for the Barn Owls, but no sign of any. The trees within the small copse held good numbers of common finches and Long-tailed Tits, while both Blue and Great Tit were feeding on one of the feeders by the converted Barns on the opposite side of the road.

Same Kestrel but I thought the photo was just as atmospheric?

Common Buzzard looking for earthworms along with a couple of Crows.

Though just the four year ticks seen this morning, it is always a pleasure to go to somewhere totally new. Nether Wallop is only a small village and took just under an hour to drive there from Southsea, but who knows what goodies could be lurking here way out in the sticks?

Yellowhammers near the Farm buildings.

Mistle Thrush basking in the early morning sun.

Yesterday, I was working in the Warblington area and I managed to catch up with the Cattle Egrets for a nice year tick. Up to four were present along with a single Little Egret, in the field just west of the church and easily viewable from the five bar gate. It was damn cold there as well with a biting north westerly blowing over, so I didn’t hang around long!

Four Cattle Egrets and the Little Egret with the Cattle. Yep, a crappy photo using my mobile!

A misty day in the Cemy.

Sunday 8th January 2017.

One of at least 3 Jays seen on my trip to the Cemy.

I had the opportunity to take Scruff for a walk this afternoon and thankfully, this mornings heavy mist had lifted slightly in Southsea. However, it certainly wasn’t the best weather for photography as my photos prove, but it is always nice just to get out into the fresh air and do a spot of birding. Highland Road Cemetery was the venue today and I was hoping that the Green Woodpecker was on show today, for I still needed this species for a year tick.

Starlings making a noise.

Good numbers of Herring Gulls were patting the ground with their feet to drum up earthworms on the damp ground.

Sadly, no sign of the Green Woodpecker today, but a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in from the north and landed distantly on one of the tall trees in the south of the Cemy. Good numbers of all the usual birds present today including a flock of around 100+ Starlings, which made a lot of noise in the dead tree on the west side (see video below). At least a dozen Blackbirds were seen but no other thrushes at all. Possibly six different Robins were seen today as well as a single Wren. Both Great and Blue Tits were in good numbers and a pair of Goldcrests showed fairly well in the trees near the Holm Oak clump.

One of the pair of Goldcrests seen today.

Female Blackbird close by near the Mausoleum.

Jays, always a joy to watch, were busy searching for food among the gravestones, with at least two possibly three birds seen on my walk round. The expected Goldfinches and Greenfinches were abundant, but no Chaffinches seen today. Foghorns could be heard distantly in the Solent while we walked around, no doubt the mist has not lifted over the sea yet.

This Great Spotted Woodpecker flew in from the north, calling in doing so.

My birding friend Geoff Farwell had a good day yesterday near the village of Nether Wallop, near Winchester. He notched up 146 Lapwing, 73 Golden Plover, 40 Yellowhammers, 3 Corn Buntings, 150 Fieldfare, 70 Redwing, 32 Skylarks, 120 Linnets and 5 Common Buzzards. He also had a possible Merlin although it was quite distant to be 100% certain.

Some of the Starling flock in the Cemy today.

A great morning in the New Forest.

Saturday 7th January 2017.

Mallards & Goosanders on a murky Eyeworth Pond.

Despite the misty conditions all over the south coast, Andy Fisher and I went ‘birding’ in the New Forest today to hopefully, get a few more year ticks under our belt. Andy hasn’t done any serious birding yet and he ended up with around 55 year ticks, where I finished on 84 species for the year after today venture.

A pair of Goosanders on Eyeworth Pond.

Egyptian Goose by the main road in Harbridge.

We arrived at Eyeworth Pond first and parking up in the small car park, we were soon up and running with ‘year ticks’ coming thick and fast. On our journey here, Lesser Black-backed Gull, a male Sparrowhawk and a Mistle Thrush were seen as we neared Fritham village; which was a good start to the day, with the Mistle Thrush seen adjacent on the ground with a Redwing. Astonishing, the size difference.

Redwing and Fieldfares in the fields at Harbridge.

Egyptian Geese up a tree!

On Eyeworth Pond it didn’t take long to find a drake Mandarin Duck on the small island in the centre of the Pond and nearby, a drake Wood Duck was present, but both birds were obscured by vegetation to get a decent photo.. A group of 6 Goosanders (four females and two drakes) drifted into view out of the mist over the water. Several flew off but more were found upon the Pond as the mist was lifting. A Kingfisher was seen briefly by myself only but a Grey Wagtail showed well as it flew overhead and landed where the locals feed the woodland birds by the gate.

Oh no. Its the Masked Birder again. This time outside the Tern Hide at Blashford Lakes.

Shoveler, Mute Swans, Wigeon and Goosanders on a very misty Ibsley Water.

Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Chaffinch and Nuthatch were added to my year list and good numbers of Titmice came down to pick off the seeds that one nice young lady put out for the birds. Unfortunately, an old gentleman birder came over and simply would not stop talking about all the birds he has seen lately and his holiday to Uganda in three weeks time. We excused ourselves and walked further away and amazingly, bumped into him again later in the morning.

Redwing bathing in the woodland near the Info Centre.

A female Siskin feeding from the Woodland Hide.

Our next stop was to be Harbridge where there were good numbers of Geese reported and a pair of Cattle Egret recently. From the bridge overlooking the River Avon, we picked up a male Stonechat, a pair of Egyptian Geese and a pair of Gadwall, which were swimming on the river. I pointed out a pair of Canada Geese for Andy as well as the Rooks out in the fields, plus a Wren in the reeds below us. Driving up Church Lane, we pulled over in a lay-by to view the large number of Mute Swans, Grey Lag Geese and Egyptian Geese in a field. We even saw a pair of Egyptian Geese high up in a tree! A very odd sighting. On the opposite side of the road, good numbers of both Fieldfare and Redwing were searching for insects and worms on the short grass. But there was no sign of the Cattle Egrets.

Wigeon, Coot and Gadwall in front of the Ivy South Hide.

Cormorants in the trees nearby.

Arriving at Blashford Lakes, we kicked off with a look from the Tern Hide. Thankfully, the Hide was fairly quiet, except for the chap we met earlier at Eyeworth Pond who was boring the pants of a pair of young birders who desperately needed rescuing! Pochard climbed on board my year list but nothing else from here. Several more Goosander were seen in the gloom but nothing else of note. There was a Hampshire Wildlife Trust stall within the car park by the Info Centre today and a nice chatty lady looking after it too.

Andy looking out the Ivy South Hide.

Coot, Gadwall and a Tufted Duck from the Ivy South Hide.

From the Woodland Hide, we quickly notched up good numbers of Siskin among the many Chaffinches and Goldfinch feeding on the feeders. I wasn’t going to at first, but reluctantly, I went inside the Hide with Andy and was rewarded with a smart pair of male Bramblings and a male Reed Bunting feeding with the finches. Andy ticked off Jackdaw, which flew down below the feeders to scatter all the other birds. Goldcrests were seen within the woodland and Andy finally got to grips with good views of the Nuthatch which came down to the feeders.

Sulphur Tuft Toadstools growing in the woodland.

We spent a good 15 minutes within the Ivy North Hide, hoping for a Bittern or a Water Rail (the former showed very well to a load of birders earlier today), but no diamonds whatsoever for us and had to make do with a Wren and three Reed Buntings instead. No sign of any Great White Egrets from the Ivy South Hide, but all the usual wildfowl were present including several Great Crested and Little Grebes. A walk around the footpath produced our first Treecreepers of the year among a flock of Long-tailed Tits, plus a few more Goldcrests, but the highlight for me were the bathing Redwing by the footpath (see photo). The drizzle had started coming down as we neared the car and after grabbing a load of nosh and drink from the Petrol Station, we made our way back home with my year list now on 84 species.

Lesser Whitethroat wintering in Eastney.

Friday 6th January 2017.

Lesser Whitethroat in an Eastney garden. Photo by David Smith.

Just a quick update really on what has been seen this week. A few more birds have been added to my year list over the past few days which included a small flock of Grey Lag Geese by Chichester Gravel Pits this morning and a couple of Eurasian Teal within Langstone Harbour. Driving southbound down the Eastern Road, I clocked at least four Avocet feeding on the mudflats among the many Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank, which is always nice to see; even without binoculars and doing 40mph (I wasn’t driving by the way!).

Interesting news locally of Eastney birder, Dave Smith, having a wintering Lesser Whitethroat in his garden; which is using his bird feeder over the past week. Dave has kindly allowed me to use one of his photo’s of the bird for my blog. In Hampshire today, two Great White Egrets were roosting at Blashford Lakes, a place I hope to go with Andy Fisher tomorrow if all goes well. A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (now becoming very difficult to connect with in Hampshire) was discovered at Catherington Downs, one of my old birding areas. The long staying female Snow Bunting is still at Hill Head and showing down to a few feet still!

Also on my travels today, at least two Common Buzzards were seen from our vehicle in Chichester, but not an awful lot else as we were quite busy all day. It is very sad to see the litter on the sides of the A27 from Chichester to Portsmouth and on the other side of the road too. The Council looks as though they are not concerned whatsoever in cleaning it up, but surely its about time to impose very large fines for such reckless behaviour?

Ten more year-ticks added today.

Tuesday 3rd January 2017.

A frosty start at the Oaks.

Though I was back to work today (groan!), I kept an eye out for any potential year-ticks. The day kicked off with a very heavy frost all along the south coast and the grounds of the Oaks Crematorium was no exception. I notched up a total of 10 more bird year-ticks during my travels today, though nothing rare about the birds unfortunately.

Within the grounds of the Oaks, a pair of Common Buzzards were seen flying around from wood to wood. A flock of Redwings settled in trees nearby here and then more were seen feeding on the damp grass along with the odd Song Thrush. Both Coal Tit and Nuthatch were heard in the woodland but none came out to show themselves. The drive from the Oaks to Portchester Crematorium picked up both Common Gull and Jackdaw, perched on a fence near Micks Burger Vans and a Kestrel flew up from the ground to land on a roadside Pylon.

Portchester Crematorium held at least one Goldcrest and other sightings today included a flock of around 10 Avocets in Langstone Harbour, which were seen whilst driving south along the Eastern Road. Several Tufted Ducks were swimming on a partially frozen Baffins Pond when we were driving past, but we were going to fast to pick out anything else. It looks as though it is going to be cold week, which just might push some of those Waxwings from up north, down to us?

I finally found the Black-necked Grebes!

Monday 2nd January 2017.

A pair of Goldeneye on the Oysterbeds.

It is not often the weather forecast is right but today, they were spot on. A very cold start to the day but a clear blue sky overhead is always a joy to behold, especially if one wants to do a spot of photography and also wrapping up nice and warm, I chose Hayling Oysterbeds for my next destination of the year to really notch up some year ticks. Surprisingly, however, I only notched up just 35 more species by close of play (11.30am) despite a good walk around the Oysterbeds and a trip to Sandy Point, on Hayling Island.

Goldfinches by the main footpath leading to the reserve.

Brent Geese feeding in the harbour.

I even bumped into my mate John Goodall at the Oysterbeds, while we both searched high and low for the elusive Black-necked Grebes and Long-tailed Ducks to no avail. My first Little Egret of the year was seen along the Eastern Road as I was heading my way out of Portsmouth and a Magpie flew across the road too, to add to my year list. There wasn’t too many cars on the road, thankfully as I made my way out of Portsmouth at 8am, but on the way back, I knew Pompey were at home today and therefore the traffic back down the Eastern Road was awful.

Red-breasted Mergansers on the Beds.

The female Goldeneyes taking flight with a couple of Little Grebes in the background.

I passed a flock of Goldfinches and Greenfinches on my way to the Beds and upon the water here, I picked up a couple of pairs of Mergansers, up to five Goldeneye (including a superb drake) and at least 5 Little Grebes. From the viewpoint looking west over Langstone Harbour, the only birds of note seen were at least 20+ Great Crested Grebes and around 10+ Mergansers. Another couple of female Goldeneye were seen but no sign of the rarer Grebes or Long-tailed Ducks YET AGAIN!

Another photo of the Goldeneyes.

Little Grebe.

A nice variety of the usual waders were present, but a Greenshank was a nice surprise, seen searching for food in a small stream on the other side of the Oysterbeds. An adult Mediterranean Gull was a welcome bonus too as it drifted slowly past heading towards Hayling Bridge. Just the one Grey Heron was seen but that was enough to add to my year total. A walk along the Hayling Billy Trail northbound produced a few notable sightings. Several Redshank and a lone Black-tailed Godwit were seen on the pools here and a good scan over the harbour produced my first Wigeon of the year and ‘low and behold’, the elusive Black-necked Grebes. A group of 10 birds swam and dived together in a tight flock between the Oysterbeds and Budds Farm and showed superbly well through the scope.

Curlew feeding on the Beds.

Redshank seen from the Hayling Billy Trail.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was seen along the Hayling Billy Trail on the way back to the car and on reaching the car park, which was totally full of cars now, I slowly packed up and made my way down to Sandy Point. In short, I wished I had never bothered travelling down here. Though it was still sunny, it was uncomfortably windy and after a pair of birders I passed told me that all they saw here was a Guillemot, I didn’t hang around too long. It could have been worse for East Head, on the opposite side of the harbour entrance, was swarming with ramblers and dog walkers. Probably not a single bird was seen over there!

Little Egret enjoying the bright sunshine.

I couldn’t find anything on the sea within the harbour entrance, but I did see some Long-tailed Tits within the trees and brambles here. I even took a walk to overlook the reserve, but no sign of any Dartford Warblers or Stonechats to cheer me up. Grumble! A pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew over as I was putting my birding gear away in the car and although it was so tempting to go for the EIGHT Cattle Egrets at Warblington (a Hampshire record?), I knew I had to keep ‘her indoors’ happy and all that Pompey traffic to get through, so homeward bound it was.

A New Year stroll.

Sunday 1st January 2017.

Juvenile Herring Gulls on Canoe Lake.

With the combination of having our Grand-daughter Isabelle today and inclement weather approaching this afternoon, any thoughts of doing some serious birding today was dispelled, however, a nice walk with Becky and Isabelle down Southsea seafront was on the cards instead and thankfully, we got home before the rain arrived.

Adult Black-headed Gull on Canoe Lake.

Its another year and so my year list has started in earnest. Having had a serious lay in and getting up at 10am (which is normally unthinkable of me), Ii went downstairs and made a coffee. Spending a good ten minutes in the garden, my year list climbed to 9 species with Wood Pigeon being the first species of the new year (oh goody!), which was feeding on my seed tray. House Sparrow, Starling, Herring Gull, Blue Tit, Carrion Crow, Wren, Blackbird and Collared Dove quickly followed.

Mute Swan searching for food on Canoe Lake.

Later this morning, we took a lovely walk down to the seafront with Isabelle and Scruff where I notched up just three more species: Mute Swans and Black-headed Gulls on Canoe Lake and a singing Robin near the tea rooms. We had a lovely Hot Chocolate by the beach but new species to add to my meager year total. Hopefully, there should be a lot more to add tomorrow.

My first Robin of the year.

Another stroll around Eastney.

Saturday 31st December 2016.

A grey start to the day at Eastney.

Scruff got a nice walk around the harbour entrance at Eastney early this morning and thankfully, yestedays thick fog had disappeared overnight. However, there was thick overhead cloud and not all that great for photography, hence my photos not being the sharpest I have taken of late. It was fairly mild this morning as we just stuck to the area north of the car park. The water within the harbour was flat calm again although there were plenty of mudflats exposed for the waders to feed around Eastney.

Gulls and Mute Swans were keen to find out what fish were about by the harbour entrance.

This Shag swam close to the waters edge.

Within the harbour entrance, a juvenile Shag was fishing close to the shore as a passing fishing boat sailed out to the Solent, causing large ripples for the Shag to bounce on. A few sea-anglers were fishing just north of the Lifeboat Station which attracted a pair of Mute Swans and a host of Gulls hoping for a quick meal.

Brent Geese arriving from Hayling Island.

Starlings by the RNLI Station.

From the spit looking north near the Hayling Ferry, I picked out four Mergansers swimming on the water, two drakes and two females, which swam off west. Good numbers of Dunlin were feeding among the Brent Geese plus a few Oystercatchers, Turnstone and Redshank feeding along the shoreline. More skeins of Brent Geese flew overhead, no doubt heading towards rich grassy areas to graze along Southsea somewhere.

Brent Geese flying overhead.

Mergansers off the spit near the Hayling Ferry.

I was sure I that I saw a Seal poking out the water but it dived before I could get my binoculars on it. A very still morning but always a pleasure to be out here enjoying what comes naturally instead of stuck in front of a telly. As I write, it looks as though it is getting brighter in Southsea, so I might just venture out this afternoon if I have time. It looks as though Andy Johnson had a good haul of sightings from Hayling Island Sailing Club. One Black-throated Diver, one Guillemot, one Slavonian Grebe and 6 Sandwich Terns were present here this morning.

Oystercatcher feeding along the shoreline.

Large & small. Brent Geese with Dunlin by the harbour entrance.

I would like to thank all those who allowed me to add their superb photographs on my Blog and wish them a very Happy Bird-filled New Year in 2017. And to all those who read my Blog, I wish the same compliments to you too. In 2016, I only managed to see 173 species of bird in the UK this year, but no matter how many I see, they are all special and we have to be thankful that we have them in the UK. What with global warming, illegal persecution and pesticides taking its toll on our birdlife, I am more than happy with what I have seen this year. Just the one new species for me this year, the Caspian Stonechat on the 11th May to add to my UK life list, which now stands at 425 species.

Good birding everyone. Jeff.

Ring-necked Parakeets in London.

Friday 30th December 2016.

The male Blue Rock Thrush in Gloucestershire this week. Photo by Dave Hutton.

I only worked three days this week but still managed to see some interesting birds on my travels. Today, there was a real ‘pea-souper’ of a fog virtually all day and as I write (5.0pm) this for my blog, I can still hear the fog horns going off in the Solent! Suffice to say, I saw hardly any birds today, bar just one Mistle Thrush flying over Portchester Crematorium and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in Catherington churchyard!

Catherington Church in the fog.

Yesterday, I had to drive up to North London to carry out my job and the weather was a completely different story. Though a beautiful day, with a clear blue sky and wall to wall sunshine, it rarely made 5 degrees centigrade all day and there was a very heavy frost north of Butser Hill. There was a very ‘picture postcard’ scene as me and my work colleague headed up the A3 northbound towards London and quite a few Common Buzzards were seen perched beside the road.

Little Grebe at Titchfield Haven. Photo by Jim Walker.

As we neared London central, I started seeing quite a few Ring-necked Parakeets flying over. Still relatively rare in Hampshire (although one was found on a garden feeder in Southampton earlier this week), they are more or less guaranteed once you get near the M25. However, driving through Westminster etc. had me carefully driving through the busy roads, concentrating hard on what my Sat Nav was saying to, rather than checking out the local birdlife!

Black-tailed Godwit at Titchfield Haven. Photo by Jim Walker.

In Hampshire this week, the Cattle Egret numbers at Warblington have now increased from three to five birds! Very impressive and I am wondering if there are any more lurking about nearby among the Little Egrets? The long staying and very confiding Snow Bunting continues to entertain at Hill Head too.

Redshank at Titchfield Haven. Photo again by Jim Walker. Many thanks again Jim.

The duo of rare thrushes in the UK; notably the Dusky Thrush in Derbyshire and the female Black-throated Thrush in Wales has now been joined by a stunning male Blue Rock Thrush in Gloucestershire. Dave Hutton went to see this amazing thrush and has kindly allowed me to put one of his photos of the bird on my Blog. Many thanks Dave. In Kent, Dungeness has come up with the goods with a female Stejneger’s Stonechat (I have no idea how that is pronounced!), which has been present for a few days there. Finally, the Pacific Diver has reappeared at Penzance, Cornwall and the long staying Eastern Black Redstart is still present in Skinningrove, Cleveland. Not bad if you want to end the year with a bang!

The Stejneger’s Stonechat at Dungeness. Photo by Ian Bennell. Many thanks Ian.

 

A refreshing walk around the Oyster Beds.

Tuesday 27th December 2016.

A flat calm water awaited me on the Oysterbeds as well as the harbour.

Its back to work tomorrow, but at least it is a short working week. So, I made the most of today and went for a walk around Hayling Oysterbeds. A cold, fresh start to the day plus a high tide within Langstone Harbour really whetted the appetite and with a flat calm water, what more can one ask for. There wasn’t a breath of wind in the air but there were plenty of people out for a morning walk around the reserve.

Brent Geese in the harbour with the iconic Millennium tower and St. Mary’s Church in the background.

A flock of Goldfinches feeding on Teasel by the footpath.

Before my arrival, a flock of 13 Black-necked Grebes and a pair of Long-tailed Ducks had been seen just south of the Oysterbeds, but there were no sign of them when I started searching the harbour. I didn’t take my scope this time as I had Scruff with me, but I still got to see some nice birds in the sunshine. There wasn’t much on the beds with just one Little Grebe on the water and a distant pair of Mergansers on the far pool. A birder was further up by the waters edge, photographing birds with a long lens, but he kept his distance as I checked the harbour for anything of note.

This lone Little Grebe was swimming on the Beds.

Redshank and Turnstone heading south over the Beds.

Redshank, Grey Plover and Turnstone were resting on the shingle as well as at least three Ringed Plovers, but some of the birds had itchy feet and then flew off south over the harbour. A few Grey Herons rested on the Beds as well as a few Little Egrets and a Rock Pipit flew low overhead heading towards the harbour edge. Walking up to the Hayling Billy Trail, I checked out the bird life by the edge of the Beds and came across a Kingfisher perched on an angled bar jutting out of the ground. The bird was obviously waiting for a passing shoal of fish to swim through and remained there for sometime.

Brent Geese passing by on the Harbour.

Ringed Plovers roosting on the island.

Redshanks flying over the Beds.

A large flock of Dunlin were jostling for space on the embankment, with a few Grey Plover and Redshank intermingling with them; then all took off slowly to fly off east bound towards Emsworth Harbour. Always amazing watching flocks of waders passing by so close. Small numbers of Wigeon were swimming and preening close to the wader flocks along with several Teal and Mallard. Walking north along the Hayling Billy Line, I watched at least 6 Redshank feeding in the shallow pools to the east of the footpath. A Robin came over to investigate me then flew back to disappear into nearby brambles.

Lovely shot of this Black-headed Gull swimming on the Beds.

A drake Merganser on the Beds.

A very distant photo of the Kingfisher and an Oystercatcher at the Oysterbeds.

On the way back to the car, avoiding the puddles and cyclists, I kept an eye out for anything of note. A female Kestrel showed well perched high up in a tree, but little else of note I’m afraid. After picking up a spot of lunch from a nearby Garage, I thought I would pop over Warblington to view the now FOUR Cattle Egrets. I parked up within the small lay-by at Pook Lane and joined a couple of birders waiting patiently for the birds to show. One of the Cattle Egrets had been seen earlier as one of the birders from Waterlooville, showed me on his camera. We noticed that there were several Egrets in the field to the north but the hedgerow obscured our view.

Dunlin and Grey Plover getting restless.

One of the Redshank on the small pools by the Billy Trail.

While waiting, a Little Egret flew in from the fields briefly but soon returned to join the others where there were plenty of Cattle on the move. However, there were at least 20+ Redwing on show in the hedgerows, but some were much closer and provided a few photo opportunities. A Robin came down and landed no less than about 3 feet away from us and I was wishing I had some meal-worms for it.

Female Kestrel by the Hayling Billy Trail.

After a while, I decided to jump back in the car and made my way back but before leaving Church Road, I noticed the Egrets in the field and found a safe place to park. I left Scruff in the car and walked over to the side of the road and through some gaps in the bushes, I counted at least three Cattle Egrets in the same field along with one Little Egret. This is the largest number of Cattle Egrets I have encountered together in one go in the UK, but where was the fourth bird?

Redwing by the fields at Pook Lane.