Beaten by the rain (soaked again)

Seven o’clock and Pete Adams and I headed off to Keyhaven for a dose of south coast birding. First stop was Sturt Pond which held three species of Gull, Black-headed, Herring and a single Greater-black backed, Lapwing, Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Turnstone, and some wildfowl. Next was the shore road where Bar-tailed Godwits were seen. After parking by the coast path Kingfisher and Greenshank were seen. Scanning the scrub on the landward side, Stonechat and Whitethroat were found but no sign of the hoped for Dartford Warbler. As we headed east plenty more birds were found including a Peregrine on a post at the edge of the marsh. Things were going well with Sandwich Tern found and a flock of Knot. High tide was approaching and large numbers of waders were flying in off of the marshes and onto the pools, unfortunately at the same time the rain arrived. I had cleverly left my waterproof trousers in the car so was pretty wet. However we soldiered on with sightings of Ringed Plover, Snipe, Large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover. Eventually though we had to admit defeat as we couldn’t stop our optics from continually misting up. So it was back to the car and unsurprisingly when we got there the rain stopped. We decided to head back to the beach road for a bit of sea-watching, but apart from a few gulls and a single cormorant it was very quiet. With the rain returning we started off for home a lot earlier than expected. A quick stop at the River Test near Romsey added a dozen or so Little Grebe and a single Great Crested Grebe to the day list. Back in a dry Wiltshire we decided on a mini-tour of Salisbury Plain. As expected it was quiet on the bird front and the best sighting was of an Apache helicopter taking part in a large Army exercise. Despite the early finish a good day but with only one bird added to the year-list (Knot) when I had been hoping for maybe half-a-dozen. Adding insult to injury on arriving home and checking Bird-guides we saw the a Pectoral Sandpiper had been seen later on in the afternoon!

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