A Coastal Dog Walk

Today my Wife and I went down to the coast for the day taking the dog with us. We had chosen Keyhaven as it gives a fair compromise between walking and birdwatching. After a pleasant drive down we parked by the harbour. The water was up to the wall as it was close to high tide.IMG_1352 (1024x667) First bird seen was a Black-necked Grebe, the next a Red-breasted Merganser.

A good start. There were good numbers of Brent geese flying around and several Turnstones were feeding alongside the path, unconcerned by either people or dogs. As I am still not up to carrying the scope any distance it was to be a binocular only walk so I was expecting distant waders to be a frustration. As it was due to the amount of water the inland scrapes were more like lagoons.

The only waders around were Lapwing. I could see a large wader roost far out towards Hurst Castle but it was to far out to be able to identify anything. There were large numbers of Wigeon and Teal on the wet grassy areas but due to the strong wing not many small birds were around. A few Pipits and Reed Buntings along with a solitary Stonechat. As we were walking the sky darkened and it looked as if we were in for a soaking. We got lucky though as all we got was a short sharp hail shower before the sun came out again. When we reached the actual sea we sat and enjoyed the view of the Isle of Wight and the boats out in the Solent. Birdwise there were only gulls and a few Merganser on the sea.IMG_1384 (1024x679) Reaching the west end of Pennington Lagoon I was pleased to find that the Spoonbill from yesterday was still around. We watched it for a while as it preened and then wandered into the water and started to find.

Definitely the bird of the day. We then turned back for the car and the return walk gave much of the same. The only additional sightings being a Goldeneye and some Redshank.Back at the car a scan of the reeds on the lake across the road turned up a dozen or so Snipe. We then made our way to the shore where we walked west to Milford-on-Sea. With a heavy rain shower approaching we sat in one of the new shelters and watched as first the Needles and then most of the Isle of Wight disappeared in the cloud. After a few impressive bursts of Lightning it cleared away and we moved on to the cafe for Tea and Cakes. Then it was back to the car finding that the tide had receded enough for some waders to have flown in. Dunlin, Grey Plover and Curlew were added to the list and a flock of at least three hundred Brent Geese flew in. With forty-five species seen, around six miles walked and a fairly tired dog it had been a most enjoyable day out.

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