With a present drop needed in Verwood I planned in a few hours at Keyhaven as well. Disappointingly no Owls were seen en-route and arriving in Verwood at half-six in the morning I noticed one of the neighbours checking out the early morning visitor. It was only intended to be a brief stop so I was off after a cup of tea. Next stop was Bournemouth Airport where my Son is doing his flying training. He was hoping to fly at 08.00 but unfortunately due to the high winds it was re-scheduled for later in the day. I decided not to hang around as there was no guarantee that he would fly if the weather didn’t improve. So after a nice bacon and egg roll it was across to Keyhaven. Arriving at a little before ten I had a quick look at Sturt Pond. With it being high-tide there were only gulls and a few ducks here. The fields along to the harbour road were productive with a large flock of Lapwing and Golden Plover. Amongst them I picked out a few Ringed Plover. Then it was a drive along the flooded harbour road where a flock of Brent Geese seemed weren’t bothered by a car driving alongside them as they swam around.
Parking the car I had to wait for a violent squall to pass over before donning waterproofs and wellies. Pretty well the first bird seen was a smart male Marsh Harrier that was hunting the reedbed. As watched it dropped into the reeds and after a short while came up carrying prey. A great start. With a strong wind blowing I wasn’t expecting to see much on the landward side so concentrated on the harbour. A few Dunlin, Turnstone and Redshank were feeding along the shoreline along with the odd Mipit and Pied Wagtail. Out in the harbour on the few raised areas were large numbers of Dunlin and a few Curlew. Also plenty more Brent Geese and lot of Mallard and Wigeon. The first lagoon had a lot of water so apart from three Little Egrets there were just waterfowl to be seen. As the tide started to turn a couple of flocks of Curlew flew out to the harbour and more ducks were coming inland. The next lagoon had a few waders on it, mainly Dunlin and Lapwing with a couple of Grey Plover and Redshank. Apart from a few gulls the sea appeared to be devoid of birds, however I eventually found singles of Great crested Grebe and Goldeneye and other than a few flying Cormorants that was it. Along one of the ditches I found a Kingfisher and a couple of Reed Buntings. By now I was on the Pennington Marshes and it was more of the same. I wasn’t sure how far to go and decided to gas far as the corner overlooking Lymington Spit. It was a good decision as the lagoon here had a flock of six Spotted Redshank along with another two roosting. The main group were constantly feeding seemingly their heads under the water more than up as can be seen in this photo .The walk back wasn’t so pleasant as it was into the wind but there was plenty of bird interest as the water receded and the waders came much closer. Oystercatcher was the only species added but the numbers, especially of Dunlin were impressive. Arriving back at the car in a hail-storm the walk ended with forty-four species noted, not bad considering the small amount of small land birds seen.