Its Spring! But you wouldn't know it, a cold north easterly blew as Helen and I set off from the car park at Pennington and walked along the cycle track towards Keyhaven. The flooded area on the reclaimed tip had a pair of Gadwall, the male looking splendid.
As we neared the car park at Keyhaven large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits flew over our heads. I was watching them wheeling around over the reed bed, Helen pointed out a bird above them, it was obviously what was upsetting the Godwits, a Peregrine.
Even though the Peregrine headed off to Hurst Castle, the Godwits continued to fly around over the reeds
We walked around the sea wall, the tide was almost in, and there were still quite a few Brent Geese feeding in the shallow water.
With the tide rising the waders were looking to find dry land to roost. Several large flocks of Dunlin were flying around in tight flocks before settling on a small spit of dry land.
A pair of Pintail were swimming away from us as we passed the Fishtail Lagoon.
On Fishtail there were more Pintail, this male was preening on the bank.
The wind was quite strong, and we were walking into it, and it made it very uncomfortable, the eyes running as the wind bit. A tight flock of Dunlin flew past us, and looked quite good with Hurst Castle behind them.
On the beach, Turnstone and Dunlin were feeding in amongst the sea weed.
We walked around to Normandy, and then headed up towards Lymington for lunch. Along the lane there was an amazing bed of Violets.
We had a wander around Lymington after some lunch, and then decided to make our way back the same way we had come. As we turned off the lane and onto the footpath at Normandy, I noticed a larger white heron at the back of the marsh. A closer look revealed a Spoonbill feeding in the pools. For me seeing a Spoonbill active is always treat, as normally they are just asleep with the bill tucked under the wing. It was though very distant.
Spoonbills have been seen this winter in good numbers on the south, and there have been three here. For me it was nice to see one active
Then as we came onto the sea wall I was amazed to see two more feeding on Normandy Marsh.
As I said its just a lovely experience to watch them feeding. They would sweep the bill through water, with the bill open, going deep , almost up to the base of the bill. Every so often they had to come up to breathe
Then they seemed to stop feeding, while Pintail just drifted past.
Then it was time to preen, and that flat spoon bill comes in useful.
Close to us the Teal were taking in the sunshine.
We headed off making our way towards Pennington. A Redshank was very confiding on the sea wall, allowing me to get quite close before it would fly out over the water calling, as all Redshanks do.
A little further on and at eight acre pond there were two pairs of Little Grebes were diving. Always a challenge when they are like this as you can focus on them,
Then they are gone.
And that was about it, as we walked across the marshes Skylark were singing, and Meadow Pipits were displaying, but there were no migrants, the weather really not being conducive to bringing them in. The highlight though were the Spoonbills, for once not sleeoping.