Monday, 17 November 2014

Calshot Spit and Lepe Country Park - 14th November 2014

Trevor Codlin and I headed out for a mornings birding at Calshot Spit and Lepe Country Park (Trev's pictures and account can be seen here). The day started very wet and we were tempted to sleep off the hangovers but we headed out as the rain eased leaving our wifes at home to catch up on gossip. We started at Calshot Spit where a very confiding Snow Bunting had been present until Wednesday 12th at least, we were convinced it would still be present but despite checking all the weedy patches there was no sign of it. Still, in the now pleasantly warm conditions we enjoyed good views of waders in the bay to the north of the spit with around 250 Dunlin, 75 Oystercatcher and many Redshank - most of which seemed to be dozing on the low tide when I would have thought they should have been feeding. Also present were approximately 50 Turnstone and small numbers of Grey Plover, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Curlew. A Little Egret chased small fish or possibly shrimp through the shallows while another five or six birds were present nearby. Offshore there were 18 Great Crested Grebe and a fine Grey Seal which surfaced several times close to shore as it moved rather rapidly east.

Dunlin -  One or two bird still showed traces of juvenile or summer plumage but this bird appears 
to be fully moulted

Little Egret - Erratically foraging in the shallows

Redshank - Dozing on the low tide

A small flock of Black-headed Gull had gathered in the bay to the north of the spit. At least three of the 28 birds had been ringed and Trev and I spent a bit of time trying to read the ring numbers but beyond one bird with a partial number of E474 we could not get any combinations. The flock was joined by a fine adult Mediterranean Gull and we settled to watch it preen for a while. Breakfast was calling so we headed to the cafe at Lepe Country Park.

Mediterranean Gull - Adult winter

Black-headed Gull - In a nice wing stretching pose

After our full English we birded the small copse to the west of the main car park and spent a little time in the hide. A Firecrest was seen all to briefly while a pair of Bullfinch showed well, the male heard in song and seen bathing in a pool on the woodland floor. Otherwise it was remarkably quiet, a handful of Redwing and a fleeting glimpse of a Cetti's Warbler. It was time to go home.