Trip reports

Keyhaven October 2017

Keyhaven October 2017
Chris Robinson

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Early rain and drizzle was insufficient to put off 18 people from gathering at Keyhaven for the first field trip of the 2017/18 season. With a strong westerly wind blowing, small birds were keeping their heads down as we set off along the sea-wall with the wind at our backs. A flock or 12-15 curlew were foraging on the salt marshes accompanied by a few smaller waders. Meadow pipits and linnets were moving between the salt marshes and the meadows.

Keyhaven Lagoon held several groups of duck. A number of teal were dabbling along the westerly edge, some of the males had almost completed their moult into breeding plumage. Towards the north of the lagoon were a group of eclipse plumage wigeon, while a group of eclipse plumage pintails occupies the centre of lagoon. A few mallard were also around the edges. A further group of pintail flew in including lead by a couple of mails in breeding plumage. A single Brent goose flew off. On the sea-side of the path a mixed flock of waders was moving around including redshank, dunlin, curlew and grey and ringed plovers. A single female red-breasted merganser was fishing in the ditch between the mud banks. As we were moving off a spotted redshank flew into the lagoon.

At Fishtail, we found a large number of redshank, a few wigeon, lapwing, coot, grey heron and little egret. A small group of adult Brent geese flew in. The earlier arriving groups of Brent in autumn tend to comprise just adults, with the family groups appearing later. Three little grebe were shadowing the movements of a mallard, apparently using it to aid their hunting efforts. A number of waders were huddled on a mud bar he was quickly being inundated by the rising tide. These included some summer plumage grey plovers, although most had moulted into winter plumage. A single linnet moved from a small bush to forage on the path just a few feet below our position.

Out at sea was a single duck, which took a while to confidently identify. It was clearly a scoter, but appeared to have a white mark on its face, suggesting velvet scoter. But when it finally flapped its all-dark wings, common scoter was confirmed. A number of shoveler were present on Butts Lagoon together with a roost of black-tailed godwits. Cetti's warbler were calling from the reeds A flock of turnstone were foraging amongst the seaweed along the shoreline.

As we walked inland from the jetty, small flocks of goldfinch and meadow pipits were seen At the new pond, there were large numbers of tufted duck, mostly hauled out on the far shore. Great-crested grebe were present and the gull roost on the bank held black-headed, herring, greater and lesser black-backed gulls. A male kestrel was hunting to the south of the path.

The final walk back towards the car park added blue tit and long-tailed tit and buzzard to the day's list, while the Balancing Pond held gadwall and moorhen. Just over 50 species were identified and it was good to see our winter visitors returning.

Sprecies list:
Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Brent Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Common Scoter, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Buzzard, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Swallow, House Martin, Cetti's Warbler (H), Long-tailed Tit (H), Starling, Robin, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet