Trip reports

Oxey Marsh

Oxey Marsh
Tony Bates

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

On a chilly morning, sixteen people, including five first-timers, turned out for a walk around Oxey Marsh. While waiting for the last birders to arrive, a small flock of long-tailed tits was seen and a song thrush was singing persistently from a near-by tree. We started along the lane behind the Salterns Sailing Club where we saw and heard great and blue tit, and chaffinch was seen. A pair of nuthatches was located high on a tree and soon after a tree-creeper was spotted. A goldcrest was moving through bushes alongside the boating lake. On the boating lake, there were good numbers of tufted duck, mallard and little grebe.

Several teal were in the old saltings as we walked along the footpath towards the sea wall and a little egret was in the lagoon. After Moses Dock, a pair of wigeon were close to the shore on the inlet and an oystercatcher stood on the edge of the path ahead. The next lagoon held several wigeon, teal and a few shoveler. A single huddled wader was identified as a spotted redshank. A pair of avocets was seen flying from the direction of Normandy Marsh and dropped into to Oxey lagoon where they later gave us good views. Also on Oxey lagoon was a single spoonbill that spent several minutes feeding sweeping its bill through the shallows. After a while, it took to the wing and flew in a wide circle around us to drop back down close to the "new house". Black tips to the wing feather was indicative of a juvenile bird.

A couple a great crested grebe was on the sea, but no other grebes or duck were seen there. On the marsh behind the lagoon were large numbers of lapwing with a few common redshanks amongst them. Turnstones were actively feeding in the beach area. As it was very cold and exposed along the sea wall, most of the group chose to cut the walk short and take a short-cut back to the warmth of their cars. A few hardy, or is that foolhardy, souls continued towards Butts Lagoon.

Small birds moving between the bushes were dunnocks and a male blackbird worked its way along the bank of the lagoon in time with our group. Before leaving the sea-wall at the jetty, we had added pintail to the day's list. Large numbers of black-tailed godwits were huddled on islands in the flooded meadows, together with lapwing and redshank. A flock of golden plover was on the wing and dropped down on the far side of the meadows.

Very few birds were on the "new lake", just a few coots, with large numbers of coot on the far bank. There were a few back-headed gulls, but not the large number of gulls usually seen there. We stopped at the gate on Lower Normandy Lane to look over the floods, where there were good numbers of wigeon, teal, shoveler, pintail and mallard. Brent geese were feeding in the meadow and a moorhen was seen close to the fence.

Redshanks and black-tailed godwits were in the fields alongside the lane and a coal tit perched in ivy in the hedge on the left of the road. As we returned to the cars, we reflected on the birds we hadn't seen, but would have expected, such as herring gull and curlew.

Species list:
mute swan, Canada goose, Brent goose, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail, shoveler, tufted duck, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, little grebe, moorhen, coot, oystercatcher, avocet,
golden plover, lapwing, dunlin, black-tailed godwit, spotted redshank, redshank, turnstone, black-headed gull, great black-backed gull, feral pigeon, wood pigeon, collared dove, magpie, carrion crow,
goldcrest, blue tit, great tit, coal tit, long-tailed tit, nuthatch, treecreeper, starling, song thrush, robin, chaffinch, goldfinch.