I met with our guests, Nick and Karen, at the Bath Road slipway on a lovely crisp sunny morning in much calmer conditions than forecast. We were soon heading out along the seawall taking in the lovely views across to the Isle of Wight.
Our first stop was to take a look at the 50+ Turnstones that were sitting out the high tide on the breakwaters adjacent to the seawall, each taking advantage of the pillars to take shelter from the cold breeze. Not content with quietly sitting out the high tide period, they were constantly squabbling with one another over the best positions.
Common Redshank, Moses Dock
A little further around the seawall, a short grating call drew our attention to an adult male Dartford Warbler in a dog-rose - as is often the case it didn’t hang around for long before busily flying across to a patch of gorse showing its typical, rather ungainly flight. While looking through a small flock of Lapwing we picked up a couple of Wheatear feeding on Normandy Marsh, including a smart adult male.
Normandy Lagoon itself was rather quiet, largely due to the northerly breeze and the increased water levels, but we were delighted to see our old friend, colour-ringed Little Egret ‘NJ’ (the oldest recorded Little Egret) in pretty much exactly the same position as last week.
A little further around, by Eight Acre Pond, we spent a short while scrutinising the waders, a nice mix of Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing and Curlew, allowing us to pick out some of the key ID features. A pair of Raven then flew over, shortly followed by an adult male Peregrine that gave great views as it circled over the waders we were just watching. No photos unfortunately - we were so involved in enjoying the Peregrine that I realised too late that I had let a great opportunity for a photo pass me by!
Little Egret 'NJ', Normandy Lagoon
As we walked along Salterns Marsh, a familiar call signalled an incoming Spotted Redshank that conveniently went on to feed next to a Common Redshank, giving us the opportunity to compare the two closely related species.
Spotted Redshank, Moses Dock
At this point, Nick picked out a Kingfisher that was briefly perched along Moses Dock, a species that had eluded us to this point despite a couple of other walkers telling us that they had seen Kingfisher!
The walk around Oxey Marsh gave us the opportunity to get good views of Black-tailed Godwit and some flighty Dunlin and Grey Plover, before we were buzzed by a small flock of migrating Siskin. The return walk took us back past the historic salt working barns and along Normandy Lane back to Bath Road, passing a Woodpigeon quietly sitting on a nest.
Another lovely walk, and many thanks to Nick and Karen for being great company.