Ryde sands – 8th January
Thirteen members met by Ryde Canoe Lake on a very windy morning for a look at the birds on Ryde Sands. The tide was still well in when we met which meant there was a very restricted variety of birds to be seen.
The Sanderling, which is rather a speciality of the site, were present with at least 50 counted. They are very amusing to watch as they run like clockwork toys at the very edge of the tideline. In amongst them were 3 Dunlin. It was very difficult to seawatch as the high winds were whipping up big waves and “seahorses”. One Ringed Plover was being chased by a Herring Gull, presumably for food.
We walked to the beginning of Appley Park but very few birds were about so we returned to our cars and went to Seaview for the Nature Reserve. Unfortunately, the bird hide was closed as it had been vandalised again. However, we found a spot to overlook some of the waterway and to our delight saw 3 Goosander. The free flying Barnacle Geese from Flamingo Park flew over calling loudly. In all 31 species were seen
Shepherds Trail – 13th February
Ten members met at Shepherd’s Chine for an inland walk that took us on a short way along the Shepherds Trail before returning along Atherfield Road. On the farmland we saw 3 Red-legged Partridge, 2 female Pheasant and approximately 100 Lapwing as well as a very large flock of Starling.
We noticed that in the Brassica crop growing in the field next to the reservoir a large number of Mallard heads popping up. When we disturbed them they flew on the reservoir and 125 were counted as well as a few Moorhen. A Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Merlin were also seen during the morning.
Once we turned back on to the Atherfield Road we noticed that the sky was a very dark blue-grey behind us. This quickly overtook us and we were subjected to icy strong winds and driving rain and sleet which did manage to stop by the time we got back to our cars. In all 21 species were seen.
Culver Down – 19th March
Thirteen members met on Culver Down shrouded in a sea fog. In the car park two Green Woodpeckers were flying and a Yellowhammer was sitting on top of a tree singing. It was hoped that the sun would burn off the fog during the course of the morning so we set off. In the main we heard the birds rather than saw them, the Raven was heard in the fog but not seen as was the Herring Gulls.
We saw three Wheatears along the cliff edge and, unusually, a male sitting on top of a tree. Skylark were heard singing, and several flocks of Meadow Pipits flew overhead. In one tree a total of seven Goldcrest were spotted, probably evidence of migration. A Chiffchaff was heard and a Whitethroat seen, as well as a Stonechat. In all 25 species was recorded, not bad considering the weather conditions.
Mottistone Down – 17th April
16 members met on Mottistone Down on a lovely spring morning for a walk on the downs, then down to the Long Stone and back along Strawberry Lane. Some spring migrants had arrived with Common Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Swallow all being seen or heard. A pair of Raven were displaying and tumbling between Grammar’s common and us.
We scoured all likely bushes for the Dartford Warbler and our patience was eventually rewarded with a lovely view of one hopping about in a gorse bush. Two Red-legged Partridge were seen ahead in amongst the longer grass of the downs but flew off when they spotted us. 35 species was recorded.
Mottistone Down – 10th June
Although a reconnoitre the previous evening resulted in several Nightjars being heard/seen, on the night of our bird walk on Mottistone Down no birds were evident.