Sixteen members met at the Fort Victoria car park on a sunny but chilly spring morning, due to the brisk north-easterly wind, for a seawatch and walk, led by Jim Baldwin.
A brief seawatch for spring passage migration through the Solent was rewarded with 3 Whimbrel flying east on their journey from Africa to Iceland, and good views of 4 Common Sandpipers by the sea wall signalling their arrival from Africa before continuing their journey and two Common Tern flew east. Other birds seen during the seawatch were Gannet, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, two Gadwall and a Curlew, all in flight heading into the Solent. Two Oystercatchers were seen on the beach while 3 Shelduck flew across the entrance to Hurst Narrows.
The circular walk started through the woodland in the Country Park and returned through the fields, via the footpath off Monks Lane, to Norton and back along Westhill Road to the car park. The combination of shelter from the wind in the woodland and rising temperatures during the morning made it a pleasant walk. Chiffchaff and Blackcap were singing in the woodland while there were good views of several Whitethroat in the scrub at Monks Lane, recent arrivals from Africa proclaiming their territory with their scratchy call before diving down into the vegetation. A light passage of Swallows, in excess of 100, were noted during the morning arriving in off the sea and flying north over the fields.
Other birds recorded during the morning were Buzzard, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnet. In total, 36 species were seen along with good views of Red Squirrel and five species of butterfly; Brimstone, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Comma and Speckled Wood. Jim Baldwin