Bird walk to Shalfleet Quay 29th February 2020

Four intrepid members met at Shalfleet for a walk down Mill Road to the quay, led by Jim Baldwin. Luckily the weather forecast of 50+ mph winds and rain did not materialise but obviously deterred a lot of people. We started in cloudy conditions and a moderate breeze but enjoyed some sunny periods during the morning and only a couple of short showers. The wind began to increase towards the end of the walk. The conditions were not ideal for seeing the passerines but we still managed to record 32 species during the morning. The Rooks were busily building their nests as we set off and a Green Woodpecker was heard briefly in the vicinity of the woods. The highlight of the morning was the pre-breeding flock of 300+ Mediterranean Gulls at Shalfleet Quay. They congregate in the Newtown area before dispersing to their breeding sites along the south coast and in Europe. It is hoped some will stay and breed at Newtown as in recent years. Some of the wintering waterbirds are beginning to leave but there was still good numbers of Brent Geese, Wigeon and Teal in the creek and quay along with a female Pintail and a female Red-breasted Merganser. Four Little Grebe was seen in the creek while waders were represented by Oystercatcher, Curlew and Redshank. A single Buzzard was the only raptor recorded during the  morning. Jim Baldwin

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