Bird Group

Bird Meeting at Mottistone Down on 24th June 2022

Unlike last year’s meeting which took place under perfect summer evening conditions to view and hear Nightjars, this year was the opposite. The forecast was for light, patchy rain but by the time I arrived for the evening meeting at the car park in Strawberry Lane, the rain was torrential. Incredibly, 6 other members and a guest turned up although two decided the weather was too bad for Nightjars. The Met Office app forecasted the rain to clear by 9pm so the remaining six optimists stayed put. Incredibly, the rain did cease as forecast and a Buzzard then flew overhead. Although it was a strong wind, which was not conducive for Nightjar watching, we decided to walk up to the main viewing site. Against the odds, within ten minutes of arriving at the watchpoint, a Nightjar flew up from the common and over us to the heathland. We then had two other sightings of birds flying across the heathland during the next five minutes. Three birds in such unlikely conditions was an excellent outcome and it was a happy group who made their way back to the car park. A Barn Owl flying across the road as I left Calbourne was an additional bonus and a lovely end to the evening. Jim Baldwin

Bird Meeting at Shide on 5th June 2022

Eleven members met under leaden skies and a fresh breeze for a walk along the cycle path from Shide to Blackwater led by Toni Goodley. Thankfully, the weather stayed dry and we were rewarded with sunny periods during the morning. The highlight of the walk was the excellent close views of a Goldcrest, our smallest breeding bird in the UK. Considering the conditions, we did well to record 28 species during the morning. Other birds seen or heard were; Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Wren, Feral Pigeon, Blue Tit, Song Thrush, Blackcap, Magpie, Black-headed Gull, Chiffchaff, Robin, Moorhen, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Collared Dove, Stock Dove, Buzzard, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Green Woodpecker, Canada Goose and Grey Heron.

We also had the bonus of seeing a Beautiful Demoiselle damselfly along the Medina plus Speckled Wood and Small White butterflies and a pair of mating Harlequin ladybirds.  Jim Baldwin 

Bird Meeting at Laundry Lane and Brading Marsh on 8th May 2022

10 members meet on a beautiful sunny and warm morning for a walk along Laundry Lane and track towards Brading returning to our cars via Bexley Point and the pools southwest of Carpenters Farm. A very leisurely pace was set as the bird life was good throughout the morning. Our first stop was by the gate overlooking the main Brading Marsh with the first bird spotted – the White-tailed Eagle perched in his favourite tree. He was later joined by another. The trees lining the Eastern Yar were occupied by many Cormorants although not as many nests were seen this year possibly because some of the old trees have blown down. A Wheatear was in the field for a time before disappearing. A Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds; later we were to see another one perched on a tree, this one with a cream-coloured head. We could hear the explosive call of Cetti’s warblers, a number of Whitethroats, Chiffchaffs and a few Blackcap. The air was filled with the song on Skylark. Grey Herons were seen flying from one reed bed to another. Walking further on we could hear Reed Warblers singing and then had very good sightings of them singing at the top of the reeds. We also saw three Reed Bunting, their distinctive call was first heard but then spotted at the top of the reeds. A Little Egret spent some time in the triangular field but we were unable to see the Little Ringed Plover although we did see a Lapwing which flew near us to distract us from his nest site or youngsters. Throughout Brading Marsh there were Canada geese with goslings, Mallard with ducklings, Tufted Duck, Coots, a couple of Moorhen, a pair of Shoveler, pair of Teal, pair of Gadwall, two Shelduck on the pools SW of Carpenters Farm as well as Mute Swan on a nest with her mate swimming on the pond, and to the right of the bridge Sedge Warblers could be heard singing and one was spotted. Three Swallow were catching flies on the surface of the pool. We should also mention that there were four Pied Wagtail, 4 Linnet, at least 4 Wren, 5 Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Starling, 4 Swift, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jackdaw, Crow and Rook, Kestrel and 3 Buzzard. In all 47 species were noted during the morning. Jackie Hart

Bird meeting at Fort Victoria Country Park on 24th April 2022

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

Bird meeting at Culver Down on 19th March 2022

Ten members met at the NT car park on a sunny but breezy morning for a walk around Culver Down led by Jackie Hart. Unfortunately, the stiff NE wind meant there was a lack of early spring migrant species present (Wheatears had been seen earlier in the week). However, it was lovely to see so many Skylarks during the morning with a minimum of 26 recorded. A number of males were bravely singing up in the sky, proclaiming their territory, despite the windy conditions. The other highlight for many was walking to Bembridge Fort to look for the Short-eared Owls which have been present during the winter. One was still present but took a while to be found as it was hunkered down in the scrub out of the wind, so it was well camouflaged.

In total, 15 species were seen on the down along with a White-tailed Eagle which was spotted in a tree down on Brading Marshes RSPB reserve. The other species seen, and not mentioned above, were; Herring Gull 9, Jackdaw 4, Kestrel 2, Dunnock 4, Meadow Pipit 4, Chiffchaff 1 heard in the car park whilst waiting for everyone to arrive, Magpie 2, Carrion Crow 5, Stonechat 2, Buzzard 2, Raven 1, Wren 1 and Woodpigeon 1. Jim Baldwin

Bird meeting at Newtown 26th February 2022

Bird meeting at Newtown on 26th February 2022

16 members met at the NT car park for a walk that took us to the field overlooking Causeway Lake, then to the flower meadow, Salt Pans, Boathouse, boardwalk and on to the bird hide and back to the car park.

During the morning the following birds were noted. Blue Tit, Jackdaw, Greenfinch, 2 Dunnock, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Black-headed Gull, Carrion Crow, 2 Buzzard, Kestrel, 1 Peregrine on nest, 95 Golden Plover, 40 Curlew, 30 Lapwing, at least 100 Brent Goose, 13, Pintail, Canada Goose, Oystercatcher, 2 Teal, 10 Mediterranean Gull, Robin, a Collared Dove was heard, 2 Mute Swan, at least 100 Shelduck, 1 Grey Plover, 4 Redshank, 4 Little Egret, 3 Red Breasted Merganser, 9 Great Black Backed Gull 1 Great Tit and 6 Starling. 31 species were noted. Toni Goodley


Latest issue of ‘Recording Now’ available

Catch up with all the latest species recording news from the Isle of Wight in the new edition of ‘Recording Now’ here.

Bird meeting at Binfield, River Medina January 16th 2022

14 members met at the car park opposite the Breeze for a walk on the righthand bank of the R Medina to The Folly and return. Having had rain overnight the going underfoot was very wet and muddy and the tide was high. However during the course of the morning we had a respectable haul of 41 bird species. A Greenfinch was heard from the car park and a family of 2 adults and 5 juvenile Mute Swan swam from Island Harbour out into the river. A number of Coot were seen on the other side of the river as were a number of Cormorant and 3 Canada Geese. A small flock of Brent Geese was seen, some close in. As the river was flat calm, we were able to see 7 Little Grebe together and another 7 were spotted dotted around. The gulls represented were Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Common Gull and three Mediterranean Gull. A group of some 46 Turnstone were at roost on a pontoon near The Folly and on the lawn at Pinkmead 14 Black Tailed Godwit were feeding with some Oystercatcher. A yacht and Blade Runner 2 came past and disturbed a flock of some 40 – 50 Lapwing. Along the shoreline were at least 5 Meadow Pipits and Skylark were to be seen by the fence line. Towards the end of the walk a pair of Stonechat put in an appearance. A couple of Song Thrush could be heard singing from the trees and a Mistle Thrush was also heard. Other passerines seen or heard were Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird and House Sparrow. We also heard Green Woodpecker and Great Spotted Woodpecker and Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon and Magpie too. There were a number of Dunnock which we all got a good view of and heard its lovely song. The only bird of prey was a Buzzard and the last bird seen back in the car park was a Pied Wagtail. In the woodland by the static homes we saw 2 Red Squirrels. Jackie Hart

Bird meeting 11th December 2021 at Seaview

Just 4 members met at Bluett Avenue for a sea watch, visit to Hersey Reserve and walk along the Old Toll Road, up Oakhill Road, Nettlestone Hill and down Pond Lane back to our cars. 2 more members joined us at Hersey Reserve. The tide was low and the sea flat calm so that we had excellent views of any birds sitting on the sea. We counted 7 Great Crested Grebe and a couple of Cormorant, a Mediterranean Gull, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 Common Gull, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gulls and 2 Great Black Backed Gulls. On some bouys we saw 2 Sandwich Terns and another one flying, 13 Brent Geese. On the beach were 2 Crows 3 Rooks and about 12 Jackdaws. On one of the outflow pipes were 6 Turnstones. In Hersey Reserve we saw 4 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, the usual 1 Greenshank and 2 male and 1 female Shoveler, 27 Tufted Duck, a Water Rail, 3 Moorhen, 9 Coot, 1 Teal, 9 Mallard, 2 Mute Swan and 4 Little Grebe. When we sat in the hide we spotted 7 Snipe mainly hiding in the reeds. When I did a reconnoiter the day before there were 42 Tufted Duck, the largest count I have recorded there. Jim and Jane mentioned that there are usually about 30 Tufted Duck on Ryde Canoe Lake and the Reserve birds may have been disturbed from there. There was only 1 Greenfinch, and a handful of other birds during the morning: Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Magpie, Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Blue Tit. The free flying Barnacle Geese were tracked down to the grass areas at Saltern Holiday Cottages but not all the flock was visible. 94 was counted together with the Swan Necked Goose and Snow Goose. 40 species in all were recorded. Jackie Hart



Bird meeting at Yarmouth 28th November 2021

16 members and 2 guests meet on a very cold but sunny morning at the start of the cycle track in Thorley Road for a walk to Barnfield and return. Our only Fieldfare of the morning was seen at the start of the meeting and it was noted that we could not see or hear the Rook which normally frequent the fir trees across the road. They did put in an appearance at the end of the walk.  Although there was not as much water on the meadow at Rofford Marsh we did manage to see 3 Snipe as well as some Teal and a couple of Shoveler. A Kingfisher was also seen. Here we saw 16 Moorhen, more than we normally see. Moving on we saw about 20 Mallard in the river opposite ‘Off the Rails’ café which are fed by children. 10 House Sparrows and a Dunnock was noted as well as a female Bullfinch in the hedgerow along the track. On the estuary we saw Redshank, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit, about 100 Black Headed Gull, 2 Great Black Backed Gull, 4 Herring Gull and 10 Common Gull and 10 Shelduck and many Wigeon and Brent Goose. On the mud and on a field opposite we saw at least 50 Golden Plover, some were near enough to see their lovely golden plumage in the telescope and later 2 Grey Plover was also spotted so that the differences in the plumage could be seen. There were approximately 200 Lapwing both with the Golden Plover in the opposite field and on the exposed mud of the estuary. A total of 5 Little Grebe were seen: 2 near the café and 3 on the estuary. Two Grey Heron and 3 Little Egret were also noted as was a Marsh Harrier. On the Barnfield scrape the Spotted Redshank that has overwintered here for some years was picked out to everyone’s delight. In all 46 species were noted. Jackie Hart