Medina walk – 8th August
Nine members met at the picnic site on the west bank of the River Medina at Newport for a walk along the river-bank and back along the cycle track. It was a little early in the returning migration season so the birds seen were mainly the usual residents. However, a lovely view of a Whimbrel was seen which very obligingly showed us his head markings. A Common Sandpiper appeared on the far bank and then flew around. Twenty three Mute Swan were strung out on the river and 5 Little Egret were seen. As well as a large number of Black-headed Gull, quite a few Herring Gull, two Great Black Backed Gull were also in attendance. In all 30 species were seen.
Walk to Cliff End and Norton – 25th September
Eight members met at Fort Victoria Country Park for a walk to Cliff End and Norton. We were hoping to see some autumn passage movements and we did indeed see several flocks of Barn Swallow flying west, 10 House Martin, and several flocks of Herring Gull of a variety of sizes, 76, 166, 50, 5, 19 and 11 immatures in a flock of 20. When we were about to depart the foreshore a Common Sandpiper flew in. In the woodland a mixed flock of tits also produced at least 2 Goldcrest and a female Blackcap. On the farmland we came across curious straight lines of white blobs going up the hill and which we speculated could be mushrooms. However, on closer inspection the blobs turned out to be like soap suds and we came to the conclusion that the farmer must have sprayed the field with chemicals. In all 40 species were seen.
Walk on West High Down – 10th October
Ten members met at Highdown Chalkpit car park for a walk on West Highdown. During the night we had heavy rain but it had stopped by the time of our meeting, although we did have a strong easterly wind. Before the meeting our leader had misgivings about finding returning migrants as described in the programme, however, for once the birds had read the programme and we saw at least two flocks of Fieldfare of 20 and 40 and a few Redwing. We had a steady stream of at least 1000 House Martins flying east all morning, and a few Barn Swallows. At least 50 Herring Gull and 10 Black-headed Gull were flying down in the valley. Whilst watching 2 female and a male Stonechat we were very fortunate to have very good views of 2 Dartford Warbler, one of which very uncharacteristically sat on the fence near the stile. We also had 2 Ring Ousel, 2 Raven, 3 Wheatear, a Sparrowhawk, a Peregrine and a Kestrel. 30 species were seen.
Seaview and the Hersey Nature Reserve – 27th November
15 members met on calm, mild day at Seaview for a sea watch and a walk in the area.
The tide was high and the sea flat calm enabling us to have good views of the birds on the water. We saw a Slavonian Grebe, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Red Breasted Merganser, 2 Cormorant and a Shag as well as some 125 Brent Geese. Just as we were about to leave for the Hersey Nature Reserve 18 Oystercatcher flew in to their water roost in the company of 1 Turnstone. At the Reserve we had a good view of a male Wood Duck that could well have been an escapee from Flamingo Park which is near by. In amongst the Black-headed Gulls we saw 2 Mediterranean Gulls. A fox was spotted as well. Although there was 1 Little Egret on the Reserve whilst we were walking along the Toll Road we saw 5 in an adjoining field. The flock of free flying Barnacle Geese was seen on the fields near the Wishing Well and we estimated that there were at least 450 in the flock. Along the footpath that leads down to Salterns Holiday Cottages we had good views of a Red Squirrel and it was traced to its drey in the copse. In all 46 species were seen.
Barnfields Brook and Rofford Marsh – 19th December
After heavy rain overnight it continued to rain first thing. Six people turned up for the meeting and it had stopped raining by the time we started our walk. Although it was very windy and cold we managed to see 49 species during our stroll that took us from Yarmouth old railway station towards Thorley Brook and to Barnfields Brook. At Roffard Marsh we saw three Snipe, a large number of Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler and at least 12 Black-tailed Godwit. In the River Yar we had superb views of a male Goldeneye and a brief visit from a Kingfisher. Only four Brent Geese put in an appearance and no Reed Bunting