Banks of the River Medina – 14th January
Fifteeen members met at the picnic site on the west bank of the River Medina on an overcast morning. We walked down to the river and along the bank to Hurst Lake, and then on passed the Medina Valley Centre to Dodnor pond. We continued on along the cycle track but had to call a halt before we reached Werrar as the rain set in. In all we saw 28 species including Coot, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Brent Geese, Little Egret and Mute Swan. We also saw Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull and Common Gull, mostly swimming on the water.
This meeting was cancelled because of bad weather conditions.
Shalfleet – 25th March
Thirteen members met at Shalfleet car park on a cold and overcast morning. We walked along the footpath to Shalfleet Quay returning by the same route but diverted off for a short visit to Shalfleet Mill and stream. Included in the count of 45 species were 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canada Geese, 45 Brent Geese, 4 Shelduck, 21 Wigeon, 14 Teal and 10 Mallard. A female Sparrowhawk was perched on a wall in a garden and was seen at close range. Included in the waders were 4 Oystercatcher, a Grey Plover, a small flock of Dunlin, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, a Curlew, 3 Redshank, 3 Turnstone and a Common Snipe. A summer migrant, a Swallow, was seen.
Culver Down – 23rd April
Just six members turned up for the meeting on Culver Down. The aim of the walk was to see some migrants and this was achieved with some Swallows, several small flocks of Sand Martin which included the odd House Martin, several flocks of Goldfinch, at least three Wheatear including one male, a Blackcap and a Whitethroat. We also saw several pairs of Yellowhammer. Altogether we saw 28 species.
Parkhurst Forest – 6th May
Twelve people met at Parkhurst Forest main car park on an overcast morning for a walk in the Kitbridge, Gunville area. Fortunately we saw quite a few species in the car park at the start of the meeting including a Red Squirrel. The meeting had to be curtailed after about an hour when heavy rain set in. In all 29 species were seen including Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Swallow, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Chiff Chaff, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Yellowhammer, House Sparrow, Buzzard and Jay.
Parkhurst Forest – 9th June
Our annual evening meeting was held at Parkhurst Forest, on the same day that the Pop Festival started. The noise was tremendous, however we did manage to hear Long-eared Owl and eventually heard and saw Nightjar.
Littleton Down – July 2nd
Littleton Down and the surrounding areas were shrouded in thick mist and as the coast nearby suffered the same fate the meeting was called off.
High Down – 28th August
Eleven members met on a glorious morning for a walk from High Down Chalk pit car park to High Down and along towards the Needles. We did not get very far as we had some superb views of Dartford Warblers in and around a dead low tree in amongst the gorse. In the same area also we had some excellent views of Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Whinchat, Stonechat and Goldfinch. Two Peregrines put in an appearance and during the morning we also saw 2 Raven, at least 7 Wheatear and a Fulmar. A Green woodpecker and two Great Spotted Woodpecker were also seen. On the way back David Biggs mentioned that he and Bill Shepard had been on the look out for some time for a small Daldinea fungus that only appears on dead, burnt Gorse and low and behold right where he was standing we spotted some!
Brading Down – 24th September
Eleven members met on another lovely morning on the eastern end of Brading Down for a walk in various habitats, downland, woodland, and farmland. For much of the morning we seem to be accompanied by a Buzzard, with four in all being spotted. We also saw a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel. Large flocks of migrant birds were feeding on the farmland with Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails being the main species. We also saw Swallows, Chiffchaff, Wheatear, Whinchat. It was nice to see five Mistle Thrush and, amongst some awful looking slurry a Grey Wagtail. 31 species in all were seen.
Gatcombe – 23rd October
Fourteen members met by the church at Gatcombe for a walk along the quiet road and surrounding footpaths that took us by farmland. 27 species in all were seen with three Yellowhammers noted. Only one Buzzard flew by early on in the walk and, as Long Copse was the original site of nesting Buzzards, rather surprising. Many Pheasant were seen in one downland field having escaped the shoot the previous day. We returned to our cars by the footpath that runs alongside the church where we saw a large number of cars parked – we had chosen to meet on the Sunday that Harvest Festive was celebrated!
Seaview – 20th November
Eighteen members met in Seaview for a short sea watch, followed by a visit to the Hersey Reserve and a walk along the lanes as far as Farm Shute and return along the footpath that runs along side Salterns holiday cottages. It was a pleasant morning but unfortunately the tide was not far enough in to allow us very good views of the birds sitting on the sea. We did, however, see a number of Great Crested Grebe, a Slavonian Grebe, Cormorants, Red Breasted Mergansers and a large number of Brent Geese feeding on the waters edge. A yellow-legged Herring Gull was spotted near us, as was a Mediterranean Gull. The visit to the bird hide was rather disappointing in that the benches had been removed following some vandalism the previous week. As a consequence the viewing through the windows was rather uncomfortable. However, a Common Snipe was spotted running along the mud bank before nipping into the vegetation where they seem to spend their time. Three Little Grebe were feeding on the water and Teal were resting on the mud banks. On the camping ground by The Wishing Well the Barnacle Geese were grazing and 332 were counted. There may have been a few more hidden from view down the slope but the numbers have much reduced since they peaked at over 600 a few years ago. In all 37 species were seen.
Yarmouth – 4th December
Eleven members met at Yarmouth Old Railway Station on a lovely still morning. As there was no wind the water was flat calm and the reflections of the birds showed well. John Stafford, the leader revised his planned walk as we had a report of Bearded Tits in the reeds. However, we first visited the estuary as the tide was coming in and we wanted to see what waders were about. We managed to find one Turnstone, 143 Dunlin, 16 Black tailed godwit, 90 Lapwing, 6 Oystercatcher, 16 Canada Geese, only one Brent Goose, 8 Little Grebe, at least 2 Kingfisher, 5 Grey Plover, 3 Common Snipe, and 2 Spotted Redshank. We ended up at the reed beds and saw at least 4 Bearded Tit, 2 male and 2 female. They stayed in the vicinity the whole time we were there, calling and feeding on the seed heads. In all 48 species were seen.