Ten members met at Yarmouth Old Railway Station for a walk along the cycle track. During the course of the morning we saw 43 species. Cetti’s Warbler was calling, and we were able to compare the differences between Redshank and Spotted Redshank as they were both together in the wet area by the hide at Mill Copse. We also saw a male Reed Bunting. Rofford Marsh was flooded which the ducks love and we were able to see at least seven Shoveler and three Snipe.
15 members met on an overcast morning by the Canoe Lake at Ryde. Unfortunately, we got the timing of the tide wrong when we drew up the programme and the tide was coming in – completely wrong for seeing birds on Ryde Sands. So we walked along the Esplanade to Appley Park and walked round the park before returning to our cars. 33 species were seen. Of the various gulls we saw Common Gull, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull and a Great-black Backed Gull. We noted Brent and Canada Geese. 41 Mute Swan were sharing the Canoe Lake with the model boat club. In the park we saw two Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Redwing, as well as Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon and Stock Dove.
18 members met at the main car park at Firestone Copse on a cloudy but mild morning. Our circular walk took us down to the riverbank and briefly across the main road and then back to the car park. During the morning we saw or heard 30 species. By the estuary we spotted Shelduck, Mallard, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull and Herring Gull. There appeared to be a movement of Buzzard as we saw seven and we also saw a Sparrowhawk. The Goldcrest were elusive although we did hear five. Of the tit species present we identified Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit and we also saw both Song Thrush and Mistle Thrush. In a stand of conifers two Red Squirrels were running around in
Ten members met at the car park in the village of Brighstone for a walk to Yafford. The walk was billed as a two-mile walk and on the day it was arranged that some cars would be parked in a farmyard at Yafford to return us to the car park at the end of the walk. It was a lovely morning and the route took us down to Marshgreen and Marsh Chine along the cliff path to Cowleaze Chine then inland – a rather long two miles! In all 32 species were seen including two House Martin flying at Brighstone car park whilst we were waiting for the meeting to start. The trees near Brighstone Mill hosted Blackcap and Willow Warbler as well as a warbler that was very flighty and vocal, but we were unable to identify. Along the
coast many Skylark were heard and Meadow Pipits were seen in abundance. Down on the beach at Barns High a large mixed flock of Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls were roosting amongst debris that probably came from the wreck of the Napoli. The occasional Swallow put in an appearance and it was lovely to see Yellowhammer. The rather weary walk along the road to Yafford produced a Whitethroat.
After a rather wet day the evening was overcast and windy but dry, not ideal conditions for seeing or hearing Nightjars. Ten people met at Firestone Copse at dusk. We walked across the road from the car park and waited. Some heard a very soft call of the Nightjar so we walked up the ride a short distance and heard another Nightjar. We also heard a Little Owl. On the way back down, at our original stop, a Nightjar was churring beautifully. Although it must have moved whilst we stood listening we did not see it fly. We then re-crossed the road and took a ride leading towards the creek and although no Nightjars were heard, chicks of Long-eared Owls could be heard calling to each other. They were very close and numbered at least three but we could not see them. As it had by now become too dark we retraced our steps and returned to the car park.
Ten members met at Fort Victoria with the intention of undertaking a seawatch followed by a walk through the Country Park to Fort Warden and back across the fields. However, Caroline Dudley spotted a ‘duck’ sitting on the sea and David Biggs an ‘auk’. Having scrutinised the bird in our telescopes we debated what it could be and decided to get nearer. This meant walking towards Yarmouth. Eventually, we decided it was a shearwater but which one? Caroline rang Dave Wooldridge who kindly agreed to come down and identified it as a ‘Balearic Shearwater’. In all 1½ hours were taken up in seawatching leaving too little time to complete the original walk, so we walked through the woodland of the Country
Park to the viewpoint and back. In this case quality not quantity of birds made up our morning. There were several sightings of Gannet, I counted 14, 5 Sandwich Tern, at least 20 Common Tern resting and fishing, the Balearic Shearwater, Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and 2 Great Black Backed Gulls and a Cormorant. In the woods we saw Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker and heard Jay, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit. I, for one, will not forget the Balearic Shearwater having studied it for so long.
Seven members met on this sunny Bank Holiday Sunday for a walk on West High Down. The previous Friday there had been a large fall of birds having been grounded by fog in the channel, and a few remained for us to see. This time we started by walking along the valley bottom at the north side of the down where most of the birds were to be found. A selection of migrants were seen including Willow Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher and a Pied Flycatcher. During the course of the morning we did see the Raven but the Peregrine did not put in an appearance although Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard did. On our return we walked on the top of the down in the hope of seeing or hearing Dartford Warbler, but for the second year running they did not put in an appearance for us. In all 37 species were seen.
Six members met in slight mist on Ventnor Downs for a walk in the area. Early on the birds were identified by sound. In all 19 species were heard or seen, including a movement of Swallows. A Wheatear was spotted as well as a Common Whitethroat and two Chiffchaff. A flock of Linnet and two Chaffinch were also seen. On most outings these days we expect to see a Buzzard and it did not disappoint this time. We also saw two Raven. A Green Woodpecker was heard five times – five birds or one moving around?
True to the forecast there was very heavy rain although a new member did turn up. As we were near the Hersey Reserve on Seaview Duver we did spend half an hour there before going home. From the hide we could see 153 Barnacle Geese that are free flying from what used to be called Flamingo Park, 11 Tufted Duck, three Lapwing, one Herring Gull, 14 Black-headed Gull, two Mediterranean Gull, two Cormorant, four Little Grebe and four Moorhen.