Sunday, 7 February 2016

Patchwork Challenge Hengistbury Head Visit 1

As the weather wasn't too bad on Sunday I headed to Hengistbury Head with my wife and daughter.
It's a great opportunity for the patchwork challenge as a walk from the visitor centre to the ferry is a mile and a half, which easily covers the 3km rule of the challenge. It also allows you to cover a wide variety of environments, far more than at Longham. Despite this, the day was something of a bust as the weather was so windy, with hardly any small birds around.

Things started off well with a large group of 30 odd Wigeon feeding in harbour by the visitor centre. Black-Headed Gulls were also abundant, although I didn't see anything rare among them. Maybe next time... I looked for Little Egrets and Water Rails but the tide was in and the heavy rain meant everything was quite flooded. They'll be plenty of other opportunities. Oh and I saw a Coot.

A lot of Redshank were about, but they were quite far out.

I did look at the spit which is opposite Stanpit but the only bird I could identify with any certainty was a Cormorant. I'm sure there were some interesting gulls out there too, but my binoculars just weren't up to the task.

Moving into the woods I heard a lot of chatter, but my lousy knowledge of bird song meant the only bird I could identify was a Great Tit. I did spy a Blue Tit and some Starlings, but it was otherwise uneventful.

Lots of BBGs were about.

Scanning the next set of ponds produced a few more ducks, notably Wigeon (which were everywhere) Mallard and quite a few Teal. I saw a male Pheasant skulking around in the grass behind them and there were also about 5 Redshank feeding, but no other waders appeared.

Upon reaching the beach I spied Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Cormorants, Black Headed Gulls and a Rock Pipit, the first I've seen on the head. I still haven't seen the Purple Sandpipers, but I'll catch them one day.

A pretty lousy shot of a Rock Pipit.

The walk back wasn't too eventful, although I did catch Magpies, Little Grebes, a Grey Heron and a couple of Herring Gulls. Not the best of starts, but it's quite hard to bird when you have an impatient wife (who did kindly keep note of everything I saw) and a scooter-riding daughter.

Not the greatest start with 17 birds, but that just leaves me more to find.

Black Headed Gull
Blue Tit
Carrion Crow
Great Tit
Grey Heron
Herring Gull
Little Grebe
Pied Wagtail
Rock Pipit