Monday, 14 December 2015

Wildfowl Bonanza at Normandy

Normandy Marsh at Lymington is alway a great place to go in winter to see wildfowl, you aways get a good variety and nearly always in good scope range. As we walked out to Oxey Lake we found our first species of the day with a couple of Reed Bunting, a Brambling flew off into the tree behind us not to be seen again. On the lake we found Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Redshank, Little Grebe, Mute Swan and a distant Kingfisher.  Viewing across Oxey Lake I picked up a superb male Goldeneye, then Bob picked up a diver.  Initially was thought to be a Black-throated but once it had turned around the high forehead, a flat crown and then a dark collar was seen confirming it to be a Great Northern Diver.  There was also a scattering of Great Crested Grebe but little else was found. 
Little Grebe - Oxey Lake © Nick Hull 
Now we were looking over Normandy Marsh and here there were large numbers of Teal and Wigeon and a small group of elegant Pintail in the corner of the first pool and more could be seen further out across the marsh.
Pintail - Normandy Marsh © Nick Hull
Closer there was a nice flock of Dunlin busy feeding in the shallows, a scattering of Redshank and good numbers of Lapwing.  As we moved along to get better views over the water we found Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Greenshanks, a nice large roost of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. As we walked around the marsh small skeins of Brent Geese would fly in and bathe in the fresh water, others went on to the fields to feed until the tide become low and they moved back out onto the outer marsh.
Dark-bellied Brent Geese Normandy Marsh © Nick Hull
Other wildfowl found here were Avocet, Red-breasted Merganser, Turnstone, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe. Shelduck.  As we continued around the shoreline path the islands of cord grass that were just high enough to form roosts with the high tide were covered in Dunlin, Grey Plover and with the odd Curlew amongst them. 
Little Egret - Normandy Marsh © Nick Hull
There were a number of Little Egret which didn't settle and kept moving around, another species that wouldn't settle were Reed Buntings we saw several all along the fence line to the marsh.  During our walk we had several Skylark moving over in one and twos but as we were walking towards Lymington a flock of no less than 38 Skylark lifted off the marsh and headed off east. From this corner of the shoreline path we had a good number of Meadow Pipits a small group of Linnet our third sighting of Kingfisher, Black-tailed Godwit and good numbers of Turnstone.
Song Thrush - Normandy Lane © Nick Hull
We walked on through the boat yard out onto Normandy Lane and we had close views of a Song Thrush in full song and continued to do so as we left.  Walking the lane we came across a small mixed tit flock and a few Goldfinch.  Out in the fields Canada and Brent Geese grazed along with a number of corvids mostly Rook.  The other species seen were Goldcrest, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Greenfinch and Chaffinch and the various common tit species which completed our walk for the day.

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