30 January, 2012


I at last got around to heading over to Calshot and twitching the Spanish Sparrow!

Having crashed early on Friday I was up sharp and burning over to Hants - it took me less time than the Junco trip, even! I found a small crowd of about 20 watching the SS in the hedge. Got on it and was, I have to say, a bit underwhelmed. Then it buggered off. Very nice local eventually refound it in his g/f's garden and we were all invited in to see it on the assorted feeders therein [Kudos, very big kudos]. The Sparrow looked much better at point-blank range, with its huge bill making a Greenfinch look a bit weedy, though when I cracked and went for a picture it duly scarpered...

After expressing profuse thanks and giving a donation to the Good Cause, I decided on a quick cuppa before heading on to my second target. I strolled down to the beach and gave it a quick half hour. I got 2 GC Grebes and a great big german container ship called the Cap Stephens - definitely the star attraction.... Oh well, on to my 'Target 2, if the Sparrow behaves'.

Hayling Island is great! I've never seen waders so confiding and there's plenty more to look at as well as the star attraction; the Shore Lark. Very much a nice bird to twitch, it stays put. And so pretty, too! I pulled up my folding stool in the lee of some bushes and had lunch admiring the Lark. Pretty Lark, pretty pretty Lark. Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Brent Geese, hell even Redshank coming to 40' or so from people standing around, chatting and wandering back and forth. Madness.... They get some serious numbers, too. Definitely need to go back there at some point.

Finally, it was time for Hume's II, the Revenge.

Dipped again....

However, this time the Richard's Pipit was feeling much better about itself and showed down to daft distances inside the Bridging Camp, just ignoring us completely. Really smart bird, a joy to look at. Then, the Black Redstart which has been hanging around arrived and started following the RP around! Sweet, very sweet. While I was dipping the Hume's, I did get the sight of 84 RB Mergansers - 70 of which flew in in one impressive flock - and a wonderful 1w male Kestrel hunting amazingly close. If the light had been better I think it would have been better than the one at the Pallid Harrier.

Twas a long and tiring day, but a rewarding one.

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