Monday, 21 October 2013

Semipalmated Plover and a Tornado on Hayling Island

An early morning text from Brian on Sunday, sees us meeting up at six and heading for Hampshire.
Target bird was the Semipalmated Plover on Hayling Island, High tide was forecast for around midday, so we made our first stop Keyhaven Marsh.
Early morning news of the presence of the Long-billed Dowitcher on Fishtail Lagoon started what turned out to be a very frustrating few hours.
After lengthy scans of Keyhaven lagoon, Fishtail Lagoon and Butts Lagoon there was no sign of the Dowitcher.
It wasn't through lack of effort, we walked each lagoon four times, Spending far more time here than we wanted, hoping the high tide would push the bird back onto one of the lagoons. Birds seen here were Golden and Grey Plovers in good numbers along with Greenshank, Redshank, Knot, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits and a single Ringed plover. But eventually we had to leave for Hayling Island if we were to stand any chance of bagging the Plover.
There was just time to drive round to Milford on Sea to catch up with the Red-breasted Goose at "Cut off Bridge" aptly named as the barrier was across the road and the other side of the road was now part of the marshes.

Red Breasted Goose

After watching the kite surfers performing on the water, it was time to turn the car round and head off to Hayling Island.

Having found a spot to park the car at Eastoke Corner, we walked East along the beach in what was becoming worsening conditions.
We joined a group of birders on the shingle and after a few directions managed to pinpoint the target bird.
Pleased that the bird was still present, we walked back down the footpath and made our way around to where another group of birders were scanning from.

From this location we managed decent views, and watched it resting and then moving further up the beach among groups of Sanderling and Ringed Plovers as the tide encroached up the beach
While enjoying the bird we failed to notice the weather changing dramatically overhead, and before we knew it we were caught in the back end of an earlier Tornado.
The rain was incredible, it was so heavy I couldn't see either Brian a few yards ahead of me or dad a few yards behind me. It fell so fast and so heavy it took my breath away and completely drenched me in the process.
The torrential rain certainly gave the optics a through test. One which they seem to have passed without any problems.

Luckily Brian had a change of clothes to drive home in, I wasn't so lucky and when we stopped at a garage to refuel I had to wring my socks out and empty my boots of a surprising amount of water.

Another great days birding, which saw Brian pass last years total and dad bag his 300th bird, and all three of us add another lifer to our lists.

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