Bird Bonanza

Last weekend I visited Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve and was delighted to find it teeming with bird life. There were a few species I see all the time but are still lovely to watch like black headed gulls and little egrets.

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But actually the majority of species I saw were ones which I don’t usually get to see. First up were some little plovers plodding around looking for food.

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In the same area were lots of sanderlings, also having a feed.

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There were a few lapwings around too, though most of them were looking pretty sleepy.

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I took that photo for the lapwing but it was only upon closer inspection that I realised the ducks were more interesting than they appeared from a distance. It’s difficult to see when they are so tucked up but you can just make out that they are in fact teals.

The most magnificent bird of the day was this stunning bar-tailed godwit. It’s a really beautiful bird.

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Even that though wasn’t the most exciting spot of the day- that accolade goes to this wheatear.

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I’ve never seen one before and was lucky to see several on what may well have been one of the last days they were around before migrating South.

Whilst I’m on the subject of birds I don’t usually see, we had an unheard of visitor to our garden this week. We’ve lived in this house for 19 years now so getting new bird species these days is extremely unusual. I was surprised to see this female pheasant poking around the garden when I came home from work one day.

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It was a surprise because we live in quite a built-up suburban area and even in the farmland not too far away pheasants are pretty unusual. We had some really heavy rain earlier in the day so I am theorising that this pheasant was driven to go somewhere more sheltered and perhaps was struggling to feed on water-logged land where it usually goes.

Something else which has also appeared in our garden recently are these great Sulphur Tuft mushrooms. We’ve had fairy ring mushrooms on the lawn before but these are new and they look great. They also seem to be proving popular with our resident slugs which is why some of them look a little chewed.

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It still seems plausible that I may see a butterfly in November this year. There’s still plenty around- I saw both speckled woods and a large white today and a rather battered looking red admiral at Lymington-Keyhaven last weekend.

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I even saw a dragonfly today which goes to show that the weather is still proving fairly mild. This is a very dark female common darter.

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It’s interesting to see that Autumn is so late this year. The leaves have taken long to start to change colour and drop off too. Other than a couple of days of very heavy rain it’s been very dry and though it is certainly colder now it’s actually relatively mild- I don’t think it has dropped below 4° at night yet. A longer summer must be a good thing for the majority of wildlife- the shorter the winter the higher number of individual animals will survive.

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