Keyhaven (Hampshire)

Five of us made the journey to Keyhaven despite the Met Office having issued an amber heat warning for the day.  We walked out along the sea wall past Keyhaven, Fishtail and Butts Lagoons and, after lunch, decided to return the same way rather than take the inland paths so that we could continue to enjoy the cooling onshore breeze!

Keyhaven Lunch
Lunch at Keyhaven overlooking the Solent

There were many turnstones around the harbour, and throughout our walk there were regular pulses of migrating swallow and house martin overhead and also low over the lagoons.  There were also birds on the land between the lagoons including both pied and white wagtail, house sparrow, linnet, wheatear, whitethroat (probably…), stonechat, meadow pipit and stock dove.

In addition to black-headed gull, great black-backed gull, little egret, grey heron, mallard, coot, moorhen, shelduck, wigeon, teal and shoveler there was a wide variety of waders on the lagoons.  On our way out we saw many ringed plover, dunlin, redshank, lapwing, oystercatcher and black-tailed godwit, as well two snipe and singles of avocet and knot. A curlew sandpiper flew in but annoyingly very quickly disappeared, leaving the leader as the only one of us to have actually seen it.

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank, Keyhaven 6th September 2023

As the waders had tended to fly and resettle occasionally we were hopeful that we might see something different on our way back after lunch – and this proved to be the case as we added spotted redshank and common sandpiper to our day’s tally.

On the seaward side there were great crested grebe, curlew and more turnstone, and also a peregrine which spent some time perched on a post before flying off.

An enjoyable day’s birdwatching with a total of 48 species recorded.

Rob Wilkinson