Sunday 4 August – Keyhaven

Waders were the day’s main highlights, with 16 different species encountered. The weather was perfect for the start of Cowes week – sunny with a brisk wind. Ten birders met at the harbour where a number of Turnstone made use of a blue boat to perch on as the tide was high. A walk along the shoreline produced Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Dunlin and Curlew on the salt-marsh. Further along on the landward side of the path were Linnet, a distant Kestrel, Starling, Swallow and Shelduck. At the first freshwater pool gulls including a Mediterranean Gull and a Greenshank and Little Egret congregated on the outward leg, and 120 Black-tailed Godwits and 300 Dunlins on the return journey. The second pool provided the most interest however – highlights being Curlew Sandpiper (picked out amongst the numbers of Dunlin by their peachy summer plumage), Ringed Plover, a juvenile and adult Little Ringed Plover, Redshank, Snipe, Ruff, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and a Water Rail (seen briefly by some). After a quick lunch stop we all nipped round to the other side of the pool to twitch a Long-billed Dowitcher which had been in the area for a few days. After a little patience, good views were had by all. An obliging Snipe came alongside at one point affording a good comparison between the two species. Some of the group rounded the day off nicely with a Hobby on the way back to the cars – making it around 40 species in all.