Ken and Sarah White led a walk at Thorney Island in Chichester Harbour on Saturday 4 February. It was a cold but sunny day with light winds. In the morning, the group headed out to the west side of the Island. There were small flies on the wing and several Chiffchaffs were feeding in the bushes round a pond by the path. It was low tide, and with the sun behind us, there were good views of Brent Geese, Redshank, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin on the mudflats. A pale Greenshank was feeding at the water’s edge and Turnstones were busy in the seaweed. Several Black Swans were spotted by the quayside. A Kingfisher flew from the marsh and perched on the hull of a moored boat, then moved to the cross-trees on the mast of another boat. The pinging call of Bearded Tits was heard coming from the reedbed and Golden-samphire was identified on the sea wall. The Little Deep and the Great Deep are areas of open water within the reedbed. On the Little Deep were several Dabchicks, Gadwall and Tufted Duck. A large flock of Lapwings and numerous Wigeon were on and around Great Deep.
After lunch, the group set out towards the east side of Island. An active little bird in a Holm Oak beside the lane turned out to be a Firecrest and it gave several good views to the delighted observers. A Song Thrush was spotted in an adjoining field and a Sparrowhawk flew overhead. In the channel on the eastern side of the island were a small party of Red-breasted Mergansers and many Brent Geese. The group then drove to the Oyster Beds on the west side of Hayling Island. A mixed group of Mediterranean and Black-headed Gulls were swimming just off-shore and resting on an adjacent shingle island. The Mediterranean Gulls had bigger drooping bills and all-white primaries. A single distant Black-necked Grebe was spotted further out in Portsmouth Harbour. Most of the group then stayed for a meal in a local restaurant before heading back towards Reading.
Pictures by Laurie Haseler