It was off to Portsmouth for Gordon Duffus and myself on Tuesday 17th January. We planned to see if we could find PURPLE SANDPIPERS at Southsea Castle and an ICELAND GULL at Camber Dock. From there we were going to Warblington to find the CATTLE EGRET and then to Hayling Island for a SHORE LARK. After parking near to Southsea Castle we walked along the beach to the rocks immediately below the castle where the sandpipers had often been seen. The tide was low and wasn't due in for another hour or so. After much searching it was apparent the PURPLE SANDPIPERS were not there. We left the beach and walked across the road and along a footpath that led us into the fish market and Camber dock area. Immediately Gordon saw a gull sitting on top of a post near the Bridge Inn. A quick look through our binoculars confirmed it as the 2nd winter ICELAND GULL. We managed some photos before it flew off towards the ferry terminal and was then lost from sight. After spending another half an hour or so in which we couldn't locate it, we decided to return to the beach and hopefully the sandpipers, but no luck, they were not there. So it was off to Warblington, a few miles away. The information given on 'Birdguides' was that the CATTLE EGRET was in a field next to cattle. The field was near a church at the end of a lane, and this information proved spot on and easy to find. After parking in the lay by next to the cow field, we looked at a dozen or so cows that were standing in a huddle and there was the CATTLE EGRET close by. We had very good views and managed some more photos before it flew into the next field to join three LITTLE EGRETS. From Warblington we journeyed the short distance to Hayling Island and parked in the car park near the Oyster Beds. There were a few other birders there, one of whom informed me that he had seen the bird and had good views of it, good news indeed. After walking a short distance to the Oyster Beds, I was informed by a kind birder that it could be seen on the gravel spit. Gordon and I looked through our telescopes and there it was a SHORE LARK with its very elegant yellow and black head markings. More photos were taken and as the afternoon was getting on, we decided not to go to Farlington, which was our original plan but to stay at Hayling Island where we saw some good quality birds including SLAVONIAN GREBE, PEREGRINE, PINTAIL, MEDITERRANEAN GULL, RED BREASTED MERGANSER and GOLDENEYE. So a hat trick of lifers for me and Gordon and who would of thought we would be lucky enough to see all of them in a day.
Hi, I'm Roger Milligan. I have been interested in birds since I was a boy growing up in south east London, which was a long time ago. I now live in Farnborough, Hampshire.