Another visit to Hampshire with Paul F. First stop was Walpole Park. The Ring-billed Gull showed well in amongst the many Black-headed Gulls and a single Common Gull, on the walkway that separates the two boating lakes. We took a few pics and had a look at the creek at the back of the lakes. Great black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Brent Goose, Redshank, Little Egret and Rock Pipit of note here. Then another look at the Ring-billed Gull. It was still in the same place but soon took off and landed on the grass near the outdoor exercise equipment. We took a few more pics of it here and then headed off to Southsea Castle.
At Southsea Castle things got a little messy! We were searching for Purple Sandpipers and decided to drop down onto a wide concrete shelf that is bordered by rocks/boulders. The top half of this concrete shelf was clean and dry but the bottom half wet and covered in algae. You know what's coming don't you? Yes of course as soon as I stepped foot on the lower half my legs went from under me and I hit the deck, elbow first, or so I thought. I dragged myself to my feet, half laughing and half effing and blinding. Of course Paul found this rather amusing! I decided to carefully make my way to the dry area but first I decided to check my bins, f*ck it! one of the lens was smashed. Pain in my elbow and now my wallet. A few seconds later Paul decided to upstage me with a more spectacular fall. But being less able bodied than myself he was struggling to get up. His fall knocked the wind out of his sails. Serve him right for laughing at me! However, little did I know this was a cunning plan of his to have some more fun at my expense. He knew I wouldn't leave him lying prone on the ground moaning away. He was driving after all! I took my bins and camera from round my neck and placed them carefully on the ground. I made my towards Paul to help him get up. Yep down I went, this time flat on my back. So now both of us are lying on the deck moaning, groaning and laughing all at the same time! Anyway I dragged myself to my feet, dusted myself down and helped Paul to his feet. We beat a careful retreat to the walkway by the castle. A few yards further along we connected with 8+ Purple Sandpiper. A few pics then off to Hayling Oyster Beds.
A bit of a frustrating time at the Oyster Beds. The tide was right out and there was still some mist around. Everything of interest was also very distant. We couldn't find the Long-tailed Duck but did manage good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers and 4 Black-necked Grebes. We had possible Slavonian Grebes but very distant so not 100% certain. The best birds here were probably the large number of Mediterranean Gulls that were amongst the Black-headed Gull colony here.
Our last stop of the day was in the New Forest at Acre's Down. Near the car park we noted 4 Brimstone. We headed up to the watchpoint hoping to see Goshawk. We spoke to some other birders on route and they had seen 5 Goshawk displaying earlier but none for over an hour. After about 10 minutes a Goshawk got and displayed for a few minutes giving good scope views. Then after about 45 minutes another got up but briefly and very distantly. We did manage to find it perched in a tree but a long way off. Also from the watchpoint c10 Common Buzzard. We decided to have a wander but only a few Stonechat and 3 or 4 Small Tortoishell were noted. On our walk back to the car we came across 2 Woodlark which was a decent end to an eventful day.
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Some pics below; Ring-billed Gull and Little Egret at Walpole Park, Purple Sandpiper at Southsea Castle. Then Paul F's; Rock Pipit and Ring-billed Gull at Walpole Park, Woodlark at Acre's Down.