South Coast Journey

It has been quite a time since I have been on a birdwatching trip, so it was great to spend a few days down in Portsmouth recently.

I arrived in the afternoon, having traveled down from London on the train. My first outing was down to Southsea Castle, to see if there were any Purple Sandpipers on the rocks there (It is usually a reliable spot to find these uncommon waders). Unfortunately, it was clear when I arrived that some work had been taking place on the sea wall and I was unable to get to the area where the Sandpipers were, although given the degree of disturbance I wouldn’t imagine there were any there anyhow. Afterwards I went to check out Canoe Lake as I have had Mediterranean Gull here before, but today only Black-headed and Herring Gulls were present.

Canoe Lake Southsea

Day 2 saw me at Portchester Castle where the shore park has previously been a productive site for Grebes and Divers. Two Black-throated divers had been reported but these appeared to have moved off up Fareham Creek by the time I arrived. A very obliging Rock Pipit and a Kingfisher therefore were left to provide the highlights.

By lunchtime the rain had come in and so I returned to Portsmouth and took a boat tour around the dockyard and harbour. We were held up as HMS Richmond made its way into the docks, where both of the UK’s aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales were both in dock. But even these were dwarfed by the new Virgin Cruiser, Valliant Lady in the neighbouring International port. I had also hoped to see a few birds on the mud-flats but only added Oystercatcher to the list.

Day 3 and off to Langstone Harbour, starting (and as it turned out finishing) at Eastney point at the entrance to the harbour. This can be a good spot, but in what was beginning to become a recurrent theme only a small group of Turnstones and Oystercatchers were seen. Once again the rain started and I headed back to Portsmouth, where I visited the Old town and Cathedral,

Day 4 saw me head out to sites on Southampton water, stopping at Netley and Hamble-le-Rice but as on previous days these were very quiet and by lunchtime heavy rain had once again set in and I abandoned my afternoon stop at Warsash.

Day 5 saw me heading back to London. The weather had been wet and cold and the birdwatching unremarkable, unlike my previous trip in early 2020. Still despite this it was good to be travelling again and as they say a change is as good as a rest.

Pasts posts on places mentioned in this blog:

Portchester Castle:

St Mary’s Portchester:

HMS Warrior:

Southsea Castle:

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