Field Reports

Monday 7th December 2020, Cobnor Point

Leader Tony Wooton

Six of us met at Chidham Car Park and walked eastward towards the estuary to look over Bosham, then southwards towards Cobnor Point. It was a frosty grey dull morning but with a few streaks of weak sunlight. No wind.

The first thing we saw was a friendly robin on the car park information board, no doubt looking for a handout. Then a group of a dozen or so Brent geese with attendant first year juveniles. We were puzzled by three of the birds which had white/grey blotchy sides. Not juveniles nor pale bellied, so unsure.

At the coast we turned left/north to see a flock of 25/30 fieldfares. Winter visitors, so be warned, it's coming.

Retracing our steps we turned south and on the way to the sailing club we saw wren, mute swans, rooks, cormorant, red breasted mergansers, oystercatcher, grey plover, curlew, and redshank.

Arriving at the sailing club we found blackbird, dunnock, chaffinch, wood pigeon, blue and great tits, greenfinch, magpie and much to our delight three goldcrests flitted incessantly through an old oak. Leaving the club we saw goldfinch and a song thrush.

Out onto the point we saw a good dozen more red breasted mergansers, teal, turnstones, black headed gulls, moorhen, little egrets, a great black backed gull flew over, and a grey heron. But no seals.

Turning for home and dreaming of hot soup we saw 30/40 starlings which were sharing a tree with a solitary redwing which flew off to join 3 passing fieldfares, giving us a clear view of the size difference between the two species.

Finally, we managed to see and finally identify ( thanks to Judy) several early flowering spikes of winter heliotrope.

  Tony Wootton

  Tuesday 8th December 2020, Cobnor Point 2

 Leader John Arnott

On a beautiful clear, cold, sunny morning a Rule of 6 group met at the “sunken” car park in Chidham for a walk to Cobnor Point with John Arnott.  Before we had left the car park we had seen a small flock of Fieldfares flying across.  The tide was low, coming in so there was exposed mud and the birds were easily seen on it.  Curlew, Grey plover, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Black-tailed godwit were noted along with a Little egret, Heron, about 40 Teal and a couple of Wigeon.  There was also, surprisingly, a lone Knot on the mud of the lagoon looking very smart in the sunshine.  A little group of Turnstone were scurrying about the weed on the water’s edge and from the Point some Bar-tailed godwit were spotted along with a couple of Shelduck.  John spotted a Great Northern diver, which kept diving, but everyone got a good look at it.  A pair of Red-breasted mergansers were also out on the water. A small flock of Dunlin were running along the shoreline.  On the way back John found some Lapwing on their high-tide roost and the last birds to be seen were a Redwing with the Fieldfares in the trees on the edge of the car park – and a Kestrel flew in to another tree.  Sadly these last two were not seen by 4 of the group as they had already left.

  John was surprised to find a Privet which had many berries but also some new blossom just coming out.  He also talked about marble galls which had been commented on by the group.

  A total of 37 birds were seen which included the usual Robins, Wren, Blue tit, Magpie, Carrion crow, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Blackbird and 2 Song thrushes.  A Dunnock was singing loudly from a hedge on the way back and a Roe deer was also spotted as were 3 rabbits in a field with Moorhens.

  This was a thoroughly enjoyable morning spent in good company with lovely weather and lots of birds including some unexpected ones.  It was really good to see people we had not seen for many months and being able to catch up with friends was a tonic.

  Thanks to John for leading a successful walk – and to Gill for organising it.

  Philippa Arnott

Wednesday 9th December 2020, Cobnor Point 3

Leader - John Kelsall

On a chilly, grey and very still afternoon, five members gathered with John Kelsall together with a suitably Christmassy Robin. (I wonder if this was the same robin as seen on a previous walk?)

Heading towards the coast, we saw Blackbird, Brent Geese and also a Kingfisher dashing into a nearby field. We noted privet, bearing both flowers and berries. Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit and Oystercatcher were seen at the water’s edge and I was pleased to have pointed out to me a Black-headed Gull with its characteristic black spot behind the eye and no black head! Next were Mallard, a diving Cormorant, Grey Plover and the first of several Redshank to be observed.

Close to the sailing club, a bank of Winter Heliotrope was beginning to flower. Passing by a splendid mixed hedge with its plentiful sloes and hips, we enjoyed Chiffchaff, Wren and Chaffinch. A flock of Starling gathered in a distant tree. By Cobnor House, one keen eyed member spotted a Kestrel perched at the very top of a tall tree while others were noting three plump Woodpigeon in a waterside oak.  Berried Butchers Broom (Ruscus) and stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) were used to test a member’s plant identification App (amazing technology!) Over a field gate we saw Magpie and caught sight of a Green woodpecker.

By the water’s edge again, on the wheelchair accessible path, Little Egret, Shelduck and Grey Plover were seen and a noisy Chinook helicopter brought up flocks of Starling and Lapwing. A great Black-backed Gull flew past and settled on a marker post in the channel. As part of the tidal managed retreat area was a pool with a gathering of Teal and a Heron which took flight at our approach.

Out on the water, near Cobnor Point, we saw a pair of Merganser and Cormorant but no seals. It was getting dark so, having admired the watery looking sunset, the group turned back the way it had come. To our list of birds were added Blue Tit, Mediterranean Gull and Jackdaw while Bristly Oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera) were added to the remarkably long list of plants which were in flower.

Many thanks to John Kelsall and to fellow members who made for such an enjoyable and interesting walk.

Gill Hance


Brent geese

Red-breasted Merganser



A Knot in the sunshine

Privet in Bloom and berry

A Redshank admiring its reflection


Winter Heliotrope - has a strong scent of almonds

Great Black-Backed Gull


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