Monday 6 February 2023


 Looking along Hurst Spit towards Hurst Castle, with Keyhaven Marshes on the left. A lovely part of the world and one I'm very unfamiliar with.

I was working up in Hampshire today. One of the sites (at New Milton) was just 5 minutes away from Milford-on-Sea, so I popped over to see the wintering Shore Lark - a fabulous bird and a species I've not seen in over 21 years! My last was at Holkham Gap on 29/12/01 - a snowy north Norfolk trip with my brother. I think the main target was Coue's Arctic Redpoll. Prior to that I'd seen just 5, at Benacre Broad, Suffolk, on 30/12/99 (a day-trip from London, primarily for the Aldeburgh Ivory Gull), and a pair of  'Horned Larks' on Bolivar Flats, Texas, on 14/4/98 (with Tom Whiley).
Today's bird has been on Hurst Spit for a few weeks now and was present on my arrival, just a short walk from where I parked. Creeping around unobtrusively, I was extremely glad I didn't have to locate it on my own!

Looking back towards Milford-on-Sea.

Looking across to the Needles (Isle of Wight).

Dung heap with a difference. I've never see one Egyptian Goose on Orcombe's dung heap, never mind 62! This rather smart Ruddy Shelduck was with them. Ripley (Hants).

The Moon at dawn this morning. Hants.


  1. Excellent photos of the Shore Lark. Now that's a dung heap!!!!!!

  2. Many thanks Spencer - taken from on top of the shingle ridge as the bird fed on the path below. I could probably have got closer but didn't want to risk flushing it. The dung heap was indeed a sight to behold. Have never associated dung heaps with geese before! All the best. Matt.

  3. Lovely shots of the Shorelark. I was lucky to have close views of 12 at the regular site of Holkham Bay the end of last month.

    I wonder if a coach load of Egyptian Geese were on an away day from London? Nice to get the Ruddy Shelduck too. I remember being at Staines Res last January & a pair flew in.

  4. Thanks Neil. It almost felt like a new bird as it's been so long since I last saw one. I don't know what's going on with the geese. I'd no idea they were so plentiful in Hampshire. Whatever the origins of the Ruddy Shelduck it's a species I love to see. My only 'good' ones were in Morocco back in 2014. Great to hear from you. Best wishes. Matt.