Hayling Billy & West Hayling Nature Reserves – Peter Drury

Following my visit to see how the path works were proceeding, I walked around the Nature Reserves with a couple from Fleet, Hampshire. They had not visited the Oysterbed area before although they were regular visitors.

At the Oysterbeds, a Common Tern was hunting for crabs along the shoreline of the lagoon, passing very close to the footpath in front of the bus shelter. It was oblivious to the fact that we were standing close to its flight path.


Common Tern hunting crabs on the lagoon shoreline – Image Peter Drury

Common Tern - Peter Drury Submitted by peterd on Sun, 08/06/2014 - 04:27

Common Tern returning to the start point – Peter Drury

I have witnessed this for the last 4 years. The Tern chicks eat whole food and sometimes the crabs are just too large for them to be swallowed. If this is the case, the adult picks the crab up and skims the water at high speed. This breaks off the crab’s legs and usually ends up with a size the chicks can eat.

Several Mediterranean gulls flew over the island which caused an instant response from the Black-headed Gulls. They flew up, en mass, to drive their larger cousins off.

Mediterranean gull - Peter Drury Submitted by peterd on Sun, 08/06/2014 - 04:50

Mediterranean Gull flying over the lagoon – Image Peter Drury

The reason for this action was to prevent the Black-headed Gull chicks from being predated

Black-headed Gull nesting sites - Peter Drury Submitted by peterd on Sun, 08/06/2014 - 05:07

On the lagoon islands, The dark coloured birds are Black-headed Gull chicks. – Image Peter Drury

Walking back along the trail I saw a flock of beautiful Goldfinch. Somehow these colourful birds look out of place. Their plumage is more akin to a tropical bird rather than one that is resident in a Temperate climate.

Goldfinch - Peter Drury Submitted by peterd on Sun, 08/06/2014 - 05:18

Goldfinch – Image Peter Drury

Finally, passing the Saltmarsh at the northeren end of the trail, a Kestrel was seen hunting.

Kestrel - Peter Drury Submitted by peterd on Sun, 08/06/2014 - 05:24

Kestrel hunting – image Peter Drury

The HB50 work should be easing soon and I shall spend more time in the nature reserves. Watch this space,


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