Saturday, 6 May 2017


As the Bank Holiday weekend got closer, a weather system was moving in. This would appear to peak when we had planned a family walk down at Lymington and Keyhaven Marshes on the New Forest coast. However, the intense showers only moved in right at the end of the day, as we were walking back to the car, and with the dramatic dark skies around us, highlighted with strong sunlight, it made for a very atmospheric walk.

If you're a birder - or simply just love the sea - then you really must head down to these extensive marshes. It's at its best during the winter, with vast flocks of waders calling it home for several months - part of the reason they are nationally and internationally protected. At this time of year, however, it's a haven for a variety of breeding birds.

When we walked along the sea wall, we had amazing views of lapwing displaying and 'peewitting' above our heads, common and little tern (the latter not very common at all) diving for fish in the lagoons, calling oystercatcher, shelduck, little egret, heron and a great view of a feeding spoonbill. In the scrub and wetlands behind the seawall, you get a slightly different suite of birds - the blackcap's melodious fluting song mingles with the strikingly-loud bursts of Cetti's warbler, and the frantic whirring and chattering of sedge and reed warblers. All of this, coupled with beautiful views across to the Isle of Wight, and great sunny swathes of flowering gorse (leaving their coconut scent in the air), made for a full sensory experience.

It also has the added bonus of two great pubs and an extensive footpath network, so get yourselves down there and enjoy the spectacle.

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