Here are a few snaps of my recent visit to the Isle of Wight to catch up with my family (9 of us plus 4 dogs) as well as take the birdwatching logbooks to various outlets. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and the ferry ride always makes it feel slightly exotic. Naturally I forgot to take my binoculars when we visited Newtown National Nature Reserve, but we went there in the middle of the day when it was very hot, thus reinforcing the Mad Dogs and Englishmen stereotype as well as hardly seeing any birds. An oystercatcher flyby followed by a skein of Canada geese was a treat, and there was a group of 6 or so little egrets in a lagoon, along with a few oystercatchers. It is such a beautiful spot, and the meadow was buzzing and humming with grasshoppers and bees. Meadow browns and skippers flitted among the tall grasses, knapweed and vetch.
We stopped off at Chessell Pottery for tea and world famous cake (an entirely justified claim) and I filled in my logbook. Ned was getting the hang of lying down in the way:
The 21st July was Flying Ant Day for us, with thousands of black meadow ants taking to the wing. Numerous black-headed gulls circled above the caravans feasting on them. I spotted a buzzard sitting on a telegraph pole, but a bird I’ve not got in the logbook and need to add is the yellowhammer – there were lots on the wires. House martins were nesting in eaves of the main house on the site, and I also heard (but didn’t see) a green woodpecker on a number of occasions. There are mature oak trees between the caravans at The Orchards, and is surrounded by farmland so there were jays, and a huge number of nesting wood pigeons as well as starlings overhead, and sparrows, wrens and robins in the hedgerow dividers between the vans. I heard goldfinches twittering as they flew amongst the trees, and a lone kestrel hunting in the pasture beyond the fence.
It was great to bond with the logbook, and also pluck up the courage to properly look through it for mistakes…it’s always a bit nerve-wracking and I have to let them settle with me before I feel brave enough to acknowledge any errors! Apart from a couple of layout issues, it seems to be as it should.
We visited the Garlic Farm as they wanted to stock the logbooks in their shop, so we went for a walk round the farm – including another glorious buzzing and humming meadow – followed by well, as it happens, tea and cake thereby giving Ned another opportunity to sprawl. They have a special red squirrel area outside the cafe but it was very busy so they understandably and sensibly stayed away.
Have you visited the Isle of Wight? We are going back in September so I will hopefully have the chance to tick off some more birds, although sadly I think I have missed my chance with the nightjars. Although the famous squirrels were notable by their absence throughout our visit, I did spot one running across the road as we made our way to the ferry at Fishbourne. Here’s hoping for a better sighting next time.