Garden News

Water Birds

Juliets Jottings roundallWildlife enthusiast and resident volunteer at Exbury, Juliet, describes the different types of water birds that inhabit the estuary.

"If you take a stroll along the River Walk you have a good chance of seeing a number of birds associated with water".

Water birds

High tide

"High tide is usually the most productive time as the birds rest in the marsh or up on the river bank, and can often be seen silhouetted against the water".

Low tide


"At low tide they tend to feed on the mud and are obscured by the bank. Curlews (above), large waders unmistakeable in profile with their ultra-long decurved bills, are often found on the bank; another wader, the Redshank (below), so-called because of their red legs, are easiest to tell in flight when their white back flash and white wing flashes are apparent".

"Canada geese tend to dominate the scene – big birds with long black necks, loafing about in groups and totally dwarfing the scattered groups of wintering ducks such as wigeon and teal which dabble in the channels or at the water’s edge. Sometimes you can see a Grey Heron standing in stately isolation in the marsh. Easier to spot are the white Little Egrets which stand out clearly.

"Gulls fly along the river, mainly Black-headed Gulls (above) told in flight by the white flash on the leading edge of their wings. Confusingly, at this time of the year, they do not have black heads, which they will only regain in the spring".

Herring Gull
"The larger Herring Gull (above) is also a regular occurrence. It differs from the Black-headed by having all-grey wings with black tips. Most of these birds are a little distant, so it helps to carry a pair of binoculars".

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‘We recently had some friends from London to visit and were looking for something to entertain our young children for the day. We decided to give Exbury Gardens a try and I thought it was wonderful. We had Sunday lunch in the restaurant and the food was far superior to other local attractions so compliments to the chef. Walking through the gardens was beautiful with lots of little pathways to explore. I have lived in the Romsey area for many years and always thought Exbury was a little out of the way but it only took me 20 minutes from the motorway. We will definitely be a regular visitor from now on.’

Philip Moulds, New Forest

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