Farlington Marshes

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Farlington marshes

Farlington marshes

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The best place to watch birds in the harbour is at Farlington Marshes. A car park is located just off the main Eastern road/A27 roundabout. It is not advisable to leave your valuables in the car. The RSPB reserve is best viewed from the Farlington sea wall or the grass bank at Broadmarsh. Other good locations for bird watching are at the Hayling Oysterbeds, turn right just past the 'Esso' garage on the main Hayling Island road, park and walk north along the footpaths. The Kench can be seen well from Ferry Road. Egrets are often seen from the footpath that runs northwards from there along the eastern edge.

In the summer Farlington Marshes and the islands of the RSPB reserve are the main focus of activity. In recent years, environmental improvements at the old oysterbeds have proved to be an enormous success. Thousands of tonnes of building rubble were removed and a saline lagoon and island established. The beds are now a major roosting site for waders, especially important for Little Terns. The proximity of the nesting island to the coastal path means that this is one of the finest places in the country to observe this beautiful and rare bird.

It is in the winter when the harbour hosts the greatest number of birds. Langstone harbour has the largest uninterrupted mudflats on the south coast of England. Each square metre of this mud typically contains hundreds of thousands of invertebrates such as Hydrobia (a tiny snail), ragworms and bivalves. This represents a huge amount of available food for waterfowl. Nutrients in the water benefit algae (Enteromorpha spp.) which together with eelgrass (Zostera spp.) are also an important food source for many birds. It has been said that such productivity can only be rivaled on a world scale by tropical rainforests. Up to 40,000 waders and 10,000 wildfowl are attracted to Langstone Harbour in the winter because of this rich food source. Wading birds such as dunlins, oystercatchers, grey plovers and curlews form spectacular roosts at high water, the majority on the RSPB islands, Farlington Marshes and the old oysterbeds. Brent geese now a familiar sight in winter, have changed their feeding patterns, in recent times and many now feed on amenity grassland such as sports fields, particularly over the high tide period when normal food supply is submerged. The winter also brings an impressive gathering of black-necked grebes into the harbour. With over 20 birds usually present this represents nearly a quarter of the entire British wintering population. The majority of the wading birds and wildfowl leave the harbour in the spring to breed further north, primarily northern Scotland, Iceland and Scandinavia, Brent Geese even go as far as the Russian sub-Arctic. A few such as the redshank, lapwing, ringed plover and oystercatcher remain to nest on the islands or Farlington Marshes. Little egrets are another special bird. Langstone Harbour is one of the best places to see this elegant bird and small numbers have begun to nest nearby.(Langstone Harbour Board)

Bird photographs from Farlington marshes
Video of Farlington marshes
Farlington marshes Twitter
Local services around Farlington marshes
Farlington marshes Local patch sightings and blogs
Birdwatching walks around Farlington marshes

The Birder's Market | Resource | Birding locations | Birding sites England | Birding sites Hampshire |  Farlington Marshes

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