A Little Help From My Friends


Keyhaven harbour with boats

Today dawned dull and dry, so Jackie and I took an early drive to Keyhaven harbour and ambled along the sea wall.

Many boats were peacefully moored after the recent gales,

Boat damaged

although one looked a bit of a wreck.

Except when silhouetted against the grey waters, well camouflaged wading birds, picking their way among pebbles and seaweed in the shallows, scuttled to and fro, pausing to probe promising crevices.

Swans and cygnet

I can recognise swans and a cygnet,


and I am fairly confident that this is a redshank, and that many of the others will be the same, but for clear identification I will need a little help from my birding friends.

I imagine that these are more overwintering Brent geese that we saw at Lepe, but I am not sure. In the foreground of the landscape photographs are many more of our own waterfowl.

Quite a few birdwatchers walked along the wall with their dogs. Unfortunately there was evidence that some owners bring their pets out to empty them, as we put it.

Hurst Castle and lighthouse
Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle and its lighthouse were visible through the haze.

The website of this historic building tells us:

“The History of Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea. The end of the spit, only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, and the views from the top of the centre keep are spectacular.

Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544.

Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution.

The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their casemates.

During World War II, Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights.

Since the castle has been opened to the public many more exhibits and exhibitions have been installed, including the Trinity House lighthouse museum.”

Mittens on tree

On our way from Keyhaven to Hurst Spit, Jackie spotted a pair of mittens fitted on the lichen-covered limb of a bare tree. Although the slow-growing pale green organism suggests that its host is fairly elderly, I think the gloves have not been placed there to keep it warm, but to alert the parents of a small child who now has cold fingers.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

When we passed them earlier, the Isle of Wight and The Needles had been invisible. Just before noon, the emerging sun  revealed them.

Steamed syrup pudding and custard followed Jackie’s spicy paprika pork with wild rice and green beans for our dinner this evening. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Séguret Côtes du Rhone Villages, 2014.


  1. As a dog owner I am concerned about the lack of social skills some dog owners exhibit – sad to say, it is mostly men that I have observed acting this way. They seem to feel it beneath their dignity to clean up their dog’s poop and don’t seem to mind if someone steps in it. Obviously they have never been caught and fined for this infringement either. My response is always to approach and offer them a poop bag as they appear to have left home without theirs. My offer has not yet been refused. 🙂

  2. My dog; my responsibility! I have never not picked up after my Coco, when he has dropped ballast, whilst out walking in the park, or on the streets.
    I always have a ballast bag at the ready. It disgusts me that people do not pick up after their pet. If I can bend and scoop at 82 years theres no reason why the youngsters can’t!.
    As you see it’s a sore topic with me!
    By the bye, love the bit of history re the castle. and Charlie I, got what he deserved as far as I’m concerned! XD

    1. Thanks, Brian. I agree with you about dog shit. The law in UK has largely eradicated the menace from the streets, but some people do use public green spaces as emptying grounds. We are going to have to have a proper visit to the castle.

  3. I didn’t think that Hurst was as close as that to Isle of Wight, although I remember the spit does seem to stick out an awfully long way. It is an interesting castle indeed, and may warrant a revisit.
    You didn’t allow the Blue Monster enough time to materialise onto the hands, which then would have grabbed you. (Sorry, I have just been reading about Hampshire Hauntings, to the great glee of grandkids.)

  4. Unfortunately my knowledge of birds doesn’t stretch to very many waterbirds. It took quite some while for me to identify the Canadian geese I posted about some while ago and I have some photos of other birds I’m still trying to identify. That hasn’t ruined my enjoyment of your photos, though. I also liked the bit of (intentional?) alliteration between a couple of photos.
    Dogs can be a menace, particularly to smaller birds but I somehow think these birds wouldn’t have been unduly bothered by them.

  5. did you walk along the shingle? I recall that stroll as being horrid but maybe there’s an easier access that I’ve forgotten about. Good moody pictures btw

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