Down the river

A mornings walk down the Hamble River from Bursledon to Warash – bird watching as the tide slowly comes in.

Little Egrets. There were at least 8 different birds on different bits of the river.

Lepe Beach D-Day Relics.

Lepe Beach and country park has many relics that date back to WW2 and link it with D-Day and the invasion of France in June 1944.

One of many Mulberry Harbour construction and launching sites was constructed at Lepe 6 concrete Phoenix Caissons that were simultaneously built on these platforms from January 1944 so that they could be directly launched into the sea by May 1944. They were towed up Southampton water for finishing.

Mulberry harbours were temporary portable harbours following D-Day, two prefabricated harbours were taken in sections across the English Channel from the UK with the invading army and assembled off Omaha Beach (Mulberry “A”) and Gold Beach (Mulberry “B”).

Many Allied troops waited for D-Day in camps in the New Forest. Some of these embarked from Lepe, and others used embarkation sites to the east or west. The group of camps was known as Marshalling Area B. On the beach, at Lepe, there was room for four Landing Craft Tank (LCT).

Remains of the “Dolphins” part of the pierhead which was used to load landing crafts.

Large Bollards for tying up Landing craft.

Concrete blocks known as “chocolate Blocks ” were used to build a roadway over the beach for vehicles to load onto the landing craft without getting stuck on the soft sand and gravel.

Launch block blocks where the large caissons were winched into the sea.

Large contraction platforms where the caissons were constructed.

Monuments remembering D-Day and Poppy display in support of the Royal British Legion 2022 Poppy appeal.

Curlew on the shore.

The curlew is the largest European wading bird. There were around 10 birds on the mudflats at the edge of the incoming tide catching small crabs at Lepe Beach on the edge of the New Forest. They also feed on worms, shellfish and shrimps. The UK breeding population is around 58,500 pairs and the wintering population increases to some 125,000 birds.

UK conservation status: Red.

Age of an Oystercatcher.

Watching Oystercastchers today in Titchfield Haven nature reserve I spotted a bird I had seen before. An Oystercatcher with a lot of white on his upper body. I first saw this bird in 2017 and have seen him each year since, so I was thrilled to see him again this morning. Leucism, or leukism, reduces pigmentation in birds. It got me thinking about how long is an Oystercatcher’s life span. I found this online. “Oystercatchers typically live for 12 years. However, the record stands at 40 years, one month and two days.”

Top picture 2017 bottom picture 2022.

These birds are alert as a Buzzard has just arrived overhead.

Enough is enough and they are all off!

Bite the sun!

 “A partial solar eclipse which will make the sun appear to have a bite taken out of it will be visible from across the UK this morning.”

Views from home late morning. Not like the Total solar eclipse, we had a few years ago in the UK when the world went dark. The light was odd for 20 mins or so but I could not see a chunk out of the sun however I was able to see it in the flare within the phone camera I took these pictures with.

Timber from the New Forest.

At the start of World War, One much of the timber required by the UK came from Canada. By 1916 Canadian timber could no longer be imported on a large enough scale to meet requirements for the war effort as there were not enough freight ships for all the country’s munitions, food and other essential items. Timber production from English forests and woodlands had to be increased to meet the Canadian shortfall. Labour was short due to the war. To harvest local timber the First Battalion of Lumbermen was formed of 1500 Canadian workers who started coming to the UK. The Canadians brought over their own equipment an initial advance party of 15 Canadians set up in a camp near Lyndhurst. which quickly grew and later received help from Portuguese labourers.

The camp was some 4 to 5 acres in size and surrounded by fences It was like a self-contained village with over 25 huts. Including workshops and even a hospital. At the height of the camp’s usage, there were around 100 Portuguese and 200 associated workers on site. There was also a Light railway that helped speed up timber production. Other camps were set up mainly in Southern England.

Little remains of the timber camp today as most of the buildings were wooden.

Concrete remains of the sawmill.

Now a monument “The Portuguese fireplace” is the chimney of the former cookhouse.

Timber Work in the New Forest is still being undertaken.


The Little Egret is a small, white heron. They feed on small fish and crustaceans. Once a very rare visitor from the Mediterranean but today they are a common bird in the UK. I often see more Little egrets than Grey Herons on a trip out.