|Robin Erithacus rubecula|
Thursday 5 January
With the forecast suggesting that there might be a little shower at both 11am and 1pm I decided to head off into the New Forest whilst still dry, albeit very cloudy but at least the extreme wind of the previous days had also disappeared. Arriving at Blashford Lakes a few miles north of Ringwood as soon as the gates opened at 9.30 I was the first visitor to the hide overlooking Ibsley Water and had the building to myself for the first hour. Very high levels of water leaving no exposed shingle beach for waders and almost all of the birds were at the back so definitely a time for the scope. However, with so many birds present it took some time to cover all the distant and mid-water areas revealing an interested range of ducks and geese. The only "non-water birds" were the distant pair of Magpies along with a couple of Carrion Crow who regularly seem to share the beaches both there and at my native Warsash. However, I did also record a handful of Woodpigeon and a similar number of Jackdaw as I departed towards home around 12.15 and once back on the main road towards Fordingbridge came cross a small flock of Rooks.
The small islands and spits at the back of the water held Canada, Greylag and Egyptian Geese and along the edges there were numerous Wigeon, Shoveler and Teal. Of course there were Coots everywhere including the more open water where they were joined by the very many Tufted Ducks.
|Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula (foreground) and Gadwall Anas strepera|
More specific searching eventually found a couple of male Goldeneye and a small number of Gadwall along with two Great Crested Grebes. But just the one Common Pochard off to my distant right. Also on the islands I found a Lapwing and at the far end a single Little Egret. The pair of Mute Swans with their two cygnets were very obvious to see unlike the two Lesser Black-backed Gulls which were hunkered down amongst the swimming Coots and Tufted Ducks at the back.
On over the road to the main reserve to see what might be about in the woodland and smaller lakes. As soon as I set out for the North Ivy Hide I had a number of Blackbirds and then a Wren exploring the undergrowth in front of me. Once at the hide not a lot to see other than more Wigeon and Tufted Ducks on the water and another Mute Swan on the far side.
|Something upset the Wigeon Anas penelope!|
The Woodland Hide, as usual, produced no end of Blue and Great Tits along with lots of Chaffinches and a few Greenfinch and Goldfinch. But the main delight ws the arrival of a trio of Long-tailed Tits. The handful of Siskins was a lovely sight and, as expected, both Robins and Dunnocks. Just the one very hungry Nuthatch who was joined in the feeding area by both Blackbirds and a trio of Squirrels. The feeder at the entry point to the hide also produced the only Coal Tit of the day.
|Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus|
Walking down to the South Ivy Hide I found many more Wigeon along with a good supply of Teal resting under the bank. Out on the open water the former were joined by a small umber f both Gadwall and Black-headed Gulls and even a Cormorant or two resting at the edges. Just the one Moorhen of the visit put in an appearance in font of the reedbed to the left. Likewise, the only (four) Mallards of the visit were found on the small pond to my right as I approached the hide.
|Gadwall Anas strepera|
|Teal Anas crecca|
Making my way back to the car I stopped to see what the small bird was foraging in the bush in front of me and was delighted to watch the activities of the tiny Goldcrest. Then it was a final look at Iblsey Water where I found a quartet of male Goosanders off to my far left before starting the journey home via Fordingbridge.
|Goldcrest Regulus regulus|
Not long after 12.30 I was at Eyeworth Pond in Fritham where, in a twenty plus minute stop before the light rain started, I had chance to see the many Mallard and a couple of Moorhen. Feeding all around the edges numerous Blue and Great plus a single Marsh Tit. Another busy Nuthatch and a good number of Chaffinches before both Robin and Dunnock put in an appearance. However, on this occasion I only recorded the single male House Sparrow rather than the usual dozen or so. Finally, as I was preparing to set off on the last leg of the journey home a Pied Wagtail came to explore the beach area and both Blackbird and Woodpigeon were also noted.
|Blue Tit Parus caeruleus|
Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin.
|Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs|
|Dunnock Prunella modularis|
|Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis|
|Nuthatch Sitta europaea|
|Male Siskin Carduelis spinus|
|Female Siskin Carduelis spinus|
|Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula|