Monday, 16 January 2023

Blashford Lakes with HOS

I need food!
On the left downwards,
 Greenfinch and Siskins
 and on the right, Great and Blue Tits

 Sunday 15 January

A beautiful bright and sunny start to the day for my drive into the New Forest to join the field meeting of HOS (Hampshire Ornithological Society) at Blashford Lakes just outside Ringwood.  But first, knowing that the gates would not be opened until 9.30, I made a short detour so as to stop for fifteen minutes at Fishlake Meadows in Romsey.  All rather disappointing in the event as other than scores and scores of Teal there was little to be seen; a couple of Coot, distant Cormorant and Greylag Geese plus a lone Great Black-backed Gull with both Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow overhead. So on to Blashford where I joined the rest of the strong group and our leader for the day, Ian Packer.  My word, Ian's a great leader offering all sorts of useful aids to those present before we set off on our walk around the reserve starting on the other side of the road from the car park in front of Tern Hide on Ibsley Water to check the hides and woodland before returning to Ibsley Water's Goosander Hide and finally back to the Tern Hide at our starting point.  An excellent morning and although a little dark cloud appeared overhead as I approached Tern Hide it was not until I was sitting the car changing my boots that I felt a couple of spots and no sooner actually in the car that the heavens opened giving me a very wet drive back to Warsash.

So, first into the woodland area where we quickly found a foraging Goldcrest and a departing Nuthatch.  Singing loudly then seen a Song Thrush with a Robin resting a metre or so away as a Blackbird few through the undergrowth.  A couple of very high Blue Tits before continuing on the the Ivy North Hide.  Much shade hear and on the water mainly Wigeon and Teal along with Mallard and Tufted Ducks.  Just the one Great Crested Grebe and a resting Cormorant on the far side of the water.  Nearer to the hide a pair of Mute Swans and a couple of Coot whist I found the well-concealed Moorhen in the reeds below us. 

Tree-creeper Certhia familiaris

Moving into the adjacent woodland path to the Woodland Hide we found both Great and Blue Tits along with a couple of Long-tailed Tits.  However, the main attraction was the active Tree-creeper not too far distance to our left and was seen by all present.  A Carrion Crow passed overhead and Woodpigeon were recorded.  A Coal Tit was feeding on the feed at the hide's entry path and once inside the hide the feeders produced many Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Siskins.  Also attracted to the food were Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds plus, naturally, all the previously seen tits.

Nuthatch Sitta europaea (left) and Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
 above female Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Siskin Carduelis spinus (from left to right)
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus above male Siskin Carduelis spinus

Moving on to the South Ivy Hide we noted the water here held mainly Tufted Duck and Wigeon but also a number of Gadwall, Mallard and Teal.  Roosting Cormorants and a good-sized flock of Black-headed Gulls on the water made up the majority of other birds seen.  However, also noted were the couple of Lesser Back-backed Gulls, a quartet of Little Grebe and the Buzzard above the trees that had had put up most of the ducks.  The one bird that seemed unaffected by the raptor was the lone Green Sandpiper that, presumably, we had seen flying close to the reeds in front of us whilst we were in the Ivy North Hide. 

Distant record shot of the Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

Finally, a Kingfisher flashed across the water from right to left and a lone Magpie came to rest above the roosting Cormorants.  But not to be missed was the two foot plus Pike that was lying in the water only an inch or two below the surface a mere three yards from the hide window.

The sleeping Pike Esox lucius!

Making our way back through the wooded reserve to the main road we stopped to admire the male Bullfinch and a small flock of noisy Jackdaws passed overhead along with a singe Carrion Crow flying in the opposite direction.

Once settled into the Goosander Hide overlooking Ibsley Water from the east we soon had sight of the dedicated birds with at least four male and two female Goosanders in front of the island before us.  No end of Coots and many Pintail and Tufted Ducks and a little dedicated searching also revealed nearby Goldeneye and a male Pochard.  In the far distance we were also able to record Greylag, Canada and Egyptian Geese along with very many Lapwing.

Goosanders Mergus merganser and Pintails Anas acuta

Making my way back to the Tern Hide I had only travelled about fifty yards when I stopped to watch the passing Roe Deer walking through the undergrowth to my left.  Lovely sight of what looked like a very grey-coloured animal.  Once inside the hide a couple of Mute Swans along with the mainly Coots and Tufted Ducks on the open water and the varied birdlife at the back already noted from the previous hide.  In addition, away to my left a good number of Shoveler and a second Buzzard drifted towards us down the far back away to the left.

Mainly Pintails Anas acuta

All in all a most enjoyable visit in god company and well led by Ian who was always on hand to help out with identification and other observational advice to all that needed some help.  Much appreciated I am sure by one and all.  And all this in the dry and the forecasted rain not appearing until I was already back in the car!

Birds see:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Pintail, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Buzzard, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Green Sandpiper, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldcrest, Nuthatch, Tree-creeper, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Bullfinch.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

Resting Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo

Magpie Pica pica

Tufted Ducks Aythya fuligula (4 females and two drakes)

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