Thursday 31 March 2022

Testwood Lakes

 Wednesday 30 March

At Testwood Lakes in Totton on the western outskirts of Southampton by 8.30 for a couple of hours birding during which I hoped to find the recently-seen Garganey, but it was not to be.  On the other hand. I did manage to record 35 species.  As I was about to turn off to the M27 at Junction 2 for the nearby lakes I noticed the usual small group of Mute Swans in adjacent field and, on this occasion, also a small flock of Rooks.  Fortunately, I was accompanied by the promised dry but cloudy weather following yesterday's light rain with more and of the same and colder weather setting in from this evening.

Having parked the car at the main, lower, car park I immediately had a couple of Carrion Crows drifting around and no end of both Robins and Song Thrushes singing at full blast.  And soon I was also seeing both bird species.  As I set off on an anti-clockwise walk around the min Testwood Lake a couple of Wood Pigeons and a pair of Black-headed Gulls on the neighbouring Little Testwood Lake.   Meanwhile, on the main lake, a few Great Crested Grebes along with Coot, Mallard and more Back-headed Gulls.

Song Thrush Turdus iliacus

Taking the footpath towards the River Blackwater to walk to the first of two screens overlooking the lakes I encountered both Robin and Blackbird followed by a pair of Long-tailed and a single Great Tits. A lone Mistle Thrush was singing from the very top of an almost bare tree and a Chaffinch was foraging below. Having also recorded Goldfinches I stopped at the first screen overlooking The Scrapes to discover most of the Wigeon flock on the other side along with a number of Lapwing.  A little further on a pair of Canada Geese and a handful of Shoveler.

Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

The Chiffchaffs and Great Tits were in full song as I carried, having noted a pair of Teal from the second screen and then a Dunnock on the path in front of me.  On through the trees and eventually I arrived at the first of the two hides from where the Sand Martin Hide gave a good view over the pool and top end of the Scrapes.  More Shoveler, a couple of Tufted Duck and a few Gadwall plus Great Crested Grebes before carrying on the Heron Hide at the northern end of the reserve.  All very quiet here other than a couple of Mallard and a Coot until I saw my first Swallow of the year glide over the water.

Back to the Sand Martin Hide for a longer stay and was rewarded with a handful of Sand Martins which had already started to checkout the nest boxes in the artificially sand bank.  Over to the right a trio of Ringed Plovers and on one of the shingle beds a pair of Oystercatchers had started their nesting preparations.  Plenty of Lapwings about and even a Little Grebe away to the right.  However, the highlight was the trio of Grey Wagtails foraging at the water's edge near the Sand Martin nesting site.

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus with two Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula

Back via the Visitors Centre to the bottom car park accompanied by calling Blue Tits and more Blackbirds and Robins along with a quartet of Magpies.  Approaching the Sea Scouts headquarters a pair of Herring Gulls were resting atop a light post and on the neighbouring post  a single Lesser Black-backed Gull.  And on the [pontoon next to the shore a fourth Grey Wagtail came to rest for a minute or so, immediately after turning off the camera! But just in time for me to eventually get a record shot.  Into the car and had to wait until the Collared Dove decided moving was a better option than being spread flat and as I moved off a Jay crossed the lane.

Record shot of Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Coot, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Jay, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch.

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