Sunday, 27 November 2022

New Forest Birding

 Saturday 26 November

With the forecast suggesting dry and cloudy for the morning I decided to visit my three regular sites in the New Forest but, on this occasion, leaving Fishlake Meadow till last on the way home in case I had already found all the expected birds at this site.  That was, indeed, to be the outcome so first to Eyeworth Pond near Fritham followed by Blashford Lakes just outside Ringwood.

Female Goosander Mergus merganser
Goosanders Mergus merganser with the male on right

Arriving at Eyeworth just after 8.30 I had already recorded Starling, Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow as I approached the water.  Then, driving along the waterside track to park the I followed the pair of Goosander that were making their way to the far end.   Only just in time to get a shot of the drake as it disappeared behind the reeds but the "Redhead" was more obliging delaying her departure for a few more minutes.  All around over thirty Mallards looking forward to visitors to throw food and at the water's edge in front of me numerous Blue Tits along with a smaller number of Great and a couple of Marsh Tits.  Just the one Nuthatch noted but plenty of Chaffinches along with occasional House Sparrow, Dunnock and Robin.  Lots of Blackbirds about this morning.  In the distance a calling Pheasant and then a pair of Moorhen climbed out of the water to forage in front of me.  Time to drive across the open forest to Fordingbridge and on down to Blashford lakes finding a small flock of Jackdaws as I left and then a couple of Magpies.

Marsh Tit Parus palustris
Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Dunnock Prunella modularis

Arriving at Blashford Lakes straight to the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water.  All seemed relatively quiet at this end of the water albeit hundreds of Coot but not a single wader or small bird.  A few Pochard were feeding relatively close by and once checking the water I found a ready supply of Tufted Duck.  It took the scope to find the very distant pair of Goldeneye and a lone Great Crested Grebe.

Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Once concentrating on the far end I found a large flock of Canada and maybe a score of Greylag Geese.  Whereas usually I find scores of Egyptian Geese on this occasion just a handful.  Behind the islands which held many resting Cormorant a few Mute Swans and plenty of Wigeon and Shoveler along with more Coots and Tufted Ducks.  

Mainly Canada Geese Branta canadensis (left) and Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo

Also present a couple of Herring and a large number of resting Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Finally, just as I was about to move across to the main section of the reserve a Great White Egret flew across the water to my right.

Passing Great White Egret Egretta alba

Once parked in the main car park I headed over to the Ivy North Hide but no sign of the recently arrived Bittern.  A handful of Long-tailed Tits were feeding n the neighbouring trees and the first Carrion Crow drifted over the trees in front of me. Very little on the water save a few Mallard and the occasional passing Black-headed Gull so off through the woods, noting both Blackbird and Blue Tit, to the Woodland Hide.  Again, most disappointing with very few birds about albeit no shortage of either Blue or Great Tit.  A number of feeding Chaffinches and a couple of Dunnock plus a Robin just about summed it up.

Walking down to the Ivy South Hide a quartet of Mallard on the small pool to my right and a Marsh Harrier drifted southwards above me.  Once at the hide evidence of the very many Wigeon along with more Tufted Duck and a few Cormorants.  More Black-headed Gulls to be seen and at the far end a trio of Little Egrets accompanying another Great White Egret.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

Time to make my way back plus revisiting the three previous hides. The Woodand Hide produced a Marsh Tit feeding on the approach feeder and a third Great White Egret was resting opposite the Ivy North Hide.  More Wood Pigeons moving about as I made my way back to the car for a final look at the Tern Hide.  Nothing to add but informed if I had remained in this hide a further thirty minutes, I would have seen the White-tailed Eagle that flew across the water putting up every bird in sight!  Such is birding.

Distant Great White Egret Egretta alba

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Brent Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Teal, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Heron, Marsh Harrier, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch.

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Female House Sparrow Passer domesticus with Blue Tit above and female Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs below

Moorhen Galinula chloropus

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

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