|Blue Tit Parus caeruleus
Wednesday 21 December
Dry but very dull and gloomy as I set off for the New Forest, driving through Exbury (no winter thrushes to be seen) to the Solent shore at Lepe with the Isle of Wight looking very close across the water. The former had already produced both Jackdaw and Carrion Crow along with Wood Pigeons, Robin and Blackbirds but the "special" was the Meadow Pipit that landed on the grass at the left of the road. Once at the sea the tide was full in but there was a pair of Mute Swans and a Black-headed Gull on the pool to my left. Moving further along I added a pair of cock Pheasants and then, at my final stop before turning inland and back towards Exbury, a rapidly departing Redshank and a resting Kestrel atop a telephone pole immediately in front of me.
|Dunnock Prunella modularis
Next came the thirty minute drive north to Fritham to make a thirty minute stop at Eyeworth Pond where, to my delight, the cloud was breaking and the sun starting to make an appearance. Over two dozen Mallard on the water along with a single Moorhen and close to my parked car the visiting passerines expecting me to be the bearer of edible delights! Just the one Nuthatch but at least six Dunnocks and a couple of Robin plus Blackbird and a very small flock of Chaffinches. One Marsh Tit but a score of Blue and half that number of Great Tits.
|Coal Tit Parus ater
By 11.10 I was in the hide overlooking Ibsley Water at Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve. The sun was shining, the wind had disappeared and I spent a wonderful hour enjoying the bird life, even if most of the ducks and geese were at the far end and a scope was most definitely needed. First on the scene and near at hand were a good number of both Coots and Tufted Ducks along with a pair of Mallard immediately in front of the hide. However, it was once the scope was in position and I could take a look at the far back of the water that I found the birds, and many there were. Not just more Coots and Tufted Ducks but also many Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail plus a few Gadwall. Most were either on or behind one of the small islands at the back so some searching to find a small number of Common Pochard to the left and a pair of Red-crested Pochard behind the central island. In front of the latter I also one first a female then the male Goldeneye. The Goosander was far more elusive and remained well hidden at the back of the left-hand island until I was about to leave.
|Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
But not just ducks as there a score or more Canada Geese and almost two score of Egyptian Geese. But, perhaps, best of all, a couple of sleeping Barnacle Geese alongside the Canadas. Also present but required detailed searching a single Black-necked Grebe; thank goodness there were four scopes concentrating on the specific area at the back. Such searching also produced a single Heron and a resting Goshawk, almost no more than a "blob" in a tree about a metre or so above the water line. No chance for me to get to look through my neighbour's scope s the raptor decided there were better places to rest between hunting.
|Record shot of distant sleeping Barnacle Geese Branta leucopsis
In addition to the above there were a dozen Cormorant and a small number of Lapwing resting on the islands whilst a large gull flock rested nearby. Lots of Herring along with many Lesser Black-backed and even a couple of Great Black-backed Gulls. Half a dozen Mute Swans and in the top of the large trees above the Goshawk the local Starlings. Time to move over the Visitors Centre and check out the other side of the reserve finding a Little Grebe as I departed.
Very little to see from the Ivy North Hide other than more Gadwall and Wigeon and the walk through the trees was even more disappointing with just a singe Chaffinch and couple of Blue Tits. I had hoped for a good selection of small birds once ensconced in the Woodland Hide but, sadly again, very disappointing. Here there is just the one opening window and the seat with a view already occupied. the other non-opening windows were all steamed up on the outside so no chance really of seeing anything. I did note the many Dunnock and no shortage of Blue and Great Tits along with a Blackbird and a couple of Chaffinches with the lone Greenfinch the pick of the passerines. The outside feeder had been more productive n producing both Coal Tit and Nuthatch but, on this occasion, neither Siskin nor Redpoll and certainly no sign of any Brambling as yet.
|Find the Gadwall Anas strepera, Wigeon Anas penelope, Coot Fulica atra and Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
The walk down to the Ivy South Hide was generally quiet but once in the hide in time to see the Kingfisher resting in the reeds away to my left and plenty of Wigeon and Gadwall about along with a few Black-headed Gulls and more Cormorants. Working my way ack to the car I added both Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon and the return drive to the main road via Ibsley itself produced both a large flock of Black-headed Gulls in the hamlet and the resident Jackdaws. And no rain - which was more than can be said for those back in Warsash!
|Pair of Wigeon Anas penelope
Canada Goose, Barnacle Goose, Mute Swan, Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cormorant, Heron, Goshawk, Kestrel, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Starling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch.
|Male Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
|Great Tit Parus major
|Robin Erithacus rubecula along with the holly
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