Friday 24 February 2023

New Forest Birding

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Thursday 23 February

A morning n the New Forest in dry but cloudy weather and a horrible light cold breeze that reduced the just about double figure temperature by three or four degrees.  On my way to Bashford Lakes near Ringwood I stopped for thirty minutes at Eyeworth Pond by taking the northern route via Fritham and Fordingbridge.  Even though parked right next to the water I had to eventually get out of the car as two wandering Forest donkeys decided an open window meant food was on offer!

As ell as a Nuthatch and many more Chaffinches than usual, there was a plentiful supply of tits with mainly Blue and Great abut also single Coal and Marsh Tits.  The foraging Dunnocks were joined by Robins and a couple of Blackbirds whilst on the water over a dozen Mallards and a lone Heron resting on the far bank.  Looking behind me I managed to locate both Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow and as I was about to depart a male Goosander flew in and proceeded to bathe and ret before making its exit about five minutes later.  And as I left the site a quartet of Jackdaws on the power lines above.

Male Goosander Mergus merganser

Approaching the Blashford Lakes reserve at least thirty foraging Rooks in the neighbouring field and a pair of Mute Swans on the river opposite.  Straight to the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water and the weather now very dull and cold with choppy waters.  No shortage of Coot and a few Tufted Ducks but the use of the scope revealed the main flocks of both the above along with almost an hundred Shoveler, a few Gadwall and a handful of Pintails.  Indeed, the far island held half a dozen resting Cormorant and a couple of Lapwing.

I did eventually find a quartet of Great Crested Grebe along with a small number of Wigeon and a good mixed raft of gulls, mainly Black-headed and Herring but also a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Moving across the road the the wooded part of the reserve the Ivy North Hide produced nothing knew other than a couple of Mute Swans on site plus more Wigeon.  As I moved on through the trees I encountered a small number of Blue Tits, Siskin and Goldfinches before entering the Woodland Hide.

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Having recorded a Wren on the approach, once inside the hide it again, as with Eyeworth, it became evident that there were far more Chaffinches about than on my last visit.  Also a plentiful supply of both Goldfinches and Greenfinches and certainly many more Siskins.  

Siskins Carduelis spinus (male bottom left, female top right)

Makin a rare appearance a couple of Blackbirds along with both Robin and Dunnock.  But, perhaps, the delight of this stay was the appearance of a Great Spotted Woodpecker at the feeding station beyond the plastic window, so chance of a photo.

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Next came the walk down between the waters to the Ivy South Hide but first a stop to study the and photograph the resting Kingfisher on the edge of a thick bush in the middle of the small pool to my right.  What a lovely sight with its blue feathers shining brightly.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

From the hide a few more Cormorants and a handful of Black-headed Gulls but mainly more Wigeon and Shoveler.  A Heron was resting near the end of the reedbed and immediately above it a Little Egret had come to rest in a tree.  To its right as I looked I also found an immature Cormorant hiding behind the wooded branches and looking for all the world like some kind of raptor as seen through bins rather than scope.  Enlarged photos soon showed the true colours of the bird.

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

And then, thinking about what was missing, a Moorhen wandered out of the reeds immediately to my left and as I returned to the smaller pool, where I had seen the Kingfisher, at last a couple of Mallards.  And as I walked back and made a short return visit to the Woodland Hide, a single Long-tailed Tit obliged me with its presence.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta above Heron Ardea cinerea

But on this occasion, before departing I wandered across the track to follow the path to yet another water, Ellingham Lake, and was rewarded with a pair of Mute Swan and a Magpie. A couple of Canada Geese flew over and once back in the car I managed to ad both Jackdaw and House Sparrows as I made my departure.

Birds seen:

Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Goosander, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Little Egret, Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Rock Dove, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Long-tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin.

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Goosander Mergus merganser

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

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