Saturday 8 April 2023

Blashford Lakes & Eyeworth Pond

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

Saturday 8 April

A second beautiful sunny start to the day so straight off to Blashford Lakes near Ringwood in the New Forest.  Imagine my surprise, not being the first to arrive at the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water, but the fact that the overnight heavy mist had not cleared and visibility was down to less than thirty metres!  So, just a five minute stop where I could just about make out the nearby small, pebble island playing host to Black-headed Gulls, Lapwing, Shoveler and a Gadwall with a few Tufted Ducks between the island and the hide.

Over to the main reserve to wander the woods and other smaller lake whilst I waited for the sun to burn off the mist.  What a wealth of bird and starting my walk the bird song was almost deafening. Woodpigeons and Carrion Crows above and then very quickly recording Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Chiffchaff and both Blue and Great Tits.  Making my way towards the Ivy North Hide a very loud Song Thrush was singing from the top of a tall tree and a second on the ground as I entered the open area just before the hide.  Also present on this field a pair of Greylag Geese and as I entered the hide a pair of Canada Geese flew over.

One of the Greylag Geese Anser anser

On the water itself a single Mute Swan and a few Mallard along with Coot. behind me a Great Spotted Woodpecker was hammering away and a Cetti's Warbler called from close by. Very little in the wood itself other than a few Blue and Great Tits but approaching the Woodland Hide I managed to find a pair of Greenfinches and then a single Tree-creeperChaffinches and Dunnock were feeding on and under the feeders but best of all a pair of visiting Siskin.

Female Siskin Carduelis spinus

From Ivy South Hide I managed to find a good number of Black-headed Gulls along with both Gadwall and Shoveler plus a trio of resting Cormorants. A pair of distant Great Crested Grebes were going through their ritualistic courtship display but, unfortunately, not near enough to get a decent photo. So back to the car where I picked up another Wren followed by Coal Tit and Blackcap and then to the original Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water.

Visiting Black Swan Cygnus atratus

What a difference.  The mist had completely lifted and I could see the numerous gulls towards the back of the water; mainly Black-headed but also a few Herring and a pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Lots of Tufted Ducks and many Shovelers at the back.  Maybe a dozen resting Cormorants and a tightly-gathered flock of around forty Black-tailed Godwits on the distant island.  Above the trees I noticed the movement of a small flock of Rooks.

Canada Geese Branta canadensis with Gadwall Anas strepera, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus and Shoveler Anas clypeata 

However, there was also much to see nearer the hide as the small, pebbled island referred to at the start held a pair of Canada Geese along with both Gadwall and Shoveler and a couple of Oystercatchers.  Looking closer with the scope I also found  more Lapwing along with a number of Black-headed Gull.  But the main attraction was the arrival of a male Ring-necked Duck in the company of a trio of male and a single female Tufted Duck.  Not just one "exotic" but a second when I found the distant Black Swan at the back of the water.

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris with Black-headed Gull and Tufted Ducks

Meanwhile, just beyond the island a couple of Carrion Crows were foraging on the grassy bank and above them a pair of Little Ringed Plover.

Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

Time to find the recently-arrived Sand Martins so the long walk round to the Goosander HideBlackcaps, Blackbirds and Robins were singing loudly and revealing themselves and with the temperature rising the Sand Martins were moving upwards but not so far that one could not easily pick out at least a score or more.  On the water more Tufted Duck and a resting Cormorant. And noting a quartet of Jackdaw as I mad my way back to the car I was most pleased with the morning's visit. But then, making my way to Eyeworth Pond in Fritham, nearby Iblsey itself produced a pair of Magpies and a score of Starling feeding on a horse field.

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo

Once at Eyeworth Pond a very short stay of barely thirty minutes due to the number of holiday makers at the pond and in the area.  However, time to note many Blue and Great Tits along with a busy Marsh Tit and a number of ChaffinchesMallards on the water and a pair of Carrion Crows atop a tree on the far side before delighted to welcome a trio of House Sparrows and a lone Nuthatch as a Blackbird worked its way through the nearby bushes.

Birds seen:

Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Black Swan, Wigeon, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Ring-necked Duck, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Coot, Oystercatcher, Little Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cetti's Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin.

Male Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Dunnock Prunella modularis

Marsh Tit Parus palustris

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

Female and Male Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

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