Sunday 31 December 2023

New Forest Birding

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

31 December 2023

last day pf the year and decided to take a chance on visiting the New Forest where, at least, there should be some shelter from any strong winds.  Just bout to depart and a heavy shower so a fifteen minute delay then clearing clouds and some bright sunshine as I made my way to the Minstead area on the north-western area of the New Forest.  Whilst passing the Test flood plain a handful of Little Egret, Mute Swans and Black-headed Gulls on the flooded area.  Arriving at Mark Ash Wood, no sooner had I retrieved my walking boots from the boot than a heavy shower commenced.  Rather than walking this area I had a car tour, including Acres Down, with intermittent stops where I noted good-sized flocks of Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Robin.

With the clouds clearing and a blue sky accompanied by bright sunshine above, I decided to make my way over to Blashford Lakes and commenced my stay with a visit to the wooded area.  Robin, Blue TitGoldfinch and Dunnock recorded before reaching the Woodland Hide where I quickly added all again plus Chaffinch, Greenfinch Siskin and Blackbird.  The arrival of a pair of Long-tailed Tits was a pleasant addition.

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

On down to the Ivy South Hide noting the dozen Mallard on the water to my right plus a passing Herring Gull.  Lots of ducks to be seen from the hide including many Wigeon and Shoveler plus Gadwall, Pochard, Mallard and Teal.  Lots of basking Cormorant but just the one Great Crested Grebe.  A few Herring plus a single Lesser Black-backed to add to the resident Black-headed Gulls. And on this occasion many Coot on this water.

A few of the hundreds of ducks on Ibsley Water including Wigeon Anas penelope and Pintail A.acuta

Calling in once more on the Woodland Hide produced a Nuthatch then on to the Ivy North Hide where in addition to Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon and Coot a single male Goosander was noted.  And no sooner had I seen the Goosander than a Kingfisher flashed past the hide.

Male Goosander Mergus merganser

Finally, across the road to the Tern Hide overlooking Ibsley Water where I found hundreds of ducks plus a large number of Coot and a half-dozen Cormorant.  Mainly Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler but also a few Mallard and good number of Tufted Duck.  I did not see any of the four Goldeneye presently in residence but did see the pair of Goosanders.  Just the one Grey Heron and a single Canada Goose noted.  Leaving the water I mad my way along the lane to the small hamlet and found a large flock of Jackdaw plus a single Rook and a quintet of House Sparrows.  A couple of Woodpigeon and I was off across the narrow lane to Fritham and its Eyeworth Pond.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Just a thirty minute stop at Eyweworth Pond having seen the single Carrion Crow as I approached.  Fourteen Mallards on the water and a resting Heron on the far bank.  With so much food on offer (I wonder who puts this out each day?), the small birds soon arrived once I had parked up and had my camera ready for whatever put in an appearance.  In addition to a few House Sparrows and Dunnocks, I recorded Robin, Nuthatch, lots of Chaffinches and plenty of Blue, not so many Great and both Marsh and Coal Tits.  But not forgetting the Great Spotted Woodpecker that put in a brief appearance.

Coal Tit Parus ater

Birds seen:

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

Blue Tit Parus caeruleus

Gadwall Anas strepera

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus

Marsh Tit Parus palustris

Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Goldfinch with Nuthatch

Nuthatch about to be "bombed" by an arriving Blue Tit

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Male Siskin Carduelis spinus

Make and female Siskin Carduelis spinus

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