Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Glossy Ibis and Kingfisher

A fantastic day's birding with Martin Peacock, visiting deepest Hampshire once again. Today's aim was to collect a few year ticks, particularly the long staying Glossy Ibis and Great White Egret at Bickerley Common. Just as before, we dipped on the GWE but the Glossy was home and not as far away as previous, but still distant.

I had just unshipped my scope from the tripod and replaced it with the camera when there was a blue flash and a Kingfisher landed on the steel girders of the bridge, no time for any adjustments just point and shoot. Of the series, two shots were acceptable. A great shame it didn't hang around longer.

No leafy branches or wooden posts - a real "industrial" setting

Next to the stream were singles of Black Tailed Godwit and Green Sandpiper and of course  an obliging Grey Wagtail

Feeling fairly buoyed up by a good start we progressed to Blashford Lakes. From the Tern Hide on Ibsley lake we managed to find Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard, Goldeneye, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck and a single female Goosander. On the way out from the hide two Mistle Thrushes were on the grass next to the car park, year ticks coming from every which way.

Moving over to the Visitor Centre we found most of the usual suspects. The North hide on Ivy lake, home of the obliging Bittern, was jam packed so we gave it a miss, after all we already had a Bittern on the year list! The Woodland Hide gave us most of the finches and Siskin, Brambling, Lesser Redpoll and a show off Great Spotted Woodpecker. A gentle walk around the rear of the VC gave us sight of many Siskins, another Brambling and a mobile Treecreeper.

Onward in to the Forest,north of the A31 via Cadnam Pool gave us more Mistle Thrushes and several Fieldfares. Eyeworth Pond at Fritham is always worth a visit, even if it is only to wonder at the amount of Marsh Tits that are resident here, most visitors take bird food and the birds come very close. In addition there are many Coal Tits and Nuthatches. On the island, hidden in the undergowth were several Mandarins, at least three males present.
On leaving Fritham we were treated to a low fly by of a Buzzard and on the way to Lakeside CP at Eastleigh we spotted perched Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. The visit to Lakeside was specifically to find a Hawfinch but yet again we dipped on this elusive bird. However,  bacon sandwiches and large mugs of steaming hot tea in the cafe went a long way to lessening our disappointment. On the way home we called in at Warningcamp to sight 24 Bewick's Swans - what a great day.

At the end of the day my list stood at 69 species seen and 3 species heard, giving me 17 year ticks and a total of 104 in the first two weeks of January - but who's counting!!!.

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