Thursday 10th April 2014
My first Common Tern of the year over Ibsley Water.
I spent most of the day in the New Forest area, seeing clients and of course, a spot of birding just couldn’t be helped. Blashford Lakes was on the cards, as some interesting birds were noted yesterday and to round it off, a quick visit to Eyeworth Pond. The weather looked good today with sunshine and light winds, so no coat and in fact, no jumper. Terrific.
Drake Gadwall in front of the Tern Hide at Blashford Lakes.
As well as the usual Canada and Grey Lag Geese, there were at least 8 EgyptiaN Geese present around the fringes of Ibsley Water.
My day kicked off with a check of the moth box in the back garden. Moth numbers have gone back to single numbers again with just one Early Grey and two Light-brown Apple Moths. However, it was the song of a Willow Warbler that grabbed my attention, as the bird was feeding in next doors Holly Tree, until flying off north. Apparently, there was one almighty fall of Willow Warblers on the south coast as I found quite a few today and even when I got home at 7pm today, there were two in the back garden!
A close up of the Adder near the Lapwing Hide. What a gorgeous creature.
On the way back from the Lapwing Hide, the Adder had uncoiled itself in the warm sunshine.
After my first appointment, I made my way to Blashford Lakes, kicking off with the Tern Hide first of all. I passed a fellow birder from in the car park who told me that very little was here. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t take what people say as Gospel. From the Hide, my first Common Tern of the year was seen sat on the spit with Cormorants and a couple of Gulls. But one of the Cormorants flapped its wings and put up the Tern. It was later seen fishing over Ibsley Water several times during my stay.
My first Speckled Wood butterfly of the year.
A small flock of Sand Martins flew up from the sunken bush near the spit and flew off east and on the water, pick of the wildfowl were the three Goldeneye; still present at the far side of the Lake (a drake and two females). Yesterday, a drake Green-winged Teal was present, seen from the Lapwing Hide, but there was no sign of the bird with just one lone Eurasian Teal trying its hardest to be American! There was also a possible American Wigeon here last week but it looks as though it was a hybrid. Good numbers of Great Crested Grebes were seen on the water, with many pairing up doing their courtship displays. The vast majority of wildfowl present were Tufted Duck, although a few Shoveler and Wigeon were present.
This Song Thrush allowed me a close approach near the Woodland Hide.
An elderly couple came into the Hide and sat next to me. Before long, the lady next to me found a smart male Wheatear sat happily on the spit. Nearby, three Egyptian Geese were dozing in the sunshine, while several more were seen around the Lake. There was no sign of any Little Ringed Plovers (groan) but a small flock of four summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwits were on the west side.
My first Marsh Tit of the year at Eyeworth Pond.
I wanted to try my luck from the Lapwing Hide and so I took the long walk to the Hide to hopefully relocate the Green-winged Teal. Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were abundant along the footpath and there was also good numbers of butterflies present, which included Peacock, Speckled Wood (first of the year) and Brimstone. As I was nearing the Hide, I noticed someone with a camera pointing towards the ground. As I met up with him, he pointed out my first Adder of the year, all coiled up and so, after a nice chat with the guy, I made my way to the Hide.
Three of the eight drake Mandarins on Eyeworth Pond.
I never had my scope with me and though I saw the Common Tern in the distance, all was rather distant and so I retuned back to the car and then headed off to the Woodland Hide. I had met some ladies in the Lapwing Hide earlier who told me that a male Brambling was seen from the Woodland Hide today, therefore I wouldn’t mind looking at one of these in Spring plumage. Blackcaps must have been everywhere and I even saw a female bird with the male singing its heart out to attract the bird.
Willow Warbler by Eyeworth Pond.
I didn’t go inside the Hide (a lot of kids around today) as I watched from the fence. From here, I checked among the Chaffinches for the Brambling, but there was no sign of the bird. A couple of Nuthatches were seen well as well as a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers. My first Orange Tip butterfly was seen flying past me but wouldn’t settle on the ground long enough for a photo. But plenty of Brimstones and Peacocks on the wing.
I took this photo of this Bumble-bee collecting nectar from this flowering Willow by Eyeworth Pond.
Before I headed off to Romsey, I took a quick detour to Eyeworth Pond. I tried earlier this year with John Goodall to year tick the Marsh Tits here but failed, but I was a bit luckier today. Arriving around 4pm, I was first treated to a small flock of 8 drake Mandarins on the Pond. Though some will consider them as ‘plastic’, they certainly are a smart bird. By the bushes, there was plenty of activity with Blue Tits and Nuthatches coming down to search for food. Then, after a short wait, a couple of Marsh Tits came down and showed well until flying into nearby trees. This rounded off my trip here perfectly and so I headed off to Romsey for my last appointment for the day. Click below for a video of a singing Blackcap at Blashford Lakes.
Blackcap in song at Blashford Lakes.