Good start to the year…

The new year began at Hill Head, bright and early, with Ken Martin as we started our new lists. Snow bunting, long-tailed duck, decent flock of eider and a few common scoter, the highlights, with the rest of the day spent enjoying the commoner species, including a couple of chiffchaffs. The days that followed, too, were mostly spent on patch trying to clock up a few more species. One key species I was hoping for was water pipit; something I’d seen reported regularly, so decided to target what seemed like their favoured areas, and had also been given suggestions for other species to target. Posbrook seemed to be the main area to focus on. For those who don’t know, it’s around the first bridge you reach after heading south from the Bridge Street car park. Posbrook Floods is the (usually) flooded area to the left of the bridge – that’s where the reserve boundary begins – and over the bridge on the right is a pony field.

The pony field seemed rather productive, with many redwing, song thrush and a mistle thrush, alongside 46 black-tailed godwits, 6 curlew and more, but to begin with, no pipits. For most of the week, this seemed to be a recurring theme, other than the occasional flyover meadow pipit, and Posbrook Flood yielded none too. The Floods are, however, the best place for pintail on patch. Thankfully, one final trip on Saturday 7th was pleasantly successful. It was a warmer day (maybe that helped; I suppose lots of ice on the cold days didn’t), and numerous pipits were feeding in the pony field, including one lovely water pipit! There have been as many as 6 seen along the canal path itself this winter but I could only manage one. Still, only my 2nd (my first was at Farlington Marshes in 2014) and great views. Typically, it disappeared before Mark Rolfe and Ken arrived, and a good search to relocate it, or others, seemed to fail. One final trip? Ah well, that’s because it was time to pause birding at Titchfield Haven (unusually for me) and head north… So, patch year list up to 86, with water pipit being the first full patch tick of the year.

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Water Pipit, Posbrook, 7th January 2017 – finally!

A new venture began on 8th, which was mostly spend in the car travelling to up Lincolnshire. Arriving at Frampton late afternoon, there was just enough time to visit the reserve and watch the starling and pink-footed geese come into roost. I didn’t really have much time to explore, but was impressed by the shear number of birds. Must’ve been thousands of wigeon by the car park alone, and thousands of waders on the scrapes!

Why am I in Lincolnshire, neglecting my beloved patch? Well, the RSPB offer residential volunteering opportunities, and as Frampton Marsh was one place I’d always wanted to visit, it was too good an opportunity to turn down. I also wanted to escape for a bit. This is where I’m based for the time being, and it’s lovely: tree sparrows in the garden, living on a farm, nature reserve on the doorstep (almost), oh and a lovely waxwing from the office on 9th! A real contrast to the suburbs of Fareham. It’s really interesting to see how areas differ, sad on one sense (as some of the differences are due to local extinction, declines etc) but also exciting to explore the new area. During the week I didn’t get much chance to explore the reserve(s) as we were busy carrying out various tasks (mostly fence repairs and path maintenance at this time of year), although birding was squeezed in throughout the day. The work is split between Frampton Marsh and Freiston Shore, a smaller site near by.

I’d chosen to stay local for my first weekend in Lincolnshire, so began 14th bright and early at Marsh Farm Reservoir, the south west corner of the reserve. This was where the waxwing had been on 9th and 10th, with other highlight during early morning sessions including goldeneye and turnstone. I decided to walk the southern edge of the reserve boundary as it was the section I’d not visited yet, and was well worth it for the small number of yellowhammers, a merlin and good views of a marsh harrier over the salt marsh of the Wash. Another highlight was an avocet feeding on the North Scrape. One thing I’d been impressed with since arriving was the sheer number of birds – thousands of wildfowl and waders, far more than I’m using to seeing at Titchfield Haven, and great to see.

While birding, I bumped into Ryan Clark, a fellow AFON member and we decided to take a break from Frampton to head over to Kirkby on Bain where a ring-necked duck had been reported during the week. The bird was still present on one of the gravel pits, though often difficult to see but a helpful local birder pointed it out to us, and after a while it briefly woke up and drifted further out into the pit, providing us with much better views. There was also a lovely male scaup, a species I don’t see often – an added bonus! Returning to Frampton after a late lunch, we made it back in time to see the starling murmuration and the whooper swans coming to roost. It was also nice to see a small flock of pink-footed geese.

The following morning (15th) began with the Wetland Birds Survey. I joined Toby Collett which gave me a chance to explore another section of Frampton – the 3km stretch of the Haven, leading to Tabbs Head and the Wash. The rain wasn’t particularly pleasant (and I discovered my waterproofs need reproofing!) but it was a good session, with 2 Bewick’s  and 70 Whooper Swans, 4 short-eared owls appearing over the saltmarsh, jack snipe, water rail, 2 spotted redshank and red-breasted merganser on the sea. Pre-work sessions have been pleasant too, with 9 yellowhammers and little owl on 17th and 8 white-fronted geese on 18th.

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White-fronted Geese, Freiston Shore, 18th January 2017

21st dawned and it was time for a twitch, this time Derbyshire bound. The dusky thrush had been present at Beeley for well over a month, but Simon Wilson, Simon Knight and I hadn’t made it over there yet. On arrival we were told the bird hadn’t been seen, but we had come to it’s usual spot so decided to start there while other birders went to look elsewhere. This turned out to be a good move when Simon K set up his scope and within seconds found he was looking at the dusky thrush, feeding on the ground; the first lifer of the year! Distant views, but good enough with a scope.

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Dusky Thrush, Beeley, 21st January 2017

With a couple hours of daylight remaining I headed back over to Frampton Marsh to enjoy 6 marsh harriers over the saltmarsh, merlin, peregrine, a good starling murmuration, the whooper swans coming to roost, and my highlight – a hen harrier quartering over the reedbed! It was the first hen harrier I’d seen for two years, having not managed to connect with any in Hampshire. It wasn’t long before I saw another, this time at Freiston Shore on 23rd, while carrying out surveys with Simon K. We surveyed the area of managed realignment, and the arable fields, recording anything we saw while walking through them. Highlights included great views of a hen harrier, short-eared owl, jack snipe and plenty of tree sparrows.

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Spot the Hen Harrier, causing mayhem over Freiston!

A white-billed diver had turned up on the river Witham near Woodhall Spa on 20th, coincidently in exactly the same stretch of river as another individual back in the ’90s, but with my weekend filled with out of county twitching – first that dusky thrush, and then dipping the Yorkshire pine bunting the following afternoon – I didn’t have a chance to go. We ran out of time again on Monday, but thankfully Tuesday (24th) all went according to plan, and so I had a chance to enjoy the diver after a long walk along by the river to relocate it that afternoon. It was fantastic, and I’m not convinced I’ll ever get as good or better views of any diver species any time soon!

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White-billed Diver, Stixwould, 24th January 2017

I’d been in contact with Dave Wallace while up at Frampton, particularly as the temptation for a weekend at home grew. Birds to see (oh, and family and friends!). Dave mentioned the possibility of a twitch, allowing me another chance to try for a pine bunting, and with a few other things to do as well, I headed back. My first port of call once home was Hill Head  for 6 scaup that had been offshore for the best part of a week. Arriving before dawn on 27th, I was treated to rather distant views from the Meonshore chalets – still good enough for a much desired patch tick! Other than a brief appearance in November 2016 (which I missed), it’s been many years since scaup had been reported at the Haven. 

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Scaup, Hill Head, 27th January 2017

It was then time to meet up with Alan Butler and Dave, and head off to Kent for round 2 (for me) of the pine bunting. Finding the location proved challenging, but thanks to Google maps we were soon stood on the seawall with a number of other birders. Not long after arriving, the bird briefly perched up on a hawthorn bush, but didn’t stay long enough for everyone to see it or get ‘tickable’ views. Feeling unsatisfied, and hoping for more views, we agreed to make the most of the afternoon and stay put which paid off. About an hour later, another birder noticed the bunting was frequenting a different tree by a hedgerow, showing on and off regularly for a good half hour or so (we did have better views than my poor photo too!).

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Pine Bunting, Milton Creek, 27th January 2017 – we did get better views too!

It felt a bit like Deja vu the next morning (28th), as Ken and I headed off to attempt to twitch another bunting, this time a little bunting on Portsdown Hill. A very rare bird in Hampshire, where I believe the last ‘twitchable’ bird was in 1992. As expected, it wasn’t easy, but we did get brief views (a couple of seconds!) when it occasionally perched in a bush with reed buntings. It was also nice to enjoy the yellowhammers, a bird I don’t see often in the county. The afternoon was spent in Basingstoke as news of waxwings had broken while in Kent yesterday, and thankfully they’d hung around. On arrival, I was told the bird had flown a few minutes earlier, but was promised they’d return, which they did – and very nice too. 4 lovely waxwing as the light started to fade! My first in Hampshire, and having only previously seen 2, it was great to spend time watching the small group.

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One of four Waxwings in Basingstoke, 28th January 2017

Before returning to Frampton, I headed to Hill Head for dawn and enjoyed 6 scaup, long-tailed duck and 30 eider on the sea, and paid a visit to the long staying snow bunting that was still hanging about the harbour spit – impressive species tally! A quick scan of Rainbow Bar yielded a good mix of waders including bar-tailed godwit, greenshank, grey plover, ringed plover, dunlinsanderling and 4 curlew. It’s hard to stay away from a site that’s brought much happiness over the years. 

 

Shetland 2016

9th-16th October

An awesome week with Sean Foote, Matt Phelps and Ed Stubbs. The conditions looked fantastic, and we were hyped having closely followed the previous week’s news. We had hoped the White’s thrush, lanceolated warbler and brown shrike, among other species would stay, but certainly no complains with what we saw instead!

Arriving in Aberdeen mid-afternoon on 9th,  an excellent half hour was spent wandering around the harbour where the highlight for me was a humpback whale that breeched a few times, fairly close in offshore! The first whale I’d ever seen in British waters. It was much easier to catch up with than we expected, as upon getting out of the car and looking through the binoculars I remarked, “Is that it?” and so it was. Then the pager went off “Siberian Accentor Mainland NE of Sousburgh…” – bloody hell; a first for Britain!! Amazingly, it stayed the night, so our first stop after disembarking was a quarry by Sousburgh. It was awesome to see and hear the Siberian accentor and the views were great; something I’ll never forget. Over an hour was well spent enjoying the bird. What a fantastic start to the week! 

The day continued with good fortune – Matt picked up a Richard’s Pipit flying over the cottage (sadly during the brief moment I was inside so I missed it) and a yellow-browed warbler passed through the garden. A walk around Papil, West Burra, where we were staying, was great too with a bluethroat in a nearby garden alongside many twite. Next stop was a buff-breasted sandpiper (a lifer for me) at Boddam, a trip to Tesco’s, Scalloway for a rose-coloured starling, followed by a mad dash to Bressa when news broke of a black-faced bunting at Gunnista! Relocating the bird wasn’t easy, and in the end the decision was taken for someone to try flushing it, so brief flight views were had as it flew over our heads calling. 2 ‘megas’ in a day can’t happen very often, surely?!

We tried to balance our time between covering the local area around Papil, exploring different sites and twitching other rarer birds. The walks around Papil have proved fruitful, with the Richard’s Pipit hanging about (yay, lifer for me!) and finding an olive-backed pipit on 11th. We also had a probable eastern yellow wagtail fly over calling on 11th, though sadly lost the bird so couldn’t confirm; just one of those that got away. The commoner species have been interesting too, with twite and brambling making a daily appearance. A pool viewable from our cottage contained a small number of wildfowl – mute swans, mallard, teal and wigeon, as well as redshank and plenty of snipe. The field surrounding our cottage were alive with greylag geesecurlew, golden plover, more snipe and many meadow pipits, while the coastal waters provided us with good views of black guillemot, razorbill, red-breasted mergansers and even otters. We were also rather chuffed to have a great skua flyover the cottage one morning – wouldn’t that be nice in standard suburbia!

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Papil, West Burra – the view from our cottage

Other trips on Shetland during 11th yielded a wheatear, red-breasted flycatcher and 2 little bunting at Dale of Walls, Ortolan bunting and 2 yellow-browed warblers at Hillwell, and fantastic views of short-eared owl as it flew over the car, among other species.   

After our daily wander around Papil, the first stop on 12th was the Loch of Spiggie for wildfowl, and we weren’t disappointed with highlights being whooper swans, scaup, 4 long-tailed duck, goldeneye, 2 Slavonian grebes and a single common scoter. Continuing to explore the area we wandered along Spiggie beach where 4 stunning summer plumage great northern divers were out in the bay. The original plan for the rest of the day was to head south, towards Sumburgh Head. Stopping at Virkie, a scan of the beach yielded large numbers of dunlin and bar-tailed godwits, and a red-throated diver offshore, while another of those probable eastern yellow wagtails flew over and was later relocated nearby. The pager then kindly informed us of an arctic warbler at Baltasound on Unst, a target species for all of us so the plan quickly changed.

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Arctic Warbler, Baltasound, 12th October

The journey up to Unst was worth it, for the bird showed very well (but was silent) and the scenery was lovely too. We only had a couple of hours to spend there so tried making the most of it. Merlin, Siberian & common chiffchaffs, yellow-browed warbler, blackcap, lesser whitethroat and our first fieldfare of autumn were the best we could do while searching for (and dipping) a Hornemann’s arctic redpoll not far from the arctic warbler.

Returning south towards Sumburgh Head the following day (13th), gave us a chance to explore it further. It was great to enjoy fulmars up close, something you don’t get much in the Solent, and also a pink-footed goose in a field at Grutness (again, not a species one would expect in the Solent!). Razorbills, black guillemot, eider and a red-throated diver were offshore – a seawatch I could only dream of on patch.

13th continued with a trip over to South Collafirth to connect with a rather showy (but hard to photograph) pallas‘s warbler flitting about in the trees with 3 yellow-browed warblers and a chaffinch. Travelling towards the south, we stopped at Kergord to check the plantations we’d spotted on the map. A nice spot which seemed worth exploring further, although our short check yielded only a few yellow-browed warblers, including a rather dull individual that may in fact be a Hume’s warbler but was sadly silent while we watched it.

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A dull Yellow-browed/Hume’s Warbler that was sadly silent (from Sean Foote’s video)

Our next target, pallid harrier, wasn’t quite so cooperative. We made to attempts to see the pallid harrier by the Loch of Hillwell, neither of which were successful (except for Ed, who managed to catch a glimpse of it one morning). However, our evening by the loch wasn’t all that fruitless with 4 shoveler, a lesser black-backed gull and a reed bunting by the loch, and a very interesting flycatcher in the fields by one house in Ringasta. As soon as Ed and Matt called us over, it was clear the bird wasn’t a red-breasted flycatcher – very striking, with a clear white throat and darker dusky underparts. Taiga flycatcher came to mind, but we realised just how rare that is. Other birders soon helped us watch and photograph it and noted other key features. It was interesting to hear the views of birders far more experienced than myself discuss it’s identification.

By 14th, the wind had picked up quite considerably, making birding harder but the perseverance was well worth it. Sadly, the flycatcher wasn’t refound so it’ll be up to the rarities committee to decide if the evidence gained is enough for taiga flycatcher. The morning was spit between Papil, where numerous kittiwake were flying around the bay and a hawfinch passed overhead, and the plantations at Kergord.

The plantations were fantastic, an area we wish we’d discovered earlier in the trip. Wandering through each one yielded the expected species such as chiffchaff, blackcap, redwing, many brambling and yellow-browed warblers. The highlight has to be the arctic warbler Sean found, great to see a second, although not as showy as the first!

The afternoon began around West Voe beach for another spot of seawatching while trying to shelter from the wind. It was a great session (to me anyway) with a decent number of long-tailed ducks, great northern diver, many gannets and kittiwake and large numbers of barnacle geese heading inland. News then broke of a pied wheatear nearby at Scatness found by Steve Minton. It showed brilliantly in front of us on the dry stone wall, while flying low over our heads from time to time. We also heard about the northern long-tailed tits Dan Houghton had found also around the same area, which sadly didn’t stay long enough to twitch.

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Pied Wheatear, Scatness, 14th October 2016

With more hours of daylight remaining, Quendale was our next stop with the hope of Lapland bunting and anything else that would be lurking. Whilst the bunting was a no show, it was nice to visit a new area and see the large number of brambling in the fields close by. Finally, we returned to the loch of Spiggie partly hoping the pallid harrier would roost there (though we failed in that sense). However, the large number of barnacle geese was lovely to see, as was a coot which briefly got us all excited!

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Small sample of the 100+ Brambling at Quendale

Our final day on Shetland sadly dawned (15th) but it was another excellent day. We were greeted to large numbers of fieldfare and a ring ouzel at Papil, amongst others. The rest of the morning was spent in the plantations at Kergord. Plenty of thrushes there too as well as many finches, a few yellow-browed warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps, hawfinch, and brief appearance of a sparrowhawk followed by peregrine! The highlight was an olive-backed pipit that appeared in a tree next to me and provided us with very good views indeed.

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Olive-backed Pipit, Kergord, 15th October 2016

Returning to the south, we stopped at Toab in the hope of seeing the Siberian stonechat though sadly couldn’t relocate it. On the plus side, we did catch up with a Lapland bunting while searching, and enjoyed watching many more barnacle geese arrive over Scatness. Time was running out, but we managed to squeeze in a return to Kergord to catch up with a red-flanked bluetail Dan Pointon had just found. It was a species we’d all hoped to see during the trip, so a perfect end. Brief views, but a lovely bird nonetheless.

The ferry journey back was very rough, but I suppose that was a small price to pay for the fantastic trip! One thing I love about Shetland is how different it is to the Solent, and the potential for stumbling across rarities especially at this time of year. It was great to explore and attempt to find (and succeed) birds, while also enjoying the species others had found and enjoying the commoner species that aren’t so common down south. Even seeing the numbers of goldcrests was impressive – amazing to think how far they’d travelled, especially given their tiny size! The other birders (and locals in general) we met while on Shetland were friendly and helpful too, which added to the lovely atmosphere. Definitely a place I’d love to return to and explore more.

Trip list

  1.  Mute Swan
  2. Whooper Swan
  3. Greylag Goose
  4. Pink-footed Goose
  5. Barnacle Goose
  6. Shelduck
  7. Wigeon
  8. Shoveler
  9. Teal
  10. Mallard
  11. Tufted Duck
  12. Scaup
  13. Eider
  14. Common Scoter
  15. Long-tailed Duck
  16. Goldeneye
  17. Red-breasted Merganser
  18. Goosander
  19. Red-throated Diver
  20. Great Northern Diver
  21. Slavonian Grebe
  22. Little Grebe
  23. Fulmar
  24. Gannet
  25. Cormorant
  26. Shag
  27. Grey Heron
  28. Coot
  29. Moorhen
  30. Oystercatcher
  31. Golden Plover
  32. Ringed Plover
  33. Lapwing
  34. Purple Sandpiper
  35. Curlew
  36. Turnstone
  37. Dunlin
  38. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
  39. Redshank
  40. Bar-tailed Godwit
  41. Snipe
  42. Great Skua
  43. Black Guillemot
  44. Razorbill
  45. Kittiwake
  46. Black-headed Gull
  47. Common Gull
  48. Herring Gull
  49. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  50. Great Black-backed Gull
  51. Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon
  52. Woodpigeon
  53. Collared Dove
  54. Short-eared Owl
  55. Pallid Harrier (well, only Ed saw that!)
  56. Merlin
  57. Peregrine
  58. Kestrel
  59. Sparrowhawk
  60. Rook
  61. Hooded Crow
  62. Raven
  63. Goldcrest
  64. Skylark
  65. Arctic Warbler
  66. Pallas’s Warbler
  67. Yellow-browed Warbler
  68. Chiffchaff
  69. Blackcap
  70. Lesser Whitethroat
  71. Wren
  72. Starling
  73. Rose-coloured Starling
  74. Blackbird
  75. Fieldfare
  76. Song Thrush
  77. Ring Ouzel
  78. Redwing
  79. Robin
  80. Bluethroat
  81. Red-flanked Bluetail
  82. Red-breasted Flycatcher
  83. Taiga Flycatcher (probable, see what BBRC decide!)
  84. Redstart
  85. Wheatear
  86. Pied Wheatear
  87. Siberian Accentor
  88. Dunnock
  89. House Sparrow
  90. Yellow Wagtail (probable Eastern)
  91. Grey Wagtail
  92. Pied Wagtail
  93. Richard’s Pipit
  94. Olive-backed Pipit
  95. Meadow Pipit
  96. Rock Pipit
  97. Chaffinch
  98. Brambling
  99. Twite
  100. Redpoll sp (always flyovers for us)
  101. Hawfinch
  102. Ortolan Bunting
  103. Little Bunting
  104. Lapland Bunting
  105. Black-faced Bunting
  106. Reed Bunting

NGB does Blashford Lakes

Quite a few of the Next Generation Birder events have taken place “up north” in places like Spurn (Yorkshire), so when Liam Curson suggested the idea of a South Coasts meet up, we jumped at the chance. In the end, only Harry & Charlie Martin, Joe Stockwell, Oliver Simms, Abi Scott, Sean Foote & I could make it but it was still great to meet other young birders.

We decided to go to Blashford Lakes for the day as there’s plenty of common birds but also some rarer species at the moment. Our first stop was the Tern Hide, looking out onto Ibsley Water and it wasn’t long before the first rarer species was spotted – a long-tailed duck. Rather unusual to see inland, or indeed on the south coast at all. It remained rather distant, and regularly dived so trying to get a decent photo was challenging.

Also rather distant were the geese – mostly greylag and a single Egyptian goose. I’ve always thought that Egyptian geese look slightly odd…

A slightly "odd" looking goose (30th January 2015)

A slightly “odd” looking goose (30th January 2015)

Then there were the ducks, and lots of them. Pochard, tufted ducks, mallard, gadwall, wigeon, goosanders, goldeneye, pintail… I was quite amazed at the sheer number of all of them, especially the goosander.

Ibsley water also had a large number of cormorants, and great crested grebes. Some of the others managed to spot the 2 black-necked grebes, but I failed! We then decided to go for a wander and see what else was about. For over a year now, a ferruginous duck has been lurking in Kingfisher Lake, so we decided to give it a go. This lake was at the other end of the reserve so it look us a while to find it.

On the way we checked other lakes. First Rockford Lake, which had numerous ducks just like Ibsley, but also some mute swans and 2 green sandpipers. One of the sandpipers was nice and close on the mud by the path – lovely.  Next Ivy Lake, where I saw bitterns last year. None today, but we did get lovely views of a kingfisher, teal and another 3 green sandpipers.

It's a kingfisher! And a rather poor photo at that... My camera decided to focus on the branches instead. (30th January 2015)

It’s a kingfisher! And a rather poor photo at that… My camera decided to focus on the branches instead. (30th January 2015)

After taking a few wrong turnings, we made it to Kingfisher Lake. We’d heard that viewing the lake was difficult, but didn’t quite realise just how difficult it would be.

There is a lake behind the fence and vegetation... honest!

There is a lake behind the fence and vegetation… honest! (30th January 2015)

Despite the long search, trying various gaps in the vegetation and other alternatives, we couldn’t spot the ferruginous duck. We did see plenty of other wildfowl, including numerous pochards, tufted ducks and wigeon and a yellow-legged gull.  It’s a shame the lake isn’t very easy to view. A kingfisher also flew right past Oliver Simms while be searched hard for the duck.

Attempting to view the lake and spot the duck... (30th January 2015)

Attempting to view the lake and spot the duck… (30th January 2015)

Lunch was eaten in the Woodland Hide while watching the birds at the feeders. Nuthatch, blue tits, great tits, coal tits, robins, siskin, lesser redpoll all taking their turn. There was also a great spotted woodpecker that landed “in a tree” (one of many trees) as helpfully described, and also dunnocks, long-tailed tits and a blackbird. In hindsight, I should’ve tried photographing more of the birds as they were close up, but I was too busy watching them and eating! But here’s some lesser redpolls and siskin

We then thought, for a change of scene, that it would be good to try to see the local great grey shrike. The shrike must’ve known we were coming as despite a good search we couldn’t locate it. We did however spot a buzzard, a peregrine and a merlin, so not a completely pointless trip! The merlin looked tiny compared to the buzzard as it whizzed passed.

Finally, we returned to Ibsley Water for the gull roost. This time, however, we tried the Goosander Hide. The hide was living up to its name as some of the goosanders were rather close. The wind had picked up though, making it even harder to view the birds and much colder…

Still, we persevered. For the last few weeks there had been reports of at least one ring-billed gull coming to roost. Some days there had been two – an adult and an immature bird. The ring-billed gull was reported yesterday, but we didn’t see it although we looked very hard. We did manage to pick out a few Mediterranean gulls, yellow-legged gulls and common gulls in amongst the herring, black-headed and lesser-black backed gulls.

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The great white egret was also reported yesterday, but again we did not spot it though must’ve walked right past it at least once (based on these reports)! Despite the rarer species not cooperating, it was great to spend the day with other birders. Can’t wait for another local meet up.