Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Bickerley Common - 13th Jan

We are only 20 odd days into the new year and already I have quite a considerable backlog of blog posts to write. After 2 weeks of solid rain and a dismal saturday, awaking to sunshine on Sunday morning was quite surprising. With no solid plans and Nat down for the weekend, a quick decision was made to try the other end of the South Coast.

Camera, Bino's and warm weather gear packed and in the car on the way to Ringwood. For the past month or so reports have been almost daily regarding a Great White Egret and Glossy Ibis on the Avon floods at Bickerley Common, just outside of Ringwood. This was the first port of call an as we pulled into the rather destructive car park (pot holes everywhere) I stopped a couple of Birders as they walked back to their car. Ibis showing well at a distance but no sign of the Egret. Typical as I have never seen a GWE, but 1 out of 2 can't be bad.

Their is a causeway that runs across the width of the meadows and acts as a great elevated platform to look out either side over the swollen river and flooded meadows. The usual smaller bird flitted between the path side trees. Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird & Dunnock all seen within metres on the path.

Some nearby 'pip-ing' got me searching and I soon picked up half a dozen Meadow Pipit on the stems of the long grass glistening in the bright morning sun. They were quickly joined by a pair of Stonechat, a species I didn't expect to see in such a damp habitat.

As the river meandered out of sight, two large flocks of feeding Canada Geese came into view, with numbers I would guess in excess of 150. The odd Mute Swan preened here and there dotted about across the floods. A White dot in the distance got my attention but too far away to clarify, a passer by saw me checking it out and informed me it was the GWE. Maybe my luck was in, but after getting a little closer 200 yards or so further down the causeway I confirmed it was a Little Egret after all.

This stop for a better view brought me my best views to date of a Goldcrest, as an invading group of Long-tailed Tits descended on the nearby tree, a pair of tiny Goldcrests joined them. I am quite pleased with my photographs, however catching them in the light was a bit of an impossible task shooting towards the sun. They move so fast!


Finally reaching the main bridge over the meadows, I soon picked up the Glossy Ibis on the far side feeding with plenty of Teal. The shallow water was covered in feeding birds with Teal, Lapwing & Black-headed Gull spread all over the area. A great start to the day, and good to get a Glossy in the notebook!

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