Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A Weekend's Wandering

Thick fog till lunchtime postponed my Sunday morning out, but it disappeared pretty rapidly to leave a rather warm golden autumnal afternoon! Accompanied by my glamourous binocular carrier Nat we headed off to the Hampshire Wildlife Trusts - Testwood Lakes Nature Reserve on the edge of Southampton. We were pretty lucky to find a parking space as it would seem half of Hampshire was out in force to walk their dogs around the Southern Water site. The smaller of the 2 lakes 'Little Testwood' in the "Normo's" (Normo's being Dog Walkers) area produced two pretty quick sightings. 2 Great Crested Grebes in Winter Plumage and a Kingfisher gliding from reed to reed along the waters edge. Still far to quick for me to get a picture!
HWT Testwood Lakes - Reserve Map
The larger 'Testwood Lake', I guess due to the invasion of Stick retrieving dogs was lacking any kind of activity mid afternoon, with just a few Black Headed Gulls floating in the middle. The one thing I do like about the Testwood site, is that the Pathways to the 2 Hides are all fenced off, and dog walkers are not allowed! These paths proved to be near on empty as we made our way to the Sand Martin hide, a few Blue Tits and Long Tailed Tits flitting about in the beach hedges besides the paths. With the hide empty and the sun starting to disappear behind the oncoming cloud over the scrapes, I was hoping that some kind of wading bird would be visible as an entry in the log book for 2pm said 3 Black-tailed Godwits - I couldn't see any and it was only 2.25pm, the only Birds visible were a few distant Common Teal.

The Heron Hide overlooking Meadow Lake prooved a little more fruitful, 80+ Lapwing emerging from the shallower water circling interwined with 40 or so Black Headed Gulls before landing again, in a cacophony of noise and calls.

Lapwing Flock
The muddy shoreline of the lake caught my eye producing more Common Teal, Mallard and 6 Shelduck mooching around on the edge of the water. The small island in the middle of the lake housed 12 Cormorant although others appeared along the far shoreline diving close to the fringing reed bed.

3 Little Egret present spaced evenly apart along the far shore where soon interrupted by the Arrival of a juvenile Grey Heron, other birds out on the water included Moorhen, Coot, Tufted Duck and a lone Pochard. A quick look at the watch meant we had to head back towards the Car park, gates being locked at 4pm, Which seemed a little early to end a dry Sunday afternoon! On the path back towards the Sand Martin Hide, the barrier fence that hides the path from the Meadow lake was a little lower, so we were able to peer over the top and snap off a few shots of some Teal sifting through the murky water.

Common Teal
The woodland path back to the main car park didn't show up any wildlife, although I did take a picture of this rather proud looking Fungi. Which I think is a Magpie Fungus but I am most probably wrong in identifying.

Magpie Fungus?
It's been impossible to get out at lunch time so far this week, with thick fog in the south reducing visibility to about 20 metres. and today doesnt look much better with the Carpark view from my Office window reduced to 5 or 6 cars back. So i've had to resort to reading Decembers edition of Bird Watching Magazine which really isn't quite the same!

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