Friday, 4 May 2012

Birthday Blog From Blashford

With the pickings at Langford Lakes pretty slim, we headed back through Salisbury and down towards Ringwood, and the Blashford Lakes Hampshire Wildlife Trust reserve. First port of call the Tern Hide next to the car park overlooking Ibsley Water. If Langford Lakes was scarce, Blashford Lakes proved the exact opposite as I racked up a whopping 8 (all but distant) year ticks! 7 All from the same hide as well, taking my year list to 122.

115 Hobby - 3 circled together in the distance.
116 Little Gull
117 Little ringed Plover - a pair appeared briefly on the top of one of the spits.
118 Common Sandpiper
119 Bar-tailed Godwit
120 Black Tern - 2 adult birds mixing well with the Common Terns
121 Common Tern

The only annoying factor being they were all to far away to photograph, viewing through the scope was a must, Ibsley water stretches out a fair distance, and the islands to which the birds were congregating typically happened to be at the furthest point from the hide.

However several other species where noted and game a whole lot closer, Swallows glided low over top of the waters surface, a Little Grebe floated on the edge of the shore, and even stepped out onto the gravel edge for 10 minutes or so. A sight to behold in itself, its not hard to see why, they're feet are huge and proportioned so far back on they're bodies it must be pretty tricky to walk. 3 Buzzards soared pretty low, along with a few Carrion Crows no doubt in search of the Little ringed Plover or Lapwing youngsters. 4 Whimbrel and a couple of Dunlin in summer plumage joined the Barwits out on one of the tern islands, as plenty of Black headed Gulls congregated with the Terns.

A Lapwing paraded cautiously near the hide which enabled me to get off a few shots, and was soon joined by a Grey Wagtail on the shoreline.

Peg Legged?
Cracking birds in the right light
Grey Wagtail
With the excitement of 7 new sightings in the bag, we headed over to the Woodland hide to see what was feeding, 6 Grey Squirrels, Pheasants, Goldfinchs, Collared Doves, Great Tits & Greenfinchs all visitors to the seed feeders.

Grey Squirrel
We then walked back across to the Goosander Hide overlooking Ibsley water, which is strategically positioned atop of the Sand Martin bank, the activity was pretty frenetic with about 50+ Sand Martins (122) coming and going every 20 seconds or so, some so quick that I had visions of them joining us in the hide. I think I probably fired off about 200 shots on my camera, of birds in flight and when they landeded on the soft moss at the waters edge. They never stay still long enough, so not one was in focus enough to use.

I then most confess to missing what would have been a truly great photographic opportunity, as we rounded a corner on the path out towards the furthest hide, a Fox trotted over top of a grass bank at eye level with a rabbit in its mouth. Seeing us instantly and was gone. To say I was distraught was a bit of an understatement. The remainder of the path had a lot of singing Blackcaps and the odd Reed Bunting flitting back and forth. The only different species viewed from the Hide a lone Shellduck.
The walk back to the car did give me a chance to grab a few shots of a bird that I don't see out in the open very often the Jay.

All in all a cracking couple of hours and made some good birthday birding. Not a bad way to spend your 26th.

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