Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Goosanders at Blashford

Sunday 13th November.  We haven't visited Blashford for a while and autumn is always a good time to visit with the new arrivals from the North, moving through or stopping to spend the winter, it is also an area which can produce a variety of fungi.

Starting our walk from Moyles Court, past the Alice Lisle taking the footpath at the side of Spinnaker Lake then across between Rockford, then on to Ibsley Water and back to Moyles Court.  Our first birds were the usual Blackbirds, Robin and a small tit flock of Blue, Great, Long-tailed Tits and a few Goldcrest.  Peering through to the top of Rockford Lake were a roost of at least eight Little Egret and it was whilst watching them one of the site's winter specialties three redhead Goosander, our first of the winter, drifted into view. I managed a quick shot of the last bird through the tree branches as they paddled away to a slightly more discreet distance.

one of the three Redhead Goosander
Spinnaker Lake produced the usual waterfowl including with Coots with Gadwall, a sign that the water levels were high, the Gadwall needed the Coots to dive and pull up the weed so they can feed on the surfacing pieces the coot have pulled up and can't eat, quite an interesting association.  Also on the lake were Canada and Greylag Geese.

Robin © Nick Hull
As we crossed the road to take the footpath between Rockford and Ivy Lakes we heard Bullfinch calling but it didn't show.  Viewing from the screen looking over Ivy Lake Jackie quickly picked out a large white Egret which she confirmed as the returning Great White Egret which had been back for a while but none-the-less very nice to see.  Tufted Duck, Wigeon, Teal and a few Shoveler were all seen on Ivy.   On the other side of the path Rockford Lake produced Mute Swan, and a small assortment of gulls with Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed.  Jackie was on good form and she managed to pick out two superb male Goldeneye out in the middle which gave good scope views.  We continued on picking out more of the regular species as we headed towards the Goosander hide, on route we came across a small stand of Shaggy Inkcap fungi one of the more easier to id.

Shaggy Inkcap
Our initial thought on our first views from the hide was that there were no birds but scanning around the lake we found a couple of Grey Heron, a Curlew made itself known by having a fly around.  The duck present were very distant with Tufted, Pochard, Mallard more Greylag and a few Little Grebe and more Coot.  An even more distant Curlew on the far bank, then a flock of Lapwing flew up and the sun caught them beautifully.  Then someone noticed that swirling around above Somerley were a huge number of Grey Herons, in fact a count of 43 was made.   We were now thinking of moving on when I spotted movement, something flew in below the hide and it soon became clear it was a Grey Wagtail which seemed to brighten the day a super little bird.  

Grey Wagtail
Our walk back to the cars produced more of the same and we ended the day with fifty two species not bad for two and a half hour walk.

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