Sunday, 20 January 2019

HIWWT Blashford Lakes :: 20 January 2019

Today we dropped our eldest daughter at SEASON, the Exclusive Cookery School located in a converted well house within the grounds of Lainston House Hotel. Siskin

We then continued on to Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve - I'd scanned potential birding sights earlier in the week. The Blashford Lakes reserve used to be a series of gravel pits until it was developed. The woodlands, lakes and grasslands at Blashford attract a plethora of wild birds and I decided well worth a look. With six bird hides and 8km of rolled gravel paths it probably won't be the last time either.

We left the car in the main car park and walked round to the Tern Hide. Having never been there it was good to find some maps of the reserve in handouts. Siskin A large flock of linnets fed on the water's edge. It was absolutely freezing and so we didn't stay in the hide for long. After I left I heard two guys talking and it appears there was a lesser scaup on the very far edge - not visible with our bins though.

We continued round to the Education Centre and Charlotte decided to stop and have a cuppa before pushing on. I decided to go on to the Woodland Hide to see what they were getting on their feeders; best birds were nuthatches and a small flock of siskins.

No sign of Charlotte so I continued on to Ivy South Hide. NuthatchAs I set out two blokes said there were some goosander here and a yellow browed warbler, if I could find it. I stopped off at the hide, picked up what I could and stepped out hoping for the YBW. Three guys were pacing on the far side so I made my way over. Talking to one he said that it had shown an hour earlier but only for 10 seconds and it was high in the trees - not looking good. I strolled to and fro for around 10 minutes, and then Charlotte arrived. She told me that she had stopped off at the Ivy North Hide and had views of a bittern, although not in the open and only really visible with a scope - damn.

Not two minutes later I saw a bird that looked a likely candidate for LBW; before I could get the camera on it,Yellow browed warbler it flew off towards the trees on the edge of the water. I kept an eye on this area and just a few minutes later spotted it making its way back over. A couple of photos and I could see it was the target bird. As others arrived I pointed them to the spot where the bird had been and left them in hopeful mood.

We headed back toward the Ivy North Hide but before we reached it, we spotted a water rail reasonably well in the open, feeding. Good views! Into the hide and we didn't manage to spot the bittern but had more views of water rail.

Returning to the Education Centre for lunch, we heard some noisy Water railgreater spotted woodpeckers chasing one another and as we stopped to watch, a treecreeper ascended a tree ahead.

Sightings today (39) included: black-headed gull, blackbird, blue tit, canada goose, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, coot, cormorant, dunnock, gadwall, goldeneye, goosander, great crested grebe, great spotted woodpecker, great tit, grey heron, linnet, little egret, little grebe, long-tailed tit, magpie, mallard, mute swan, nuthatch, pheasant, pochard, reed bunting, robin, shelduck, siskin, song thrush, treecreeper, tufted duck, water rail, wigeon, woodpigeon, wren and yellow-browed warbler.

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