Trip reports

Weekend Walk to Blashford Lakes

Weekend Walk to Blashford Lakes
Emily Langston

Saturday, 25 November 2017

This was a new venue for most of our group of eight. After early morning frost the sun shone brightly and we were rewarded with excellent visibility and sightings of a large variety of species.

We started at the Tern Hide looking out over Ibsley Water. Ducks on display included pochard, shoveler and a pair of goldeneye which kept diving and reappearing in different places. Great crested grebe, and pintail were also on the water and goosander were visible on the far side of the lake with Canada geese, an Egyptian goose, cormorants, and a heron. A green sandpiper was also just showing on the distant shore, while a water pipit seen on the water's edge in front of the hide was one of the rarer species seen during the morning.

Moving on towards the Visitor Centre a large group of siskins were seen in the trees above us, while overhead we were pleased to see a raven fly by, and a reserve warden told us later that there are frequent sightings of ravens in the area.

The feeders outside the centre and at the Woodland Hide were busy with nuthatch, goldfinch and chaffinch as well as blue tits, great tits and coal tits. A great spotted woodpecker, long-tailed tits and a greenfinch were seen in the surrounding woodland.

A short walk took us to the Ivy South Hide, one of two beside Ivy Lake. This area of water had a large population of ducks, with gadwall, wigeon, shoveler and tufted duck the most numerous and a colony of cormorants perched in trees opposite the hide. Two goosander were swimming at the southern end of the lake while a water rail skulking in the reeds immediately below the hide was reluctant to give us more than brief glimpses.

Returning towards the Visitor Centre we followed a path to the Ivy North Hide. The surrounding reed bed was scanned carefully but failed to yield any bittern. Further groups of duck visible from this hide were much as previously seen on the southern part of the lake.

Setting off across some heath and woodland we came to Rockford Lake where flocks of Canada geese, with a few greylag were close to the shore. A lesser black-backed gull was seen and on the far side of the lake was a group of around ten goosander. One of the females gave us a good flying display before the whole flock flew over our heads. On the edge of reeds nearby a water rail was showing well close to a pair of mallard and a moorhen. A hide on the opposite side of the path also looked out over Ivy Lake where a group of teal was swimming. One of our group saw a snipe fly overhead and a kingfisher also flew along the far shore of Rockford Lake while two buzzard soared over distant woods. Following a path through woodland a pair of bullfinches were seen briefly, and finally a goldcrest hopped about in bushes close to the path.

The weather was kind all morning with excellent light for photography and the group agreed that this was a very satisfactory visit with a wide variety of species seen in a very attractive setting in an area that merits a further visit.

Legh Langston