Trip reports

Blashford Lakes, Hampshire

Goosander on water
Goosander (RSPB Image)

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

There were few signs of other visitors when fifteen of us met in the tern hide car park. Our day began with Mary presenting Don with a well-deserved certificate for his 35 years' volunteering for the RSPB, following which we went into the tern hide from where we had an excellent view of a Peregrine resting on the ground. We also had good although sometimes slightly distant views of plenty of wildfowl including Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Coot, Teal, Shelduck, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Goosander and Goldeneye. We looked for the two previously-reported Black-necked Grebes but had to be content with some Great Crested and Little Grebes. There were also a few Oystercatchers and Lapwing, and a Grey Heron. A small flock of Meadow Pipits passed by and an overflying Buzzard was also seen. We then walked round to goosander hide which, not surprisingly perhaps, offered close views of Goosander. A Green Woodpecker was seen on the way.

After our lunch, during which a few members saw a male Sparrowhawk try to find some lunch for itself at the visitor centre bird feeder, we divided into two groups each of which took a different route around the woodland and the two Ivy Lake hides - so not all members saw everything but most of us saw most or all of what was there. The Ivy Lake hides did not produce anything new apart from Gadwall and Moorhen. At the woodland hide, in addition to the more common species there were good views of several Brambling and Siskin, a Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Jay. The surrounding woodland also provided Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Nuthatch and Bullfinch.

Afterwards a few of us returned to the tern hide for the gull roost. We had hoped to see the Ring-billed Gull and Yellow-legged Gulls arrive for the roost but by the time we left they had not showed up. Amongst the hundreds of gulls, though, there were plenty of Common, Lesser Black-backed, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. In total, 56 species were seen - and 57 if one counts the 25 Egyptian Geese that four of us saw in a field on a detour to nearby Harbridge before making our way home!

Rob Wilkinson