Sunday, 11 October 2009

Long-billed, Ring-billed and Blashford bound

A quite remarkable day, although it was not obvious that anything of interest was going to happen when I first arrived on site. Ibsley Water was covered in Coots on a grey morning, the most notable thing was the first Redwing of the autumn flying over.
I was occupied all morning discussing possible camera set-ups for Blashford and later the idea of setting up a platform for Ospreys. Fortunately there were others looking at the wildlife and reports came in of a second winter Ring-billed Gull being seen on Ibsley Water and a Long-billed Dowitcher just off the reserve on Ibsley North lake. The gull seemed to have flown off, but I did go up to see the dowitcher. Both of these birds come from North America and are "megas" at least at Blashford. A dowitcher is a wader of similar size and bill type to a snipe, unfortunately during the time I saw it rest was top of the agenda and the bill was only shown once and briefly.

The picture is of the dowitcher in typical pose, complete with picturesque brick!

I never did see the Ring-billed Gull nor the Little Stint also reported, indeed the stint later became two, however the best I could do was a single Dunlin, strangely nobody else reported that. At least one Hobby was also still around, although I saw no dragonflies and precious few swallows or martins today for it to hunt.

It is not often that North American birds make it to Hampshire and when they do it is usually to the coast so two species at Blashford in the one day was a bit special. Probably the most Americans to fly in to Blashford on one day since the USAF over sixty years ago when what is now Ibsley Water was Ibsley airfield.

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