Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Today we counted the lakes, which is to say we counted all the waterbirds on all the lakes within the Blashford complex. I seriously doubted that we would be able to when I started, it was raining so hard that I could not even see across Ibsley Water. Luckily things improved and the totals at the end were rather more than I had expected. Looking out at Ibsley Water there do not appear to be that many birds about at present, but this is because they are well scattered around the lakes. A few of the total show that there were 1802 Coot and 572 Gadwall, the first is a species for which the lakes are nationally important (i.e. they hold over 1% of the UK population) and the second a species of international importance (over 1% of W. European population). In both cases the counts next month are quite likely to be somewhat higher, with Gadwall perhaps much higher, but we will see.

Other minor highlights were 10 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Little Grebe on Ellingham Lake, which rarely has even this many birds. There were also as many birds as I have seen in a while on Blashford Lake, but there was nobody sailing today, so this might account for this.

Away from the water 2 Brambling were reported from the Woodland hide and a Lesser Redpoll was at the feeder there once again. I saw a couple of Chiffchaffs on the path between Rockford and Ivy Lakes, they might be the same ones that are often seen near the Ivy North hide, or then again perhaps they are different. There was also a pair of Bullfinch there and a flock of some 35 Goldfinches, the last feeding on Ragwort seeds.

At the end of the day a scatter of Yellow-legged Gulls as usual on Ibsley Water, but I did not get the chance to check further as one of the ponies on the Mockbeggar shore has got out again and a quick bit of temporary fence was needed to ensure it does not get out onto the road overnight.

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