Sunday, 17 January 2010

It don't make my Goldeneye Smew

I really should have had a better look at Ibsley Water first thing this morning, instead of the quick scan with binoculars that I actually did. Had I done so I would have seen a redhead Smew, I was sent a message about the bird, but by the time I looked it was long gone, flying off north. There were several Goldeneye, including this displaying group of 4 drakes and a single duck.
Whilst I was in the Tern hide a number of birds flew into the lake form the valley, the main birds involved were Wigeon and a flock of about 300 Black-tailed Godwit which landed on the spit to the east of the hide.
The day was marvellous with bright sunshine and feeling warm compared to recent days. The sun brought out the visitors, the car parks were effectively full for a short period in the late morning with almost 80 cars and probably twice that many people.

Despite the relative warmth many of the lakes still have extensive ice cover, although some like Ibsley Water and Ellingham Lake are almost ice free now. Ivy Lake has large numbers of wildfowl, many of which seem to delight in standing out on the ice rather than sitting on the water. These Mute Swans, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall and the duck Wigeon hiding behind the duck Mallard were on Ivy Lake.
Six species in one picture
A drake a two duck Gadwall taken from the SE screen on Ivy lake
A drake Tufted Duck, also from the same screen

Other wildfowl reported today included the 6 Red-crested Pochard still on Blashford Lake, although I did find a seventh today, a single duck on Ellingham Lake. At dusk there were over 100 Goosander in to roost on Ibsley Water, sadly with no sign of the Smew that had apparently roosted there last night. There was one last surprise though, a Curlew standing on the shore calling.
Meanwhile around the Woodland area there were a few Brambling and good numbers of Lesser Redpoll and lots of people looking at them. The feeders by the car park attracted two pairs of Collared Dove, not the rarest birds I know but I have never had much luck getting pictures of them, this one is not great but it is the best I have got.
There was also a deal of Egret action today, although none of it on the reserve. There were 2 Great White Egrets beside the River Avon at Harbridge, the usual ringed bird and a second unringed one. Things did get a bit confused though and at times there were claims that both of the birds at Harbridge were unringed and that a third bird was seen flying over Ibsley Water. For now I will go with the "Two bird theory". The usual 10 Bewick's Swans were there also and they had roosted on Ibsley Water overnight.


  1. Concerned Birder21 January 2010 at 08:29

    I must post my comment in the disappointment of hearing the news that there has been a cull of Ruddy Duck on Ivy Lake. I would have thought that the numbers of Ruddy Duck hardly seemed to warrant a cull!!!

    I thought the HWT motto read "Protecting wildlife, inspiring people" I think those Ruddy Duck or any other birds or wildlife affected by culll do not feel protected. I do not feel very inspired by this news.

  2. The cull was on Ibsley Water, not Ivy Lake and is organised and carried out by DEFRA (i.e. government) it is they that decide on the sites to be culled.

    HWT tried to ensure that the timing and details of this cull minimised the impact on other widlife.