Tuesday, 23 November 2010

(Saw)bills Mount Up

No pictures today I'm afraid, I did try but they were all rubbish, so I will stick to words. The main event today was the monthly wildfowl count, I started with Ibsley Water (and finished there, but more of that later), the numbers of ducks there remains small. Highlights were 5 drake goldeneye, indicating an influx despite the fact that I could only find 6 redheads, but they are very hard to count when feeding.The only other large count was 487 greylag, as there were also thirty-three on Rockford Lake it confirms there are over five hundred around. In other goose news 3 Egyptian goose and the bar-headed goose were also about.

Rockford Lake is the main wildfowl venue at present, it just seems to grow in importance as it matures, it is a much younger lake than the other large ones in the valley. The Rockford count highlights were 826 wigeon, 667 coot and 215 gadwall, there was no sign of the long-tailed duck though. A total of 170 pochard, although not huge was quite good for Blashford Lakes these days and we may get a few more if the weather gets colder.

Away from the water three brambling were feeding beside the Centre car park, including one quite fine male.

At dusk I went over to the Goosander hide to count the goosander coming into roost. Before the main arrival I also checked through the gulls, I saw about 15 yellow-legged gull but no sign of either Iceland gull or Caspian gull. I actually started at the Lapwing hide, but the goosander were flying into the bay by the Goosander hide so I relocated there. The arrival was steady and it became obvious that I was going to get a good few more than the 41 reported the other day. As numbers built some drifted round towards the Lapwing hide, as usual it was not possible to keep track of just how many. Eventually I counted eighty birds, plus the unknown few, a good count by any standards for November. A group of fallow deer does came out onto the shore, nine in all including a black one, a white one, a blonde one and six typical coloured. I checked the goosander again, now 86, including 18 adult drakes. Then a fox appeared on the shore walking from the north and that did the trick, the birds that had gone round the corner were doing the "Follow the fox" thing and there were ten of them. So the total was 96 goosander, including 20 adult drakes, an amazing count for November.

In other news a single adult Bewick's swan was by Ibsley bridge on the water meadows and I heard a chiffchaff near the Lapwing hide.

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