Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Something Black Out of the Blue

A great day to be out, cool, bright and blue. Woodpigeon moving over from first thing, I only saw a few hundred but this usually means thousands on the coast. Such movements also usually indicate that there will have been other species on the move overnight and sure enough there were a few redwing about and I heard both brambling and redpoll calling from the trees near the Centre. I am getting ahead of myself though. I started at the Tern hide as usual, nothing of great note but there were 3 dunlin, 3 black-tailed godwit and 2 green sandpiper and then the one that got away as I was more or less certain I heard a rock pipit call, but I could not find it anywhere and I don't think I can claim it at Blashford on call only.
On the way to the Ivy North hide I looked across, as I always do on such mornings, toward the Wessex Water treatment works. Why I look is because the south side is in the sun and looks ideal for a black redstart, today it paid off, there really was a black redstart. It was a female spending most fo the time on the railings of a walkway at first floor level, too far away for a picture. Not a Blashford "tick" but a Blashford first fro me and the first for some years, also another bird for the BTO Challenge total.
The other hides were opened without incident, but looking into the water below the Ivy South hide I saw a small pike, then another and then two more. They were lying just below the surface next to the fallen trees. Two of them had leeches attached, one at least a dozen. I just about got a picture of one, not easy into the water without a polarising filter.
I did a bit more work on the sight lines at the Ivy North hide around the middle of the day, if there were bitterns they kept a very low profile, but a Cetti's warbler sang loudly at me and there were 2 water rail calling. The water is getting pretty deep now so this will probably be the last tweak of the season so I hope it works.
At the end of the day 4 common gull and at least 6 yellow-legged gull were the best I could do from the Tern hide. It was rapidly getting cold as I went to close the Ivy South hide and got this shot of the crescent moon over the silt pond, it is odd how it looks quite large in the sky but barely shows in the picture, something to do with the brain getting confused trying to compare the size of near and very distant objects I understand.

I set off for home and as I drove towards the bridge over the Dockens Water near Moyles Court there was an animal by the road, I am pretty sure it was an otter, but it disappeared into the bramble before I could really get a look. Even that was not quite the end of the day's wildlife, despite it being dark. Just south of Ringwood a barn owl flew low over the road, now that is a bird I could do with for Blashford.


  1. Funnily enough, I saw a black redstart 2 weeks ago, but in the mountains in Mallorca, where they are relatively common. I was going to ask if you ever see them at Blashford, as I never have. My other question you have just answered is are there really otters in Dockens Water!

  2. Hi bob,
    I couldn't write it down as i didnt have a pen but there was just 1 brambling who was interested in picking the seed off the floor by the feeder at the woodland hide.

  3. We saw what we think was a dark brown or black mink next to Mockingbeggar lake. It was sunbathing and then ran back towards the lake when it saw us.

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