Very cold and fearfully icy, in fact I could not open the main car park as it was so treatcherous, the previously slushy snow has frozen into sharp ridges. I did open the Tern hide, although Ibsley Water is frozen over the whole of the southern end so there is little to see, except at great range.
Ivy Lake too is almost completely frozen and Rockford mostly so. Ivy has few birds other than mallard, but Rockford is well supplied with coot, gadwall, and mute swan, but not a great deal else. Ellingham Lake, as usual has large areas free of ice, but also largely free of birds, I always look in hope that some wandering wildfowl will have dropped in but they rarely do.
Most of the paths around the reserve are passable with care, they are icy and if you are visiting and have boot spikes they are well worth using. The car parks on the Center side of the reserve are usable, but icy and as I said above, the main car park is very icy and closed to cars and probably not worth walking across either.
It might be just before Christmas and it might be icy, but that did not put off the Blashford volunteers, six people turned out to make some more fat feeders to put out more of the "Biggest Fat Seed Cake in the World". We also cleared some of the ice from the ground at the Woodland hide to provide more feeding areas. After we had done this we stayed in the hide for a few minutes and in no time there were several brambling and lesser redpoll in on the feeders along with the commoner blue tit, great tit, coal tit, chaffinch, siskin, dunnock, robin, blackbird, great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch.
The bird news of the day came from the Ivy North hide where a bittern was seen in the late morning, once again the first bird of the winter has turned up in the week before Christmas. I did go to try and see it, failed but did see the female bearded tit, the male had also been seen, it is good to know they are still around.
Late in the day 2 Caspian gull were seen on Ibsley Water, both adults, although when I had looked earlier all I saw were about 5 or 6 yellow-legged gull and a peregrine, still maybe tomorrow...