Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Eagle time (09/01/11)

It was the first NE Hants RSPB group outing of the year to Blashford Gravel pits.

The close proximity of a White-tailed Sea-Eagle near New Milton saw me drive down to that location at first light. It was a very chilly morning and as we stood waiting a Brambling was heard, a few Redwings were flying around and best of all a couple of Ravens flew over.

However, the eagle decided it wasn't going to show, so I reluctantly left the site and drove to Blashford lakes driving along very icy roads.

I met up with group at the main car park and we scanned Ibsley Water. Highlights were a few Goldeneye, 9 Goosander, an Avocet. a Green Sandpiper and a Fox scouting along the far bank.

I stepped out of the hide to warm up in the sun and as I did so a large flock of geese arrived. I dived back into the hide and called out that there were some White-fronted Geese with the flock. It turned out there were 9 birds (2 of which were probably youngsters).

We then proceeded around to the next hide where a confiding Buzzard set on a rock on one of the grassy banks. Birds from here were much the same so once again I stepped out of the hide and rang birdline. It was reported that the eagle was showing so I drove back to Hordle. I chatted to a couple of people but nobody seemed to be looking at the bird and nobody knew where it was. I drove around for a while scanning the fields but eventually ended back at the same place as I was first thing in the morning.

I got out the car and was just getting my kit out of the boot when someone said they had the bird. It was flying over the distant trees, but then best of all, it drifted towards us and then flew over us not 50-100 feet above our heads - breathtaking!!!

I reeled off some very shaky pictures and then watched as the bird drifted over some further woodland where it was joined by a couple of Buzzards. It was then that you could see the vast size difference.

I returned to Blashford Lakes and rejointed the RSPB group who were having lunch. I found out they had seen the Great White Egret, so while they had lunch I went over to tick it off and then walked over to the Woodland hide and met up with the group there.

The feeders were very active and we ticked off Nuthatch, Brambling, Siskin and Redpoll. Also a close view of Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Next was the Rockford Lake where we scanned for Smew but couldn't find any. I walked up a bit further and found 3 RD's which no one else saw.

Last place was the Ivy Lake hide where we looked for Bittern but the windows were steamed up and viewing was very difficult.

Year list: 75

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