So here we are again, at the start of another New Year, and the beginning of my fifth year of writing this blog. I hope that you all had a good year and enjoyable New Year celebrations and also enjoyed my ramblings over the last year. January 1st 2015 started for me with a lie-in followed by a lazy day in front of the telly watching football, and therefore my birding amounted to only those species seen in the back garden.
On January 2nd I teamed up with Simon Colenutt, for a spot of birding in the South-east of Hampshire. We planned our route based on birds that had been reported recently and set off pre-dawn.
Our first stop was Eyeworth Pond, near Fritham where we would be guaranteed to see Mandarin Duck. It was dark when we arrived but it was still possible to see several Mandarins present, along with Mallards and Moorhen. There were 22 Mandarins present and despite the poor light I decided to take a few photos. It is now a couple of months since I received my new Canon 7D MK2 and I have to admit that I get more amazed by it every time I use it. The series of pictures below were taken in near darkness, with an ISO rating of 12,800; the noise was then removed in Adobe Lightroom, given the conditions I don't think these are that bad.
|Pair of Mandarin Ducks|
Whilst at Fritham we picked up most of the woodland species also, with the most notable being Marsh Tit, a species that is increasingly more difficult to catch up with these days.
Milkham Bottom, New Forest
A Great Grey Shrike has been wintering around Milkham Inclosure/Bottom so this was our next stop. We spent a couple of hours birding the area and did catch up with some good birds, which included Dartford Warbler, Goshawk, Crossbill, Raven and Stonechat, but the shrike unfortunately eluded us.
Blashford and Kingfisher Lakes
Blashford Lakes was our next stop, where we hoped to pick up most of the duck species, including the long staying Long-tailed Duck, Great White Egret along with other specialities such as Goosander, Black-necked Grebe and Egyptian Goose. Unfortunately we did not connect with the Great White Egret but saw the rest, as well as most of the duck species and a wintering Chiffchaff.
|Blurry record shot of the very distant Long-tailed Duck|
There has been a Ferruginous Duck at Kingfisher Lake for a while now, but unfortunately viewing is very difficult and therefore it is difficult to see unless it sits right out in the middle. We stopped there for a while but did not see the duck, however we did see an adult Yellow-legged Gull and also a Firecrest.
Our next stop was Pennington Marsh. We first stopped at the flood just off Lower Pennington Lane before walking a circuit to the seawall and back down the main track. The flood was heaving with Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Brent Goose, Golden Plover and Lapwing present. The highlight though were the three Ruff that were present.
On the intertidal we added a few more species including Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Bar-tailed Godwit and Mediterranean Gull. On the sea there several Red-breasted Mergansers, two Eider and four Slavonian Grebes.
Our final stop was in the hope of catching up with Hawfinch and Lesser Redpoll but we failed miserably. We did however add Stock Dove and Sparrowhawk.
By the end of the day we had recorded 94 species, so not a bad start to the year but still leaving plenty of species to see this winter.