Sunday 04 February – Blashford Lakes

Despite the reports of some rare gulls just five of us travelled to Ringwood for a walk around the Blashford Lakes reserve on a cold but dry day. On arrival we had a quick scan of Ibsley Water for any of the rarities but only saw Goldeneye and Goosander with the more common ducks. We then gathered at the Education Centre where the feeders held Siskin and Nuthatch before making our way to the Woodland Hide for excellent views of Brambling and Long-tailed Tit. The next two lake hides gave Little and Great Egrets but we missed the Kingfisher directly in front of the hide by five minutes. The reported Firecrest proved elusive (as it did last year) although a family of Roe Deer and a melanistic Fallow Deer were seen. After lunch the party split and two went to look for geese on nearby fields, successfully finding a good flock of White-fronted Geese. The other three returned to Ibsley Water to concentrate on the gathering gull roost. Oystercatcher and Green Sandpiper were added to the list but the main hide was full to the brim and the gull viewing mound also filled up meaning that only one was tall enough to see the Ring-billed Gull. None of the other rare gulls were found before we left to drive home. A good (if cold) time was had by all with 69 species seen. Thanks to Keith for leading (Editor). Keith Williams