Sunday 24 February – Blashford Lakes Leader: Keith Williams

Just four of us travelled down through the early morning fog to Ringwood for a walk around the Blashford Lakes reserve. We gathered in the sun at the Education Centre where the feeders held Chaffinch and Nuthatch, before making our way to the Woodland hide for excellent views of Siskin, Reed Bunting and Coal Tit. Ivy South hide was quiet with Pochard, Cormorant and distant Great-crested Grebe, however Ivy North hide hit the jackpot with a Bittern walking around clear of the reeds immediately outside the windows. Once it melted into the reeds, we listened to a Cetti’s Warbler and searched unsuccessfully for the Water Rail. A warm walk around the fenced off buildings produced Green Woodpecker, a couple of Lesser Redpolls and a single Roe Deer. After lunch we walked up by the stream to the Goosander hide (the Tern hide has been demolished and not yet replaced) to examine the gulls and other ducks on Ibsley Water. No rare gulls or grebes were found, but a single Red Kite drifted over us. The afternoon was rounded off with a drive to Milkham Inclosure which was also quiet, just adding Stonechat, Mistle Thrush, Skylark and Raven to the list. A good time was had by all with 52 species seen, but definitely quieter than last year. (Thanks to Keith for leading the walk). Keith Williams