Sat 25th January 2014.
A days birding in Hampshire with Paul.
First stop was Lepe Country park. First birds of note were the hundreds of Dunlin on the foreshore. Then up to Stanshore Point where we soon connected with the long staying Lesser Yellowlegs. Keeping it company on the pools where a Redshank and Grey Plover. A Kingfisher also put in an appearance.
A full list of birds at Lepe; Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Starling, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Curlew, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Collared Dove, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Redshank, Lesser Yellowlegs, Grey Plover, Meadow Pipit, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Red-legged Partridge, Mallard, Moorhen, Pheasant, Song Thrush, Redwing, Turnstone, Little Egret, Wren, Blue Tit, Dunnock.
Into the New Forest with a stop at Shatterford. We were hoping to connect with Great-grey Shrike at Bishops Dyke, however, after quite a bit of searching we drew a blank. Dartford Warbler, Stonechat and Buzzard offered some compensation and were the only additions to our "day list" here.
Over to Blashford Lakes.
From the Tern Hide c150 Pintail were an impressive site. Other additions to our "day list" from the Tern Hide; Wigeon, Teal, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Coot, Gadwall, Canada Goose.
Woodland Hide. Our target here was Mealy Redpoll. Nice close views of lots of Siskin kept us entertained for about 30 minutes and then our target birds arrived on the feeders. 3 Mealy Redpoll with about half a dozen Lesser Redpoll. Other additions to our day list; Nuthatch, Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker.
North Hide. No sign of Great-white Egret and hide quite full so we didn't stay long here.
We left Blashford and headed the short distance to Kingfisher Lake near Ringwood. Ferruginous Duck our target. We parked up at the end of Hurst Road and joined a handful of other birders peering through thick hedging and chain-link fencing to view the lake. Another birder had the duck in his scope and I was able to get a split second view before it dived and disappeared out of view. We had to wait another 40 minutes before the Ferruginous Duck showed itself again and we were able to get good if somewhat brief views. Great-crested Grebe and Mute Swan were additions to our "day list" here.
Our outline plan for the day was to finish up at Blackwater Arboretum. Apparently there is a Hawfinch roost here. We arrived shortly after 3pm which we assumed would be a little early for any roosting Hawfinches. Half a dozen birders had assembled about a hundred yards past the entrance to the Arboretum. We headed through the wooden entrance arch and immediately saw a Hawfinch perched at the top of a pine but it flew before we could get a decent view. We joined the other birders and to our surprise they were viewing another Hawfinch. This time we were able to get really good views of this bird before it shuffled into the ivy surrounding the trunk and disappeared to view. We waited for quite some time but it did not re-appear. Of course my birding day would not be complete without Bullfinch and I was pleased when one of the other birders picked out 5 (4f and 1m). By now it had started raining heavily so we headed for home.
Paul managed the pics below; Mealy, Mealies and Lesser, Lesser, Siskin, Mealy, Hawfinch.