Redpolls, Warblers and Other Small Birds

by A warbler a day

I’ve had a another successful weekend birdwatching. On Saturday I went again to Blashford Lakes nr Ringwood. The first birds I saw on the feeder by the car park were 2 Redpolls, one of which appeared definitely larger and paler. I am 95% certain it was one of the Mealy Redpolls that have been seen around the reserve all winter, though not previously by me. unfortunately there were no experts on hand to confirm it. From the Woodland Hide I saw plenty more Redpolls, all of the Lesser variety as well as some very smart looking male Siskins, a Coal Tit, a Reed Bunting and a Nuthatch. From the Ivy Lake hides there were still fair numbers of Teal plus the odd Wigeon, Gadwall, Pochard and Great Crested Grebe. However the Garganey that was seen the day before did not make an appearance. In the afternoon I walked across to the hides overlooking Ibsley Water. On the way there I heard, and then saw, my first singing male Blackcap of the year to go with the many singing chiffchaffs. On Ibsley Water there were lots of Shovelers, a dozen or so Pintails and 3 Goosanders. From the Goosander Hide I spent several minutes watching a pair of Little Grebes diving to catch a variety of items to eat. Disappointingly the were no Sand Martins yet at the nest bank. From Blashford I drove through the New Forest to Eyeworth Pond where the resident Mandarin Ducks were showing nicely. I walked up on to Longcross Plain, seeing my first Treecreeper on the year as well as some Meadow Pipits and Stonechats.

Sunday morning I went for a quick stroll around Rooksbury Mill. In a bush by the small ponds next to the mill I saw not one but 2 Kingfishers, the larger female appeared to be eating a fish which may well have been presented by the smaller male as a pair bonding gift. A couple of minutes later a pair of Sparrowhawks glided over head. Not bad for a 20 minutes walk.