Adrian led a party of six hardy souls to Blashford Lakes on what turned out to be a very wet morning. Thank goodness for the hides where we spent most of the time. From the Tern Hide we could concentrate on the wildfowl as there were few gulls. Brian spotted one of the best birds – a Water Pipit feeding along the water’s-edge near the hide before it flew away across the lake. There were several Goldeneye, including a very smart drake, as well as Tufted Duck and Pochard present in some numbers, but we only saw two Goosanders. Dabbling ducks were mostly sheltering on the far side of the lake and included Wigeon and Shoveler. We saw an Egyptian Goose and later two Greylags flew over as we were leaving to walk to the Woodland Hide.
As we walked through the wooded areas we saw a Goldcrest and nearer the Woodland Hide Siskins were feeding noisily high in the Alders above the path. Down at ground level several fungi grew including Birch Polypore, Scarlet Elf Cup and Turkeytail. Dangling Hazel catkins were an early indication that Spring might be around the corner, although judging by today’s weather forecast that’s still some way off!
From the Woodland Hide we were delighted with excellent views of a wintering male Brambling at one of the feeders as well as good views of a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. Another highlight were three Reed Buntings – two males and a female.
The rain had turned heavier by the time we reached Ivy North Hide, where we had superb views of one of the two Great White Egrets that are frequenting Blashford this winter. It sported elegant back plumes used in display in the breeding season. A Water Rail was seen briefly before we walked back to the Tern Hide where there was little new. Around 12:30 we called it a day, but a very good day for 57 bird species in such lousy weather was our reward!