Sunday, 15 January 2012

Spanish Delights in Hampshire

Male Spanish Sparrow.

 On Saturday 14th  I headed down to Calshot in Hampshire for the now TV and newspaper famous Spanish Sparrow , I joined the already assembled birders at about 7.30 am and as luck would have it i  stood in the right place as after about 20 mins the Sparrow appeared although not very well right in front of me , after about 10 minutes it eventually climbed through the hedge and appeared out in the open for all of us to enjoy , it was also calling which sounded very much like House Sparrow to me , i have seen plenty abroad but this was a very welcome British tick for me , a really striking bird . chestnut crown , white cheek patches and delicate small white supercillium , the upper breast and flanks were heavily streaked black , it has breed with the local House Sparrows as there are 2 or 3 hybrids around .

Spanish Sparrow.

The Spanish Sparrow stayed in the bush for a while then flew over the road to another bush where it showed well before flying off to the locals gardens , i then went to the village hall and tucked into some bacon sarnies and a hot mug of tea , if only all twitches were this good !!!!  

On my way back to the car i saw  a Peregrine perched on top of a distant tower , so with a spring in my step i headed off to Hawkhill enclosure in the New Forest .

Dark Eyed Junco . 1st winter male.

My target here was the Dark Eyed Junco , i was onto the bird as soon as i got there however the views were very brief at first , i bumped into Nick and Russell .G. at this site and they had already had some good views of the Junco , they were just about to head off for the Sparrow so we said our goodbyes , after about an hour i had some really good views of the Junco both on the ground and perched on top of a dead tree , there were several Common Crossbills here which showed well at times plus at least 3 Goldcrests and approx 25 Reed Buntings along with several Chaffinch , Great and Blue Tits , i had a good time at this site before i headed off to Blashford Lakes , i called into these lakes to hopefully see the Ferruginous Duck , i arrived at the South Hide and was almost straight onto the bird , it was sleeping for the first few minutes then it sprang into life in pursuit of a female Pochard even displaying at one point , these are smashing ducks , lovely warm chocolate brown plumage with a striking contrast with its white undertail coverts and very noticeable white eye.

Drake Ferruginous Duck.

I did not add much more from this hide other than a fine distant Green Sandpiper , i decided to check out the woodland hide which was truly amazing , they have set up lots of bird feeders and a host of finches and tits plus Great Spotted Woodpecker and Nuthatch put in an appearance .

Siskins on one of the feeders.

 This is a really smashing reserve , I added several species here including 6 Goosanders , Goldeneye , Little Grebe and good numbers of Wigeon , Teal and Pochard.

I then had a short drive to Harbridge for the herd of wild swans , i saw 1 Whooper Swan and Bewicks's Swans mixed in with lots of Mute Swans

Cattle Egret.

My final destination of the day was on the way home when i popped into Warblington for the long staying Cattle Egret which like everything else today showed well , it showed a little bit of buff colouration on the crown which you can just about make out in the above photo , there were at least 6 Little Egrets here .