Monday, 31 January 2011

Great Expectations

Sunday looked to be very good on paper, with a lot of potential down in Hampshire. Did not go quite to plan.
We arrived just outside Hordle, where the wintering juvenile White Tailed  Eagle had been seen again after a short absence just after nine, and found a small crowd. It was extremely cold, barely above freezing (and was to remain that way most of the day). After waiting some time, we headed off to Angel Lane, another favoured spot but despite another wait, and one or two others scouring the immediate area we decided to head off to Milton and await news.
Milton had four Lapland Buntings in a stubble field. Did not know the field was so big....
Found a Greenshank among Dunlin and Turnstone which was nice but never managed to get an image of it.

Scouring the field edges I picked up a lot of Skylarks, some Reed Buntings and Meadow Pipits. Just as we were leaving we were told the Laplands had been seen in the eastern hedge before flying out into the middle of the field.

With no news of the Eagle we went off to the New Forest at Burley where we hoped to connect with the Great Grey Shrike we had seen last year, plus hopefully Woodlark and Dartford Warbler. Despite the sun, it was still very cold and exposed on the high ground and a search of the area failed to find anything of note.
Next stop was the Titchfield Haven area and it's Red Breasted Goose. Not familiar with the area and knowing it was ranging over several miles of coast we first tried an area near Hook which turned out to be a holiday home park. Some of the nearby 'roads' were little more than narrow tracks and with no other information we headed off to the Haven and parked. Found out the geese were in a field near the holiday homes and it was a couple of miles walk along the cliff top. Checked the area on satellite maps and still cant figure out an easy way of getting there.
As a last resort we headed off to Gosport and it's regular Ring Bill Gull. Arrived to see a pretty good adult Ring Bill fly off into the sun with a Common Gull. Hung around for a while and eventually noticed it had snuck back in and was sitting on the water. Flew off a couple of times but always returned to the same bit of the boating lake.Ended up with a few decent images, including some nice flight shots.

Salvaged something out of the day. Heard in the evening that the Eagle had been seen early afternoon perched in a tree for a bit, and it has also been seen a couple of times today from Angel Lane.

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