Saturday, 19 November 2016

19th November - Needs Ore and Lower Test, Hampshire

It turned out to be one of those days.  It was a beautiful morning, cold with a frost, but with clear skies.  I was meeting Ian and we were to try the Needs Ore Reserve for the first time.  We had the instructions to get the permit, and turned up at the Beaulieu Motor Museum at the appointed time of 8.20.  After an hour some staff appeared who informed us that they do not issue permits at the weekend.  So what to do?  We decided to see if we could get in.  As we approached the gate we were greeted by staff from the Beaulieu Estate who took pity on our story and let us in.  We really should have realised then that maybe this was not to be our day.

We walked down to the Sailing Club where there were a few duck, mostly Wigeon and Teal, and Redshank flying around.  Out on the marsh there were Curlews, and plenty of Rooks and Curlew.

We then walked back to try the hides, first the Shore hide to get our bearings and then we walked down to the Black Water.  Out in front of the hide were several Pintail close to the reeds, and a few Shoveler.  Two drake Shoveler were feeding closest to the hide.

We then walked to the west end of the water where the hide looked out across water and onto open fields where Canada Geese and Greylag Geese were feeding in the tussocky grass.

Very littler else was about and after waiting for a rain shower to pass we walked back, but looking out towards the west the sky was very grey, the orange leaves of the Oak trees contrasting against the sky.

We had lunch withe rain falling and the sky looking very dark.  We decided then to head inland and to try the Lower Test Marshes.

We walked from Test Lane and along the boardwalk to Salmon's Leap bridge where there was not just one Goosander but two!

As we walked around the path to the boardwalk once again we had further views of the goosander.  One of the Redheads was definitely larger, and the breast was much whiter.

The tide was very high, and the boardwalk was flodded in places, we walked to the hide, but in keeping with the day there was very little about, just three Little Grebes, two Mallard and two Black-headed Gulls.

As we walked back a little bit of excitement, a female Marsh Harrier drifted over the reeds being mobbed by crows

Back at the bridge, there was now only one Goosander, it was the smaller one close in to the shore.

It was getting dark now, and it was threatening rain as we made our way back to Test Lane.  In the same place as we had seen one last year a Grey Wagtail called and appeared on the flooded grass, then flew to the large patch of dead leaves.

The area was covered in insects and the wagtail was so occupied with catching them that it allowed us to get quite close, but it was very gloomy so not the best shots.

And that was about it.  We disturbed some Meadow Pipits as we walked back, and we heard both Cetti's Warbler and Chiffchaff in the scrub but never saw them.  As we reached the railway line the rain became harder and we decided that it was now best to end the day.  We had hoped the reported Short-eared Owl might be about, but there was no chance with the rain.  We headed back to the cars and hoped that our next rip would be a lot better, but you have to have a few bad days to appreciate the good ones.

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