Broad-Bodied Chaser

Broad-Bodied Chaser
Wing Mosaic (Broad-bodied Chaser): Winner, Nikon In-Frame Competition August 2010

Spoonbill

Spoonbill
Spoonbill: Birdguides Photo of the Year 2012 Runner-up

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Spanish Sparrow at the Hampshire Festival of Birds

With several rare birds in Hampshire, it seemed like a good destination for a day out.  Saturday started early with a drive down to the south coast in the dark to be there for dawn.  Despite a freezing morning, the wait wasn't a long one as the Spanish Sparrow at Calshot flew straight into the predicted bush just after dawn, before allowing some better views as it crossed the road before flying back into the houses.



After a much needed warming drink thanks to the terrific locals in the village centre, the Sparrow performed again, not at all bothered by the crowds only metres away in the centre car park.
I then walked around the village and out onto the marshes, in search of a Black Redstart at the power station.  Having found it straight away, a beautiful dark plumaged individual, it dissapeared again and couldnt be relocated.



A pair of Stonechat were also present:



As with most others in the area, the next stop was into the New Forest to see the Dark-eyed Junco that had been present for most of January.  The bird was showing straight away in a clearing, it never came particularly close:


A number of Crossbill were also in the area:


The only dissapointment of the day was a failure to find the Siberian Chiffchaff at a location near Gosport.  However, while so near it would have been rude not to pay a visit to Gossi, or Waldo as he is sometimes known - the long staying Ring-billed Gull, the North American bird that has frequented Walpole Park in Gosport for at least the last five winters.
I managed to locate him straight away, on the far bank.  However, some people arrived to feed the Swans, at which point all the gulls, including Gossi, decsended for a feeding frenzy.







The gulls were particularly friendly, this Black-headed content sitting on top of a woman's head while she fed the others:


A Little Egret rounded the day off nicely, posing by the boating lake and occaisionally plunging in to pull out a minnow:


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