And Then There Were Three

Great white egret that is. Walter now had two companions and all were joining in the fishing frenzy on Ibsley Water this morning. Later on they were separated and I saw one unringed bird, close to Tern hide as I locked up this evening. The number of wigeon continues to increase slowly. I saw 14 on Ibsley Water and a few on Ivy Lake today, a long with one of the pintail.

Bird of the day was a “fly-over”, I was briefly in Goosander hide when I noticed the herons all looking up, a sure sign there was something flying over they were a little worried about. I went outside the hide and saw a common buzzard, but it was flying up and calling, a sign it too was reacting to something flying over. Eventually I saw the cause of all the interest, a honey-buzzard.  The common buzzard allowed a really nice comparison. Although honey-buzzards do nest in the New Forest in very small numbers this bird was almost certainly a migrant, it was determinedly flying south at altitude. They are long distance migrants, wintering in sub-Saharan Africa, with tens of thousands crossing the Mediterranean, either via Italy or over Gibraltar, one of the great migration spectacles of the world.

The name honey-buzzard is a bit misleading though - the idea that they eat honey arises from their habit of digging out the nests of wasps, bees and hornets to eat the grubs. This food is available later in the summer but before this they will eat all kinds of insects, amphibians and even birds' eggs.