Staggering into Spring

Another rather wintry spring day.

I drove across the Forest in heavy sleet, although the pull of spring was still evident, as I passed two displaying curlew and opening up the main car park there was a blackcap singing.

Over Ibsley Water there were 3 little ringed ploverdisplaying and about 40 sand martin with a single swallow seeking insects. There was no sign of yesterday’s 5 little gull though, but a closer look revealed a single wheatear on Long Spit.

Elsewhere at least 11 brambling at the feeders by Woodland hide were a welcome bit of colour and a number of chiffchaff were singing.

A afternoon look at Ibsley Water resulted in an Iceland gull, which flew in from the east, bathed and then joined a number of herring gull on the western shore, however a look later seemed to show it did not stay. I got a couple of typically poor shots of it!

Iceland gull at Blashford Lakes nature reserve

© Bob Chapman

It was a bird in its first year of life, in plumage terms not first winter as they remain in pretty much juvenile plumage during their first winter, anyway a “young” one.

Although the Iceland gull had gone by the time I was locking up there was a compensation as the ring-billed gull was there. It now looks very fine, with a completely white head and well coloured bill with a strong black ring. As I watched it gave a full long call, throwing its head back, unfortunately it was too far away to hear in the breeze.