Just down the road from the reserve, a black-throated diver has been present on North Poulner lake for a couple of week now. Back on Monday we had to get some supplies from a nearby builders merchants so we couldn’t resist having a quick at the diver. This is a quite rare bird inland in England and only second on any of the lakes in the area, the last being in 1978. North Poulner lake is a private fishing lake and the bird is only visible through a few small gaps in the fence and lakeside willows. Fortunately it was really close to the fence when we had a look and I manage to get a couple of photos, albeit with a few twigs in the way.
The bird is currently in winter plumage and doesn’t have the black throat that gives it its name, but it is still a very smart beast. Just a few hundred pairs of this species breed in Britain, all on remote lochs in north-west Scotland, but Scandinavian and Russian birds also come to winter around British coasts. This individual has mostly likely been blow inland by the recent gales.
We had another great bird sighting outside the reserve today when we headed up the road to have our team Christmas dinner at a local pub. We went for a brief wander at Amberslade Bottom in the forest before lunch and had a very brief sighting of a hawfinch in a yew tree, but topping this a great grey shrike landed close to us in a hawthorn! It flew into a oak tree a little further away when it saw us and I got one slightly distant photo of it before it moved on again. As you can see from the picture it is carrying prey, a small bird which we didn’t manage to identify.
On the reserve, a count of 22 goldeneye in to roost on Ibsley Water yesterday evening was the highest count of the year so far. The black-necked grebe is still present today, along with bittern at Ivy North hide and 4 brambling at the woodland hide.