We pulled in behind an industrial unit just south of Ringwood, hoping to gain a view over the River Avon. In front of us stood four people, all sporting chainsaws, looking as if they were auditioning for a part in a Texan massacre! This appeared to be a good vantage point, but did we really want to be extras in a splatter film as well? I do screaming like a girl among the best of them, but certainly wasn't prepared for the running away bit. However, they were only workers on a fag break and taking one look at us armed with our binoculars, they beat a rapid retreated into their workshop - are we really that scarey!
The Avon was in flood and the area amassed with waterbirds. Lapwing, teal and a lone little egret set the scene, though the reason for our visit was nowhere to be seen (not untypical of previous efforts to see this species in Hampshire!). After a while I thought it best not to waste anymore of our lives looking for one and thought it would nicer to have a peek at The Forest. Just as we were pulling away, I noticed a large white heron shape flying behind the trees - definately worth a look. And sure enough striding confidently out in the water was an impressive great white egret. Not quite what we were after, but very nice indeed - not so many years past it would have attracted a much larger gathering than us and the two others that had now joined us.
Whilst enjoying the egret, Rosie suggested I look at something else that had appeared. I recognised the tone in her 'what's this?', as one not to ignore. And there it was, a little way away a glossy ibis. Ok, I know the world and his dog had now seen one in Hampshire, but we hadn't and very smart it was too. Not much larger than the coots it strolled amongst, on first glance it seemed a dull looking bird with a thumping great bill. Yet as it fed, the sun would catch it's feathers and reflect beautiful hues of purple and green. It wasn't easy to work out its age because of the distance, but the fact that it was so richly coloured led me think it was an adult in winter dress. As we watched a kingfisher alighted briefly on the branches in front of us and a green sandpiper quietly (uncharacteristically) flitted by.
By now the sun was getting lower in the sky and with more important matters beckoning - Strictly and 'No More Baboons' (I can't even begin to explain why I call 'Merlin' this!) we headed for home. We hoped that the celeb that dances with the expression that someone has put a stoat down her knickers gets voted out this week, as she hadn't improved much recently - too much gapping, don't you know!.........................................................Oh well, it was the bloke from Westlife, maybe this week!
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