A trip out.

A trip out to some old gravel pits which are now filled with water and are now a nature reserve Blashford Lakes near Fordingbridge. The area is managed by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. Although only 30 miles from home this was my first visit to the reserve.

There is a suggested entrance fee of £4 good parking and a small information area the lakes are large and a telescope is useful as many of the waterfowl are a long way off. Post Code BH24 3PJ.

Some interesting bird spots included a Great White Egret {no Photo} Tufted Duck, Wigeon and Pochards as well as a pair of Egyptian Geese.

Great Crested Grebe in winter colours.

Cormorant.

Egyptian Geese.

There was also a good number of woodland birds in the Reserve.

Goldfinch.

Long Tailed Tit.

Robin.

Lightship.

Originally moored at Calshot Spit, this lightship was a floating lighthouse at the entrance to Southampton Water. It guided flying boats into their terminals and warning ships of sandbanks at the Brambles.

Six crew lived in cramped conditions keeping the light and foghorn operating. It was replaced by a buoy in the mid-1960s.

Bearded Tit.

They are small brown, long-tailed birds, a bird of the reedbeds.¬†Males have black ‘moustaches’.They are sociable and have a noisy, call.

With modern thinking – scientists have decided this is not actually related to the tit family. It was removed from the tit family and instead placed in the parrotbills, before further research revealed it belonged alone in its own family, “Panuridae”.

Now known as Bearded reedling or Bearded Parrotbill but to me, I will stick with what I know them as!

Thursday morning I was lucky to spot a flock of 16 birds at Titchfield Haven. They were some way off but I was able to capture some acceptable images of these pretty birds.

Male.

Female

A New Forest Church.

On this dull Wednesday, we stopped off at our favourite New Forest Churches.

St Nicholas Church Brockenhurst is the oldest church in the Forest. It is positioned on a mound, on the edge of the village which may have been a sacred site since pre-Christian times. A church is recorded at Brockenhurst in Domesday but the original Christian church was quite possibly established by Augustinians who established the priory at Christchurch. This church never seems to change except with the seasons. today it looks exactly the same as it did in 1980 when we got married there.

Male and female Blackbird.

War Graves in the Churchyard.

Details re the war graves copied from Commonwealth war graves commission webpage.

“Due to its proximity to the port of Southampton, its railway connections and an abundance of large houses in the area, Brockenhurst was chosen in 1915 by the War Office to become a hospital centre. Initially, Lady Hardinge’s Hospital (named after the wife of the Viceroy of India) for the Indian troops of the Lahore and Meerut Divisions was established south of the village. This was then replaced by No.1 New Zealand General Hospital in June 1916, after the Indian Divisions were replaced by ANZAC troops. The New Zealand Hospital remained at Brockenhurst until it closed early in 1919. The churchyard contains 106 graves of the First War, of which one hundred are in the New Zealand plot. In addition to the 93 New Zealand graves, there are also three Indian and three unidentified Belgian civilians (employed at the Sopley Forestry camp). On the East side of the New Zealand plot is a memorial incorporating a Cross.”

The snake man.

Harry ‘Brusher’ Mills was a hermit, a resident of the forest, he made his living as a snake catcher.  It is said he caught around 30,000 snakes during his 18 years as a snake catcher.

He was a man of few needs who loved the simple life, in a mud hut apart from a spell in the workhouse after catching influenza.

He was a popular character in Brockenhurst, regularly enjoying a tipple at The Railway Inn which today is named The Snakecatcher in his honour.

You are never far from a Robin in the New Forest.