A Day to Enjoy

Bird News: Ibsley WaterBewick’s swan 6, goosander 95, black-tailed godwit 2, peregrine 1, green sandpiper 1. Ivy Lakeferruginous duck 1, bittern 2, water rail 1, yellow-legged gull 1, green samdpiper 1. Rockford Lakegoldeneye 4, Egyptian goose 10, pintail 1, green sandpiper 1.

After yesterday’s wash-out today’s sunshine was very welcome. Visitor numbers were high all day, in fact the car parks were more or less full from mid morning to mid afternoon. Luckily people were well spread around the reserve so none of the hides were too jammed. The ferruginous duck was to the south of the Ivy South hide for most of the day, unfortunately looking into the sun did not give the best views though. A few lucky people saw bittern from Ivy North hide, the circumstances suggest that there were two birds involved.

As I opened the Tern hide this morning I was just in time to see the 6 Bewick’s swan before they flew out to the valley, curiously, although they flew in the direction of their usual feeding fields, they were not seen there today. Green sandpipers were seen on three different lakes and 2 black-tailed godwits added to the waders, although they left to the south in the late afternoon. At dusk a good roost count of the goosander was reported, still shy of the magic one hundred, but 95 was still impressive.

Following yesterday’s report of a Caspian gull on Blashford Lake I went to see if it was there this morning, I did find a large gull, which promptly flew to Ivy Lake, where I got a few pictures of it, but I reckon this bird is a yellow-legged gull, so my search for a Caspian this winter goes on.

yellow-legged gull

Walking back passed Rockford Lake the masses of whistling wigeon were rather drowned out by the cries of 10 Egyptian geese.

Egyptian goose

Going through the woodland I noticed several large flies basking int he sunshine on the lichen covered trunks of two trees. Looking closer I was taken by the fabulous gardens of lichens and moss that these trunks had developed. There also seemed to be some differences between the two trees flora, possibily because one was an oak and the other an ash.

lichens on oak trunk


lichens on ash trunk

One of the great things about Blashford Lakes is that it appeals to a wide range of visitors, not just out and out birders, although the ferruginous duck was attracting a steady stream of admirers, others did not give it a second, or even first, glance. There were people seeking their first glimps of a bittern or trying to unravel the finer points of gull identification, but at least as many were gathered at the Woodland hide enjoying  the great spotted woodpeckers, lesser redpolls and blue tits.

blue tit

Locking up at the end of a busy day, there were still people hoping a water rail would come out to feed as the sun set. Locking up the Ivy South hide it wa sgood to see the ferruginous duck doing something other than sleeping. It was bathing and preening and swimming about, it looked much better when it was active. Unlike many other ducks pochard, and I suspect the ferruginous duck also, feed at night and I think these birds were just setting out for the start of their day as I was finishing mine.


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