Bird News: Ibsley Water – goosander 55+, goldeneye 16+. Ivy Lake – bittern 1, Cetti’s warbler 1, chiffchaff 1, ferruginous duck 1. Harbridge – whooper swan 1, Bewick’s swan 3.
Although I was at the Tern hide quiet early this morning the Bewick’s swans had already left. The goosander were still scattered all over the lake though, the drakes dashing about trying to look impressive, whilst the ducks generally ignored them, or at least pretended to. Once again, as I opened the Ivy North hide I spotted a bittern, this time in the sparse reeds just to the east of the hide. Down at Ivy South I did not expect the ferruginous duck to be there as there were rather few pochard, but I was wrong as it was asleep, what else, straight out from the hide.
Following yesterday’s report fo the whooper swan from Harbridge I could not resist popping up the road to take a quick look, luckily, not only was it still there it was also the nearest swan to the roadside.
A good part of the morning was spent installing a new camera overlooking a hidden part of Ivy Lake, although my input was strictly non-technical, I just trimmed and tweaked the view and installed a perch for any passing kingfisher. I was a bit concerned that as this involved wading out into the lake it might scare off the ducks including the ferruginous and so cause some consternation amongst the assembles watchers. Luckily we approached gently and so the ducks just moved off to the south, but remained on the lake.
As we worked a Cetti’s warbler was singing in the reeds and a chiffchaff calling int he willows above our heads, my first of the year. Also a first for 2012 was the snipe we flushed as we walked out to the lake shore. The new view should be up on the website tomorrow.
It remains very spring-like, today there were two male smooth newts visible on Pondcam, at the Centre a huge buff-tailed bumble-bee queen was buzzing about and I saw my first snowdrops of the season. The mild night allowed moths to fly and the trap contained four species including common quaker and pale-brindled beauty.
In the afternoon I had a “walk” that went nowhere, it was a public event to look at the birds arriving and departing Ibsley Water as the sun went down. We watched from the Tern hide from 15:30 and saw the streams of gulls arriving from the north to spend the night on the lake. At the same time the cormorants that collect on the islands during the afternoon flew off to roost in trees both north and south in the valley. A small swirl of starling circled the north shore, initially fifty or so, but steadily groups arrived from all directions and the flock grew into a reasonable sized gyrating murmeration. All the while goosander were zipping in, banking hard as they dropped in behind the long shingle bank. The jackdaw and rook roost to the west did not really show before we finished and the greylag geese also had not arrived, although they can be rather unreliable. The Bewick’s swans do roost on the lake but often fly in too late to be seen, so I was not so surprised we missed them tonight.