Although not icy this morning, it was cold and the damp in the air made it feel chillier still. It was a busy morning so didn’t spend much time at any of the hides opening up, the most noticeable thing being the lack of birds on Ibsley Water – still lots of coot, but not a lot of anything else.
This very early opening wild daffodil outside the Woodland Hide was a ray of sunshine on an otherwise inauspicious start to the day. As I opened up the shutters at the back of the centre I saw evidence of yet another blocked drain, so not a fortnight on since I last donned the rubber gauntlets I did so again! It was then a race against time to get the loo’s operational as soon as possible before I was needed to lead this mornings public event – “Funky Forest fatball Feeders”!
To those visitors who were sensitive to the situation I found myself in this morning, thank you!
Fortunately I managed to get the drains rodded and the equipment cleaned down with about a minute to spare before the first arrivals booked in – and from then on in everything was significantly better! The event went well with 22 people of all ages (20 if you discount the 1 year olds!) safely using drills, bow saws and secateurs to create some fatball bird feeders from locally sourced green wood (willow withies from the Willow Wood and a young sycamore from the river flood plain – which, incidentally, weeped loads of sap when felled; yet another indication of a very early spring).
(Most people enjoyed themselves!)
The completed bird feeders were then filled with home-made fat balls, consisting of individually blended bird seed mixes and suet (which had very kindly been donated by Prima Foods) before everyone headed down to the Woodland Hide to get an idea of what birds they might hope their bird feeders would attract!
(The finished article!)
Otherwise the reserve was generally busy all day with our usual mix of bird watchers, photographers and families out for a walk. There were reports of the whooper swan up at Harbridge, at least one bittern at Ivy North Hide, but no ferruginous duck despite lots of people looking.