Bird News: Ibsley Water – peregrine 1, black-tailed godwit 18, pintail 11, shelduck 5, common gull 120+. Ivy Lake – bittern 1.
A cold and frosty start meant that I had to warm the padlocks to defrost them before I could get into the reserve, unfortunately this is best done by holding it in my bare hand, which melts the ice but at some personal discomfort. Having got into the Tern hide I saw the largest flock of black-tailed godwit so far this winter, although this was still only eighteen. They were in twisting flight over the lake, probably caused by the large female peregrine perched on one of the islands. There was no sign of the smew, but there were 5 shelduck, 11 pintail and a single Bewick’s swan. I think there is just the one adult Bewick’s swan remaining now, it goes up to Harbridge in the daytime and joins the 200 or so mute swan and the single, and surprisingly approachable, adult whooper swan.
Although later in the morning a bittern was reported as seen very well indeed, this was not the case first thing, but it was very frosty and the nearest part of the lake was frozen over.
I looked for the ferruginous duck from the Ivy South hide, but struggled to find more than one or two pochard, so I was not surprised that I could not find it.
I spent the rest of the morning at Testwood Lakes where we had a team meeting, which did allow the bonus of a chance to see the firecrests and hawfinches that have been seen there recently. Unfortunately it was only the chance that was offered and I failed to make the most of it and saw only a goldcrest and a few greenfinches.
Back at Blashford in the afternoon and as I locked up the Tern hide the gull roost included at least 120 common gull, at least 110 more than usual. I don’t know just where they come from but numbers always shoot up as soon as we get a frost. The female peregrine was also around again and had a dash about stirring up the gulls and teal, but all to no avail.
Lastly thank you to everyone that follows this blog, it is gratifying to know that it is read and your feedback is always welcome. We now have over a hundred follows and the pages sometimes get over 250 views a day, so more people read the blog than visit the reserve on most days of the week.