Sun Bitterns

Bird News: Ibsley Waterbarnacle goose 5, Caspian gull 1, pintail 14, peregrine 1. Ivy Lake –  bittern 3, water rail 2, Cetti’s warbler 1. Woodlandbrambling 1, lesser redpoll 20+.

I was going to post last night but fell asleep! So two days in one this time.

A party of 5 barnacle geese on Ibsley Water for the last two days are probably feral birds, but with cold coming in from the east we have had just the right conditions for the arrival of real ones. That said I have not heard of any others so perhaps caution should be excersised this time. Yesterday afternoon I finally  caught up with the adult Caspian gull on Ibsley Water. A notable feature of the cold spell has been the return of lots of gulls to the roost and the big rise in common gull numbers, perhaps we will get our own Iceland gull soon.

It was really cold overnight and driving up to the Centre this was made very clear when I looked at the Dockens Water which was frozen right across in places.

Ice on the Dockens Water

At the Ivy North hide I could make out 2 bittern standing high in the reeds on the lake edge about ten metres apart, they were in the first spot on the reed edge to catch the sun and the need to warm up had obviously taken precedence over their usual pugnatiouness, at least for a while.

The Woodland hide continues to attract more and more birds and I heard a brambling again this morning, there have been very few so far this winter and don’t expect many, even next month. The lesser redpoll and siskin numbers at the feeders are going up everyday as is the spend on nyger seed. The ringers were in again yesterday and caught sixty-five birds, including a couple of siskin and a lesser redpoll ringed at Blashford in previous years and a lesser redpoll ringed elsewhere. The weather yesterday was good for ringing, as it was for the volunteers. We were working in the small willow coppice patches near the Centre, where luckily we were nicely out of the easterly breeze and in the sun. Instead of dead hedging the cuttings were laid them on the ground around the cut stumps to try and deter the deer which completely stopped any regrowth last year, we will see how it works.

volunteers working in willow coppice

It was back to the Dockens Water this afternoon as we had a little job to do fixing some handrails. When we got to the site we found our first casualty of the cold snap, a redwing that seems to have landed on the ice, partly fallen though and then frozen to death.

frozen redwing

I am next in on Sunday, with the weather forecast as it is I wonder what will be in store, maybe some snow and almost certainly some new birds. Even if the snow does not reach us, the cold to the east will be pushing birds westwards, let’s hope it is not so cold that the lakes freeze. I will sign off for now with another Dockens Water shot, this time from towards the end of the day.

Icy Dockens Water



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