A beautiful bright and spring-like morning presaged another busy day. With several cars parked near the reserve entrance as we opened up and with birdwatching groups booked in from Winchester and Dursley, I wasn’t too surprised to find a queue at the Ivy North Hide, waiting for me to unlock the door. Obviously someone has ‘let-on’ that the bittern had been see here!! Many visitors reported good views of bittern and also, later in the day, the two red-headed smew were seen from this hide. Didn’t get to see the bittern ourselves, but spent a little while watching a pair of gadwall following a coot around so that they could pick up the ‘droppings’ of the weed that the coot was bringing up from deep water.
Talking of droppings, it looks like some ‘kind(?)’ soul has been putting seed out on a few of the seats around the reserve. On one of these near the badger set, there has been some overnight athletic activity by ( I think) a badger, possibly in search of peanuts, but who then couldn’t be bothered to get down before relieving itself. I guess this is what you might call a toilet seat.
On a more pleasant topic the late winter sun and blue sky set off even otherwise fairly unremarkable parts of the reserve,
whilst there were still ‘drops’ of ‘snow’ on the ground.
On the bird news front around the reserve, Ibsley water held good numbers of waterfowl including goosander, teal, wigeon, gadwall, sholveler, goldeneye, pintail, Egyptian goose, pochard, barnacle goose, tufted duck and lots of coot. On the wader front there were many lapwing and a pair of oystercatcher.
Late morning provided some excitement when a large falcon disturbed most of the birds on Ibsley Water. A large bird it didn’t look right for a peregrine, the face ‘mask’ wasn’t too clear and it was brownish rather than blue on the back. Another observer noticed a rather tawny coloured tail.
The Iceland Gull was reported mid-afternoon alongside the usual large numbers of other gulls, especially as many more came in to roost later in the day.
Although most visitors are pleased to see them, the number of deer using the reserve do cause problems as they browse off regenerative growth from coppiced areas. Another potential problem is their capacity to kill trees where they nibble off the bark all the way round a tree at browse height. So I’ll leave you with an image of a roe deer doing just this on the peninsula to the left of Ivy South Hide.