Sun, snow and sh…. (you know what!!)

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.

gadwall and coot

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.

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,

on the path to Goosander and Lapwing hides

whilst there were still ‘drops’ of ‘snow’ on the ground.

snowdrops close to the bridge over Dockens Water

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.

oystercatcher seen from Lapwing Hide

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.

roe deer on the Ivy Lake peninsular

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