Bird News: Ibsley Water – smew 1, barnacle goose 5, black-tailed godwit 4, yellow-legged gull 1, Mediterranean gull 5, wigeon c500, peregrine 1. Ivy Lake – bittern 2, smew 2, green sandpiper 1.
Another fabulously clear and frosty start and made better by just about the first bird I saw from the Tern hide being a redhead smew, I think an adult female as it is very clean and neat.
Somewhere out there is the smew, it is a little more visible in the shot below.
I walked round opening the hides in brilliant sunshine and, despite being cold, this had induced lots of bird to sing. The song thrushes were going full tilt, they are magnificent singers when they really go for it. I got a picture of the one below in the top of a tree just beside the path near the Woodland hide.
The bitterns were performing well again today, although there were a few face-offs when they met, they are famously anti-social birds. Things were a little more restrained inside the hide, but not entirely friction free. As noted before some visitors, most conspicuously photographers, do make a habit of occupying the hide for hours at a time, often hogging the best views to the exclusion of others. So far this has led to no more than muttering off, but a bit more consideration would not go amiss.
I had to go down to Ivy Lake in the afternoon to check out a report of poachers, they might regard themselves as unofficial anglers, but the movement of fish they do is a threat to the legal fisheries and involve the theft of fish sometimes worth hundred of pounds. In this case all that was left was a bit of rubbish, another regular sign of anglers having been on site. On the way I saw two redhead smew, presumably the one I saw on Iblsey Water and another, but I am not entirely sure there are not three around. I also came across my first lesser celandine flower of the spring.
For some time a large ash tree in the same area has had a couple of bracket fungi, but after not looking at it for a while I found the brackets have really grown, the tree is probably slowly dying. Luckily it is not going to fall on anyone or anything that we need to worry about, for once a tree can go through all the stages of life and death with all the niches this provides for wildlife.
When I locked the Tern hide I had a scan for the Iceland gull, with no success, there were at least 5 Mediterranean gulls though and the 5 barnacle geese were also there. I was also pleased to see a good flock of wigeon grazing the western bank, this has the added bonus of trimming the grass to an ideal length for nesting lapwings.