Bird News: Ibsley Water – sand martin 5+, black-necked grebe 1, redshank 2. Ivy Lake – bittern 1, Egyptian goose 4, goldeneye 1. Woodland – brambling 1.
Yet again I could hardly see half way up Ibsley Water as I opened up, but through the mist I saw at least 5 sand martin, but I have no doubt there were more as I could only see them when they were low over the water. I also found a black-necked grebe, looking very good in pretty well full summer plumage. There was still no sign of any little ringed plover, although pairs of oystercatcher and redshank were looking settled and several male lapwing have taken up station on potential territories.
On Ivy Lake today a bittern was seen briefly in flight for the third day running. There has been a noisy pair of Egyptian geese prospecting nest sites around the lake for a while now and today a second pair appeared and violent fights ensued, I think they have the potential to become a real nuisance.
All I saw at the Woodland hide was a good number of lesser redpoll, although I saw the male brambling several times via the camera link on the TV in the Centre and I note in the log book that a female was seen yesterday as well.
It got very pleasant in the afternoon once the sun came out and I spent a while moving the logs from the diseased alders we felled a while ago. It is a very light wood once it dries and so is ideal for various uses in the education areas, even the smallest mini-beast hunter can roll an alder log without too much effort. In fact I came across a good range of invertebrates as I was moving the large logs so that I can cut them to size, most impressive was a splendid yellow leopard slug.
Leopard slugs do not usually come in yellow, their normal colour range is shades of grey, so this one was rather a surprise, it was also well patterned.
There were also several snails including the one below, I have tried looking it up and found a possible identity, but it would be a guess so I have opted for caution and left it unidentified, unless someone out there can put a name to it..
Of course there were lots of worms, woodlice and several beetles that would not stay still long enough for a picture, the same was true of most of the millipedes, apart from one which was in curled up mode, the legs look almost like a feather-like and the whole effect is reminiscent of an ammonite, at least to me.
In their own way each of these mini-beasts is quite stunning, the finger print-like pattern on the mantle of the slug, the ultra glassy shine on the snail-shell and the three dimensional study in arcs and circles that is the millipede, each one repays a second and a third really good look.