Bird News: Ibsley Water – water pipit 1, mandarin 1, Egyptian goose 2, sand martin 2, green sandpiper 1, Mediterranean gull 1. Ivy Lake – water rail 2.
Yet another brilliant sunny day with temperatures topping twenty degrees. The hawthorn is coming into leaf and the blackthorn into bloom.
Opening the Tern hide I saw the water pipit briefly before it flew off with about a dozen meadow pipits when a male sparrowhawk flew down Ibsley Water. There were 2 sand martin over the lake, but they did not stay and a single adult Mediterranean gull bathing before heading off north. The sighting of the morning though was a drake mandarin that flew north right up the centre of the lake. It turns out there was also one on Ivy Lake a short while later and in the afternoon I saw a pair on Mockbeggar Lake, so I am not really sure how many there were in all.
At the Ivy North hide the water rail pair were calling loudly, I took this as complaint as they were being chased around by a belligerent moorhen.
There were butterflies all over the reserve today, although I still could not find an orange tip. I suspect there could be large red damselflies out somewhere, I have seen them in March before, but only once and some years ago, I had a search of likely spots but unsuccessfully. Other insects were out in good numbers, bumblebees including several common carder bees.
The bee-fly Bombylius major was out in force and I saw the hoverfly Tropidia scita for the first time this year. These were near the Dockens Water where I also found several plants, some more desirable than others. The fertile stems of the horsetails are shooting up now.
Near the horsetails I came across a clump of arum, or cuckoo-pint of the form with dark spotted leaves.
At the top of the undesirable finds was a rash of tiny two-leaved seedlings, they were seedling Himalayan balsam, almost makes me want a short sharp frost to thin them out.
During the afternoon I was working near the Lapwing hide and came across my first adder of the year, I know they have been out for ages, I just had not seen one myself. On my way back to the Centre I was passing the rather inappropriately named Clearwater Pond when I spotted a pair of mandarin ducks and digi-binned this very iffy picture to prove it.
Just before I left I was locking up the Tern hide and saw a green sandpiper on the shore just below the hide, the first I have seen on the south side of the lake for ages.