Bird News: Ibsley Water – sand martin 40+, swallow c10, house martin 2+. ruff 1, little ringed plover 2+, water pipit 1 (reported), rock pipit 2 (reported).
I arrived to see that the bird feeder beside the Centre car park was missing, I wondered if it had just been taken in for some reason, but when I looked in the diary I found out what had happened. Overnight Tuesday to Wednesday it and the other two large feeders at the Woodland hide had been stolen, clearly not an opportunist theft but a planned visit with the intention of stealing all three. Each one was taken along with the pole and seed tray, making the total cost of replacement about £250. In theory we could take them all in every night but this takes time, leads to them getting damaged and means they are not available for periods at the start and end of the day. I am not sure at present what is the best course of action, clearly we cannot accept this kind of loss too often, we have now lost five feeders in the last couple of years, despite them being marked with permanent marker and usually in less than new condition. The feeders and the birds they attract are a really feature of the reserve and a key attraction for many visitors, so I don’t want to be forced to stop feeding, but I am going to have to find some way of addressing the issue. Michelle reported that yesterday when she went round the hides there were lots of birds hopping around where the feeders should have been, hopping mad I shouldn’t wonder.
On a cheerier note there was a good turn out of volunteers today and we worked around the Woodland hide, generally spring cleaning the hide and the area around it, removing nettles, clearing the pond and preparing to set up a new “woodpeckercam” by putting in the cabling. I hope that this time it will be “Green woodpeckercam”, so fingers cross that they will use the hole that I can set the camera on.
There were a few swallows and martins about today, not large numbers, but they did include my first house martin of the year and my first flock of swallows, albeit not a large one. At least 1 ruff was still on Iblsey Water and the water pipit was reported as were 2 rock pipits. I saw a pair of little ringed plover and 2 Mediterranean gulls flew over in the morning.
On an especially sunny bank near the Dockens Water I also saw my first bluebells in full bloom and near the bridge at the Tern hide crossing the leopard’s bane is now out, not a native but an old introduction from the near continent with bright yellow flowers like sunbursts.
Although the day was not busy with general visitors, it was a hive of activity with a “Roamability” group and a family pond dip event in addition to the usual Thursday volunteers. It also proved necessary to get the cess pit emptied, all in all the car park was very congested for a good part of the day.