Bird News: Ibsley Water – common tern 4, swallow 30+, house martin c10.
Not quite so cold last night and the usual moths were supplemented by a waved umber and a lesser swallow prominent. The waved umber flew off, which was a shame as they are very fine but the prominent was prepared to pose for a picture.
After yesterday’s excitement I was prepared for a day in the office, with no machinery most jobs out on the reserve were out of question. There was the securing of the stores to get done but that was in the hands of a contractor, so a day indoors was what was stretching out before me. However, just after I arrived the power went off and it remained that way throughout the morning, desperate measures were called for and Jim had to get the storm kettle out so we could make a cup of tea! These are incredibly efficient and it is a real eye-opener how few twigs it took to boil enough water for three mugs of tea, it was also very quick, once it was alight.
The morning, indeed much of the day, was actually spent dealing with the aftermath of the break-in or getting to the bottom of our lack of power, the latter was eventually traced to a problem in the water treatment works. Crossing towards the plant I noticed a good show of the tiny changing forget-me-not, so-called because the flowers change colour as they mature. Each flower is about 2mm across and the whole plant only about 25-30mm tall, or short!
I do not know why the flowers change colour, but as a bit of pre speculation I propose that it might be to maximise the number of potential pollinators, different species are attracted to different colours and for an annual plant that flowers early in the year hedging your bets as to which pollinators are out and about might not be a bad tactic.
When I went to lock the hides I also checked out some areas that we had cleared during the winter and took a few pictures to update the record of habitat development. One such area is beside Ivy lake where we cleared willow scrub to try to reinstate reed swamp. So far I am pleased with the progress, although it will take another two or three years before we will know just what we will get. There were some heavy showers around at the time and one had just missed Blashford when I took the picture.
When I went to close the Tern hide there were modest numbers of swallows and martins over the lake and a couple of common terns, although four had been reported earlier, as had at least one goldeneye. With the heavy showers I had half expected there to be a few migrants forced down, still maybe tomorrow…