A Sandwich to End the Day

Bird News: Ibsley Waterwhimbrel 10, dunlin 1, black-tailed godwit 2, white wagtail 1, common tern 10, common sandpiper 2, Sandwich tern 1. Ivy Lake – Cetti’s warbler 1, pochard 1, water rail 1.

The day started brilliant and blue, there was nothing for it but to stand in a sunny spot and take in the bright and song filled morning, at least for a minute or two, every day should start this way.

trees and blue sky

My day actually started at the tern hide, at first there seemed nothing of note, then I realised there were some waders on the islands, in fact 10 whimbrel, mostly roosting, our first passage group of the spring and my first of the year apart from a single wintering bird on the coast back in January.

Much of the morning was spent  checking some of the nest boxes. A good few were occupied, mostly by blue tits, which were still laying and great tits most of which are now incubating clutches. Some were occupied by wood mice and one by grey squirrel and several showed signs that something had been inside but what was unclear.

We did come across several insects int he course of our wanderings including a mating pair of leaf beetles, I think this is the species which makes lace out of dock leaves a little later in the season.

beetles on nettle

One particular sycamore tree had columns of ants marching up and down it, I could not obviously see why there were so many on this one trunk, unless there was a sap run somewhere higher up.

ants on sycamore trunk

Looking closely to try to work out why there were so many ants and just what they were up to I spotted several ants checking out a beetle, at first I thought the ants were attacking it, but this was not so. The beetle did not seem to be enjoying the attention but each ant that approached wandered off after a few seconds once their curiosity was satisfied.

ant and beetle

The clear blue start to the day sis not last, cloud slowly built during the morning and developed into heavy showers by lunchtime and pretty general rain by the mid afternoon. The rain drove most visitors away, but this can be a mistake at this time of year. Very heavy rain forces down any birds flying over and in extreme conditions birds can almost drop out of the sky. The effect was not strong today but the intense showers did seem to produce a couple of black-tailed godwit, a dunlin and a 2 or 3 common terns. At the end of the day I just made it to the Tern hide ahead of another squall and was rewarded with the sight of a Sandwich tern flying down Ibsley Water as the rain cleared again. Sandwich terns do not often venture inland and this was my first sighting at Blashford, no doubt blown in with the squall. I also noticed a female white wagtail in the small flock of pied wagtails on the shore of the lake, only the second I have seen this year, although there is still time for more. The white wagtails, like the black-tailed godwits will be on their way to Iceland.


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