Bird News: Ibsley Water – black tern 3, bar-tailed godwit 3, black-tailed godwit 1, dunlin 1, swift c60, cuckoo 1.
After an iffy start the day turned out very fine indeed and the waterproofs could be put away for once. I was leading a walk of visitors from the Dorset Wildlife Trust today, which gave me an excuse to have a good look around the reserve. Although Ibsley Water provided the “best” birds of the day in the shape of three fine black terns, a small group of waders including 3 bar-tailed godwit, two of them red males, a dunlin in breeding finery and an elusive black-tailed godwit, there were other birds to enjoy elsewhere. The path between the Woodland hide and Ivy South hide is always a good area for warblers and today we could hear and usually see reed warbler, blackcap, garden warbler, Cetti’s warbler and chiffchaff as well as various resident singers. There was also a very smart male reed bunting singing in the reedbed of the Silt Pond.
We visited the Goosander hide where the sand martin colony is finally getting busy with lots of coming and going. At the Ivy North hide the highlight was an immaculate male grey wagtail, acid yellow contrasting with a jet black throat.
Finishing off at the Tern hide again we were lucky to have a few common tern come in to perch on the posts outside the hide. Initially just resting but as other birds flew in things got more animated until a bout of full display was initiated.
In the afternoon I wasted most of the time tracking down some trespassers on Ibsley Water and Mockbeggar Lake that had also parked so that the access gates to the Goosander and Lapwing hide were blocked for disabled visitors and my quad bike. Turned out they were two guys I caught one day last week as well. They were just out for a walk and did not know where they were then as well, what are the chances?! Unfortunately these wanderers are not harmless, they lead to loss of ground nesting birds and general disturbance. Some at least are also the same people who return at night to fish, the prolonged stays on the bank lead to desertion of nests, especially of species like lapwing and little ringed plover. The lakes also suffer from illegal fish movements, these result in fish and potentially diseases being moved between lakes and sometimes alien species being introduced. In my efforts to find the wanderers I did at least finally hear my first cuckoo of the year, this is my latest ever date for my first by some margin, despite an arrival from mid-March!