Common terns four, black headed gulls nil

Other than stating the obvious, i.e. that it’s bloomin’ cold  (but not wet at least!), the main news of note is that of 3 black-necked grebe on Ibsley Water. I missed them completely, but could not fail to miss the large numbers of hirundines and swifts that remain both there and over the other lakes in the complex. I, somewhat optimistically perhaps, ran the light trap last night but the colder weather resulted in just a lesser swallow promient, a lunar marbled brown and a few hebrew characters.

It was a morning of  close encounters – lapwing and redshank were both nice and close to Tern Hide when I opened up, and as I swapped the “hides closed” sign around to “open” a high pitched commotion from the river led me to take a look from along the path just to the east of the road bridge and gave me fine, albeit brief, views of a pair of kingfisher.

These roe deer had spent the night just off the path adjacent to the Woodland Hide:

Roe deer

And this very friendly little robin on the path from the Woodland Hide to Ivy South Hide just got closer:

A robin...

…and closer:

…before almost getting to close to photograph!

I could hear a reed warbler in full song as I approached the back of Ivy South Hide so looked for it once I’d opened up – it took a bit of searching for, but I was then rewarded with lovely views – before a bit of a tussle with a female reed bunting saw it dive for cover:

Reed warbler mid warble!

However, with the exception of the previously mentioned grebes the big newsflash of the day is that the common terns have booted the black headed gulls of the fourth raft! There has been a bit of argy-bargying going on between the two species since the rafts got put out and with more reinforcements coming in overnight to support the tern side they have successfully now taken control of all of the rafts, or at least they have for the time being – there is a pair of common tern fiercely defending their spot on the contested raft against the pair of gulls that had been guarding it. Far from giving up they keep going back to try and regain control and appear to have summoned reinforcements themselves as there have been an additional 6 black headed gulls circling around being seen off by the terns! You can just about make out one of the gulls sitting on one of the old vegetative rafts in the background of this photo, taken through my binoculars, hence the poor quality of the image:

Tern raft on Ivy Lake

 Back in the centre the first part of my morning was spent on a telephone call in an “IT supportive role” – trying to talk one of our regular visitors through accessing these blog pages. An able naturalist she is still getting her head around her computer, so Elizabeth, I hope you are reading this!

I then headed out with Jackie, a regular Thursday, and now Saturday, volunteer who spent a few hours with me doing some work at the “river dipping” section of the river in order to ensure that it is safe for this summers group visits that begin in earnest next week. It really is staggering just how much the topography of a river changes during spate conditions!


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