Very Wet Woodland

More rain today and overnight has made for a soggy reserve and one with few visitors. To be fair it did dry a bit in the afternoon and even warmed up a bit. I ventured out to check on some damaged trees and went over the boardwalk south of the Ivy South hide where the Dockens Water was flowing across a wide front through the willow swamp.

flooded woodland

Further down the Dockens Water a fallen oak tree has partly blocked the flow, although this can be a problem where it can result in flooding upstream, in this case there is no difficulty as the upstream area is wet woodland and quite capable of taking the flooding, in fact the wet woodland it creates is actually an important wildlife habitat. Such fallen branches can collect debris and form debris dams, in extreme cases these might obstruct the passage of migrating fish such as sea-trout, but again this is not likely to be a problem here as there are alway routes for fish to get through.

oak branch fallen into the Dockens Water

This wet woodland is home to lots of insects including many rare species, I did get a few pictures of some wet woodland insects, but none of them rare ones. The one below looks rather like a cranefly, many of which are wet woodland specialists, in fact it is not a true cranefly, I think the species is Ptychoptera contaminata, but don’t quote me, if it is the larvae are aquatic.

Ptychoptera contaminata (probably)

Another characteristic group of damp sites are the snipeflies, Chrysopilus cristatus is one of the common species.

Chrysopilus cristatus

The slightly warmer and drier spell in the afternoon also brought out a few hoverflies including a lot of Helophilus pendulus.

Helophilus pendulus

Closing up at the end of the day it was pleasing to see that the common tern chicks are still doing well despite the rain, which can often chill young chicks to death. I think a combination of  lots of food and their use of the chick shelters we provide ar ethe twin secrets of their success. Several pairs are still feeding three young and as they only lay three eggs are still on course to another very successful season. I also saw the oystercatcher chick on the western side of Ibsley Water, there appears to be only one, but it is growing very well. Like the terns the oystercatchers at Blashford are very successful rearing young almost very year, which is actually a very unusual feat.

 

 

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