Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy!

Today we had visitors that had travelled all the way down from the Scottish highlands. They were delighted by views of a young kingfisher that was perched outside Ivy south hide for over 20 minutes.  This was my photo from Ivy South hide an hour before. You will have to cut and paste your own image of a Kingfisher onto one of the perches!

Ivy Lake

The coot were looking quite dramatic against the silvery water this morning when I went round unlocking the hides between the showers.

Coot on Ivy Lake

In the woodland hide the cheeky squirrel is still working his way through all the peanuts and not letting anyone else get a look on. He may be too fat to get out quite soon!

Acrobatical greedy squirrel

The start of the blackberry season is upon us so keep your eyes open from now on for bright purple fox and badger poo laced with their seeds.


Over at Goosander there were up to 3 kingfisher seen today in front of the hide much to the delight of the photographers. A fox also showed up outside the hide and another was spotted by a family crossing the path ahead of them.

On Friday some visitors spotted a couple of alder sawfly larvae munching on the leaves of the alder saplings growing by the Centre’s pond. They look absolutely mad with their long white punky hair-do sticking out in all directions. It reminds me of Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy! – a charcter from a children’s book I had growing up. 

Alder Sawfly larva

While I was in the Woodland hide I was being bothered by a mosquito and it occurred to me that I have never let a mosquito knowingly bite me, it’s a completely normal and sensible reaction to swat it away as soon as you can! Now I don’t like needles at the best of times but I decided to try and overcome my fear by allowing this mosquito to use its piercing mouth part to suck up my blood so I could watch what happens.

Mosquito sucking my blood!

Mosquitos of both sexes feed on juices of flowers and fruits and it is just the female that feeds on blood to gain the protein required to develop eggs.  The female will rest for a few days after a blood meal while the blood is digested and eggs are developed.

Mrs Mosquito admiring her tummy full of blood!

It was fascinating to watch the mosquito’s abdomen slowly fill with blood; it took a few minutes before she was full and she flew down next to the window. I don’t think I have ever seen a mosquito so full of blood before! I have almost certainly contributed to the next generation of hungry Blashford  mosquitos- Sorry!


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