A Drizzly Day

There was a rare sighting at the reserve today. This morning from the Ivy North Hide the lesser spotted Bob could be seen wading through the reed bed.

The lesser spotted Bob!

With help from his assistant Rob he has cut two channels through the reed bed and cleared the vegetation in front of the hide. So the stage is now set and we are ready and waiting for our much-anticipated winter visitors – the bitterns. Fingers crossed!  Bob’s bird highlights for the day were 7 goosander on Ibsley at the start of the day and 170 shoveler!

Jim and I have been busy with school visits over the last few weeks. One school’s aim was to inspire their pupils about plants. We think the best way to inspire is through the stomach, so off we went for an edible walk! Unfortunately this year really isn’t great for many seeds, berries and fruits however they did enjoy nibbling rose hips, carefully avoiding the itching powder within! They also tried haws and sloes.

Sloes

Hidden amongst the moss and grass on the edge of the lichen heath are some tasty leaves of sheep’s sorrel. I think sheep’s sorrel has fantastically shapped leaves – it could be a fish, an upside down sheep’s head or maybe even a rocket?! 

Sheep’s sorrel

This is one of the food plants for the caterpillars of the small copper butterfly, the other most commonly-used being common sorrel.

On the edge of the car park is a rather striking spindle tree covered in bright pink seed cases.

Spindle

The seed cases have just started to open, revealing the bright orange seeds within. These berries provide food for all kinds of creatures, including mice, birds and even Foxes, but are poisonous for us. So look but don’t touch!

Spindle seed

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