Autumnal splendour

Actually it felt pretty wintry today, therefore I was surprised to see this comma basking in a sheltered sunny spot, where out of the wind it was in fact (nearly!) warm:

A late comma

The vibrant orange of this very fresh looking individual echo very much the leaves as they begin to turn – no doubt as long as the wind doesn’t whip them off the tree’s this cold snap should see more of our tree’s reach there autumnal best and I couldn’t resist this shot looking up into the canopy of one of our most splendid autumn tree’s, a beech, along by the Dockens Water this morning:

The lower temperatures did not make for an outstanding moth catch, just this chestnut, though there are still a surprising (I think) number of hardy caddis flies on the wing:

Chestnut moth

No reports of bittern today, but reports of up to 5 brambling and I saw my first goldeneye of the year – a duck and later on a visitor pointed out a drake on Ibsley Water too. A large, presumably female, peregrine was harassing the duck sheltering from the fierce northerly wind in the lee of the islands for much of the afternoon, but to the best of my knowledge did not get anything – nor did the sparrowhawk that zipped on through the car park while I was chatting to visitors, despite narrowly missing out on a collared dove.

A small group of roe deer (mum and 2 kids) seem to be regulars around the woodland hide at the moment and I managed to snatch a shot of them throught the alder today:

Michelle and I have got a pretty busy half-term of activities coming so please excuse the paucity of blog updates, although we will of course do our best as always to keep them up. alongside our booked groups and events we are also running another of our popular self-guided scavenger hunts. If you’ve got children at home, or visiting with you over the next couple of weeks, why not bring them along to Blashford for a walk and pick up a “Spooky Scavenger Hunt” list from the centre to do on your way round?

Roe deer

Finally regulars will be pleased to know that Hanson have finally had contractors in to re-surface the entrance to the Main “Tern Hide” car park  today – we’ve never had it so good! Unfortunately the gravelled track up to the centre is still in a woeful state of repair, but at least you can now access one car park without fearing an expensive car bill! We do  of course realise that the state of the track to the centre is poor and sadly it is only going to get worse before it gets better with the wet and cold conditions that we have had and will have to come. We are seeking funding to tarmac the track, but this is so far proving difficult from a planning and fund rasing point of view. In the meantime we’ll get a delivery of hoggin in and patch up the worst holes by hand if we manage to get a spell of dry enough weather and our visitors can help by taking it slowly and avoiding use of the centre car park itself unless necessary – every car that crashes into a hole when its’ wet chucks out a bit more hoggin and makes the situation worse!

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