There were 2 new county records made during the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBs) that took place on Sunday! These were for the 625+ shoveler recorded on Ibsley Water and for the total number of gadwall recorded across the whole Blashford Lakes complex. Other bird numbers for Ibsley Water included 395 wigeon, 19 pochard, 66 goosander, 9 goldeneye, 118 pintail, 7 snipe and 80 tufted duck.
On Monday 700+ black-tailed godwit were seen circling over Ibsley with 200 eventually settling on the western side. Two bittern were seen to the right of Ivy North Hide in the afternoon; they scuffled with each other before one flew off.
The bird ringers were in on Tuesday for the first time this winter. As the day was quite mild they caught very few birds; just a handful of siskin, redpoll and chaffinch.
However the biggest, most exciting surprise to turn up in the net was a rather stunning juvenile kingfisher!
They look at the feathers on the wings to help age a bird. As birds age their wings go through moult cycles replacing juvenile feathers with adult ones. This kingfisher was aged from its feet. Juveniles feet are much duller than the bright orange colour of the adult birds. The younger the bird the more mottled the appearance of the feet.
I have only seen 5 visitors today; the rain (or maybe last minute christmas shopping!) seems to be keeping most people away. I took the opportunity of a quiet day to head over to the other side of the reserve to see how our new ponds were coming along. On the walk over I saw a small group of fallow deer including the white deer. The ponds, as you would suspect, were completely full of water already. This is a slight problem as the holes still need puddling to seal the bottoms and we were hoping to get the conservation volunteers up there tomorrow. However this is definitely a job that will now have to wait!
The dark green, turquoise colour characteristic of the silt pond on the way to Goosander hide is present in these new ponds. I don’t know what causes it but it makes quite a mysterious colour!
As expected the view from Goosander Hide was very grey; but there were a large number of shoveler out and about (3 females were sitting evenly spaced along the bar in the middle of the photo below). There were also a few goosander on the spit.
I took this photo as I left the Goosander Hide as I was quite taken with the contrast in colours ; the glowing burgundy of the birch and the vivid green of the moss. A brilliant splash of colour on a rainy day!