My first posting for a while, as I haven’t been on duty much so far this year. We were greeted on a wonderfully sunny day to the springlike chorus of a range of birdsong. Great tits giving their characteristic ‘belling’ or ‘teecher’ song and song thrush with their unmistakable repetitive phrases.
Going round to open the hides, there were three visitors waiting outside the Ivy North Hide, who seemed slightly surprised that I’d guessed what they were hoping to see. I re-assured them that we had let the bittern out earlier so they were sure to see it!!!! Fortunately I spotted one in the nearest channel and it strutted its stuff for several minutes giving them all excellent views. Unfortunately a couple of them had brought their telescopes but had forgotten their cameras – lesson learned!!
A little later, after I’d been cleaning the outside windows of the Woodland Hide, these same visitors reported seeing me from the path whilst they were coming back from Ivy North Hide and could see a lesser-spotted woodpecker on a tree just behind me. Annoyingly I didn’t see it – grrr.
Across the reserve the numbers of wildfowl are still holding up well, although probably not as many as a few weeks ago. Along with the familiar wigeon, teal, gadwall and tufted duck, there are still numbers of shoveller, pochard, pintail and goldeneye, together with twenty plus goosander. In addition up to five (or even six) black-necked grebe were seen – at least three on Ibsley water and a couple more on Rockford lake
Jim very kindly put out the light trap overnight, but the clear cold night was not conducive to luring in too many moths – in fact just the one – this small brindled beauty .
Taking an opportunity to stroll over to the Tern Hide, Sheila spotted this rather attractive fungus on a fallen branch close by the path. I believe it is Tremella mesenterica which has the slightly un-nerving common name – Yellow Brain Fungus.
In the afternoon, a visit to the Woodland Hide was rewarded with views of many of our regular woodland secies including lesser redpoll and brambling, but the highlight was a female sparrowhawk which shot past the hide window. Needless to say the other birds took a while to regain their composure and return to feed.
Later still we were alerted to the presence of yet another bittern lurking on the far side of the silt pond – visible from the path close to the Ivy South Hide, so together with the report of two separate bittern from the Ivy North Hide brings the reserve total to a definite three birds.