Two summers ago saw our first ever records of raft spider on the reserve and by the end of the summer we had recorded at least 6 individuals in a variety of locations, including the centre pond where George, as he was christened, was a very popular resident with all of our visitors. We had high hopes for last summer but the abysmal weather seemed to have done for them all… until lunchtime today when Ed happened to spot what appears to be a young raft spider on the edge of the pond. The markings seem right, it even has a bit of a green-ish tinge to its legs, but if it is indeed a raft spider it is a very young one, still only about the same size as the pond skaters it was sharing the water surface with. Son (or daughter?) of George? We hope so; watch this space!
The weather perked up a bit today and saw hundreds of swallows, sand martins and house martins feeding over Ibsley Water, the most noticeable bird however being swift whose screams and acrobatics fill the air most days now. There were no sightings of the black or arctic terns seen earlier in the week, but at least 22 common tern.
Unfortunately the change in weather has delayed the resurfacing of the entrance track and therefore the car parks and track by the Education Centre remain closed and will remain closed over the weekend and probably until Tuesday, in order that the clay in the clay/stone mix can dry out and harden into a finished surface. Sorry for the inconvenience but sadly it does seem to be the case that whenever Robin rolls up with machinery to maintain track at Blashford you can almost guarantee rain out of a blue sky, regardless of the weather forecast previous.
A reminder too that the joint HOS/RSPB/HIWWT Bird Trail 2013 event is being held at Blashford Lakes this Sunday (12th) so regular visitors may choose not to visit until after 2pm when the event is over thus freeing up Ivy North, Woodland, Ivy South and Goosander Hides which will otherwise be fairly full to capacity for much of the day until then…