Wildlife was on top form this morning for my visiting school group. We started off in the woodland hide and one boy really knew his birds and was questioning me on the species we got. “Do you get bullfinches?” he asked to which I replied “Yes, but I’ve never seen one come to the feeders” at which point a beautiful male bullfinch flew down onto the feeder to the left of the hide!! When I went into the hide later on in the day some other visitors had also enjoyed some spectacular views too!
That wasn’t to be the last time wildlife surprised me. When we headed out to the meadow later on in the morning the group was lined up along the fence as I talked them through how to meadow sweep. One girl patiently held her hand up waiting to ask a question and I was guilty of waiting until I had finished my speel of information until I asked her what her question was. “There is a baby deer sitting in the grass right next to me!” was her response! Amazing! Sure enough just a meter away from her there was a fawn sitting quietly in the grass where it had been left to wait by its mother.
The children were very excited but stayed remarkably quiet and the fawn wasn’t spooked so they got some brilliant views of it.
One of our volunteers Geoff who lives just down the road came into Blashford today with this beast that he had rescued from his garden pond!
This handsome male stag beetle would have been flying around at dusk last night on the look out for a mate. His night obviously didn’t end well with his dip in the pond but he seemed remarkably fine after the ordeal.
Our resident bird ringer Kevin was up bright and early this morning along with Chris and Brenda and sent in this update from their mornings work:
“The longest day for me started at 2.15am when my alarm went off! On site for 3am amongst the misty gloom of Ibsley Water to target the Sand Martin colony next to the Goosander Hide.
As expected we didn’t catch as many birds as at the same stage last year – the cold Spring has reduced the number of breeding birds here – I estimate around 50 breeding pairs this year.
The bats were flying all around our nets in the darkness – how they avoided our nets I will never know – looked like Pipistrelle but that’s just a guess.
We started slowly to catch birds and ended up with 47 Sand Martins (2 from setting-up last night) of which 18 were retraps – all birds caught were adults.
Of the 18 retraps all were originally ringed at Blashford – 15 in 2012 and 3 in 2011.”
They managed to catch the following in nearby nets:-
Willow Warbler 1
Blue Tit 5
Jay 1 (see attached photo – originally ringed in May 2012 near to Lapwing Hide)