Brushing up and brushing out

A fairly quiet day today visitor wise – whether because everyone was at the Bournemouth airshow or avoiding the traffic associated with the airshow I don’t know, but very peaceful for the visitors that were here! I was a bit disappointed not to get a repeat exhibition of the red arrows flying in formation and dumping coloured smoke over Ibsley Water as I was lucky enough to enjoy a couple of years ago. I was however even more disappointed to know that I missed out on yet another otter sighting earlier in the week though! Apparently one of our volunteers had a brief, but rewarding view of an otter from Ivy South Hide, in the middle of the day on Monday – my time WILL come! 

Other wildlife sightings that I have missed out on today is that of two osprey over Ibsley Water early this morning – recorded in the Lapwing Hide record book at 8.15am I was opening up Tern Hide very soon after that so only just missed them! Nothing else particular to report other than I was able to appreciate the efforts of Ed and Adam at Ivy North Hide when I opened up – they must have spent the best part of the day working outside the hide on Friday and have opened up excellent views and sight lines for the bittern that will be arriving at some point this winter.

brushout by J Day

Earlier this week Michelle and I had a very rewarding couple of days at Roydon Woods Nature Reserve with bushcraft instructor and former HIWWT employee Jamie Corry (aka the twisted firestarter – !) brushing up on old skills lost through lack of use and learning new ones. One of the field tracking techniques he taught us that should have been obvious, but had never occurred to me, was the “bush out” – basically, as the name implies, “brushing out”, or clearing and smoothing out the leaf litter over a bed of damp earth in order to better receive the footprints of anything crossing that point. Determined to put something newly learned into practice straight away I thought I’d have a bit of a go at it today. Unfortunately the dry weather has meant that damp ground is thin on the ground, but fortunately there are a couple of damp patches along by the river so I’ve given it a go. One of the brush outs is pictured above – so if you were wondering what on earth it was that I had photographed that you couldn’t quite see, don’t worry, there isn’t anything – yet! Hopefully there will be something to report on Monday… who knows, maybe I’ll even get a track of one of those elusive otters!

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