I scream Sunday

The first Sunday of the month and as Ed couldn’t be here, it fell to me to run the conservation volunteers bash.  Today we attacked the encroaching vegetation along the footpath between the small car-park and the equipment storage area. Its one of those areas where gradually growing willow, sedge and brambles have narrowed the width of the path and made it quite narrow. Thanks to all who turned up we now have a much easier route through.

There were a number of ‘seasonal’ bird sightings today.

When  opening up there were three pied wagtail, an adult and two youngsters, perched up on the Tern Hide.  I went  back to the car for my camera, but they flew before I could capture the scene.  Fortunately, however, my trip wasn’t wasted as I managed to snap a couple of young Egyptian geese on the shore outside the hide.

Young Egyptian geese

Young Egyptian geese

Kingfishers are nearly always seen more frequently at this time of year. Although the suitable habitat for breeding on the reserve is only really along the Dockens Water, or further afield in the Avon valley, at this time of year young birds are dispersing – or being dispersed by their parents who are driving them off – and so turn up in some number on the lakes.  Today there were a number of reports from visitors of kingfisher seen from Ivy North and South Hides.

Sometime later at least one visitor saw an osprey over Ibsley water and common sandpiper were regularly patrolling along the shore in front of the Tern hide.

common sandpiper - note the white 'shoulder-stripe' which is characteristic of this species, not seen on other sandpipers

common sandpiper – note the white ‘shoulder-stripe’ which is characteristic of this species, not seen on other sandpipers

It’s also that time of year when the spider population in the hides builds up. I know quite a few people who don’t find this a pleasing aspect of birdwatching and they can provoke an almost hysterical response if they drop from the roof. Personally I don’t mind them, some of them are beautifully marked, but I appreciate there not to everyone’s taste. Those with arachnophobia should look way now.

Spider in Tern Hide

Spider in Tern Hide

The now almost regular highlight of this time of year is the arrival of the great white egret and there were at least half a dozen visitors today who were looking for this bird.  There were several reports  from both Ivy North and South hides and I was lucky enough to capture this image late in the day.

Great whit egret from Ivy North Hide

Great white egret from Ivy North Hide

Slightly unusually when it came to the time I was closing the Tern Hide, several mute swans were busy preening just off shore. It’s the time of year when considerable numbers of these beautiful birds spend time with us as they moult their feathers, as witnessed by large quantities of feathers floating on the lakes and distributed around the shore.

P1450302_Mute Swan

Mute swan outside Tern hide

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