As I drove into the car park to unlock the Tern hide this morning, I was greeted by around fifty house martins flying around the car park. Looking out from the hide over Ibsley Water I was amazed at the number of martins flying over the lake, I estimate there was at the very least 2000 house martins and a smaller amount, maybe 300, sand martins with just a few swallows. There masses over the lake and masses up high over to the east towards Mockbeggar lake, with a great many perched on the fence and trees around lapwing hide. Fantastic to see so many using the reserve before heading south to Africa. Although it is known house martins winter in Africa, nobody yet knows exactly where, it is thought that they winter at high altitude as unlike other martin and swallow species they have feathered feet to protect them from the cold.
The martins seems to have stayed most of the day, there were no reports of any ospreys today but Ibsley Water had three ruff, a green sandpiper, common sandpiper, a wheatear and a fantastic gathering of 102 cormorants on the islands. The wheatear must have been a tired migrant as it allow me to approach closely while I was moving the ponies. One ruff came very close to Tern hide while I had my lunch this afternoon.
Also on display today were a couple of wasp spiders at the edge of the path approaching the Goosander hide. Unfortunately they were both facing into in the grass which made photographing them a little difficult but it did show what they’d had for lunch. I also noticed what I presume is a wasp spider egg case in the grass.
Regular followers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t posted for a while, I have been away in Estonia, hence the Elk (moose if your North American). So unfortunately this splendid beast is not at Blashford Lakes, but who knows maybe one day? They are native to Britain but now are extinct here due to human hunting, apparently they can suppress the growth of willow and alder in reed beds so perhaps a couple of Elk on the reserve would be beneficial… I saw ten of these prehistoric looking brutes, this young male was the best picture I could manage through the car window early one morning.