Hello again. It’s been a while (three weeks) since I posted on this blog, having been away and then, last week, after spending a time trimming back seed heads from buddleia to prevent them overrunning the reserve, and afterwards not feeling inspired enough to write anything. I was berated, earlier this week, by one of our regular volunteers and reader of the blog (you know who you are!!!) for not writing anything last Sunday, so I thought I’d better make an effort today. Those of you who do any writing will probably recognise the problems of either not feeling they have anything to say and/or struggling to find the words. Along those lines, I remember the tale of one professional writer who couldn’t think of a particular word for two weeks – but then it suddenly came to him….’fortnight’!!!
Having said all this, I guess most of you will want to read some news from Blashford, so here goes.
The bittern(s) is still in being seen regularly from Ivy South Hide, but has also been viewed, in its more usual habitat, in the reed beds outside Ivy North Hide. Whilst closing the reserve last Sunday, I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this bird in the left hand side of the reeds, far off to the right side of the Ivy North Hide. As no one else has posted any pictures of this bird yet, I’ll start with this rather poor, distant image, taken in low light conditions ( getting all my excuses in first!!) as evidence that the bird is here. Recent addition to the avifauna n the form of a ferruginous duck reported yesterday from Ivy South Hide. Otherwise the red-crested pochard is still around as are good numbers of many of the other ducks such as mallard, shoveller, gadwall, wigeon, teal, pochard, goldeneye and tufted duck. A few green sandpiper are scattered around the margins of the lakes.
For the gull fans (I know there are a few of you out there) up to nine yellow-legged gulls were seen coming in to roost on Ibsley Water yesterday. Roost time can also produce increased numbers of goosander as they fly in from the Avon Valley to spend the night here. Also in residence in and on the water, in roughly decreasing size order, we have mute swan, Canada goose, greylag goose, Egyptian goose, great-crested grebe, lapwing, coot, moorhen and little grebe.
The alders are providing enough food to keep a regular flock of siskin in and around the Woodland Hide area. This abundance of natural food means that many of the winter visitors to our seed feeders haven’t yet put in much of an appearance although some lesser redpoll have been reported. otherwise the usual collection of tit species including marsh tit as well as nuthatch and treecreeper are being seen from the Woodland Hide. A water rail was seen, by some lucky visitors, feeding on a fish (the rail feeding, not the visitor!), just outside the Ivy South Hide for about twenty minutes in the mid-afternoon.
A party from an RSPB local group have chosen Blashford for a day trip. One of the party reported seeing a large bird of prey flying low over the heath and going into the trees, from the description one of ‘our’ buzzards.
To finish here is a picture of what must be one of but maybe not the last ‘summer’ flowers to be seen on the reserve