…and by nature. With the limitations of the camera and the swiftness of the birds themselves, this is the best I managed to get locking up last night, but there were plenty of swifts around at the end of the day yesterday – at least 50 over the Tern Hide car park alone, though dispersed again by this morning:
Very busy today so will keep this brief before I head home…
Yesterday a downy emerald dragonfly delighted the school group that was in by emerging from the centre pond and showing itself off in all it’s glory. Having chosen a particularly cool and overcast day to emerge it wasn’t fit to fly yesterday and was still there this morning enabling me to take a picture. It had gone by lunchtime, hopefully because it had flown rather than having become somethings lunch. Large red damselflies were also very much in evidence today:
I overheard several very confused youngsters today questioning parents as to why it was snowing. I couldn’t get a great picture but this kind of shows what they were seeing (if you look carefully!):
In fact it was of course the willow seeds, which are always quite spectacular in quantity on the reserve at this time of year:
I spent a significant part of the morning helping BTO volunteer Brenda out with the nest box monitoring. Already nesting success is proving to be much greater than the preceding couple of cold/wet springs:
Hopefully the common terns will do as well this year as last – Bob and the volunteers got all of the rafts ship-shape and onto the water on Thursday morning, and two are now in position. Unfortunately, for the time being at least, the black headed gulls are very much in control (not that you can see from this picture, you’ll have to take my word for it!):
Elsewhere, both ringed and little ringed plovers have been seen from Tern Hide and visitors to Ivy North Hide were kept entertained by very busy blue tits feeding young in a crevice of a mossy willow tree and also by a roe doe just outside the hide.
We’ve not been running the light trap the last few weeks due to the predation of the catch by birds early in the morning, but I did see my first cinnabar moth of the year on the lichen heath during the day. Also on the lichen Heath, but at the end of the day when I was locking up, a buzzard took up from a freshly killed rabbit kitten right near the path on the approach to Ivy North Hide. Not to everyone’s taste, but for me it was a good close encounter.
I also encountered a couple of lads with what I can only assume was a bucket of bait and presumably on their way back from baiting up a “swim” on Ellingham Lake with the intention of coming back for some night fishing, though they tried to reassure me that this was not the case. We’ll be keeping an eye open, but would also ask you, our visitors, to record any observations/vehicle registration numbers of anyone you believe may be fishing or investigating fishing. There is plenty of lake fishing in the valley but within the reserve itself there should only be fishing on Spinnaker/Blashford Lake and (for a little while at least) the very north-eastern inlet of Ibsley Water. Anywhere else and there may be illegal fish movements and poaching taking place and, given the sensitivity of ground nesting birds at this time of year, particularly around Ibsley Water, we are very concerned to make sure that fishing does not take place anywhere else. If you do see anything please let us know – and if you suspect poaching is taking place or that schedule 1 nesting species (notably at Blashford, kingfisher or little ringed plover) are being disturbed do call the police on the non-emergency number (101) and report it! Thanks!