Gulls with colour rings and bee orchids at Blashford

Yesterday evening I joined local bird ringers Kevin and Brenda and we headed out to Ibsley Water with the plan of ringing some chicks from the black-headed gull colony on the island in the north-west corner of the lake. We set off in the reserve’s small dingy to the eastern side of the island. There were masses of young gulls and we ringed 27 with orange coloured rings then quickly left as we didn’t want to disturb them for too long.

Black-headed gull chick

Black-headed gull chick

Each chick was fitted with a British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) ring that has a unique number, allowing the bird to be traced back to it’s ringing site and if anyone manages to find or read the ring number again.

The picture below shows the orange ring and number (upside down in the photo but it will be easy to read when the bird is stood up.)

Gull chick with orange ring

Gull chick with orange ring 226A

I should point out that BTO bird ringing requires a license that can only be obtained by training to strict and specific standards.

For more information on bird ringing here is a link to the BTO website:

On the way back from ringing the gulls, I found a bee orchid growing by a gateway, I was glad I hadn’t run it over with the quad bike on my way out to Ibsley Water!

Bee orchid

Bee orchid, Ibsley Water 10.6.14

Adam and I spent most of today strimming back vegetation around the reserves many footpaths as some areas had grown very narrow with stinging nettles and brambles. We always try to look out for wild flowers and avoid strimming them,  so we were really pleased to find some more bee orchids on the path that approaches Lapwing hide. There are 2 really nice specimens by a patch of gorse on the left hand stretch of the circular path to the hide. Unfortunately the lowest part of the path is still flooded but only to about 4 inches deep so is passable with welly boots.

Bee orchid

Bee orchid

Orchid habitat. There are 2 just in front of the gorse bush.

Orchid habitat. There are 2 just in front of the gorse bush.

We also found some annual beard grass growing by Goosander hide, which is normally a plant of  salt marshes or brackish areas but seems to find Blashfords poor soils to it’s liking.

Annual beard grass

We have strimmed about half the reserves footpaths now but there is still a fair bit to do tomorrow. Hopefully we will find some more orchids and interesting flowers.

Adam strimming

Adam strimming

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