The Sun and the Stars

I got to spend a Saturday at Blashford today, standing in for Jim who is now off on paternity leave. It was a very pleasant day and at times the sunshine was warm enough to tempt out a range of insects. I saw good numbers of speckled wood, several red admiral, of which this rather battered individual was one.

red admiral

red admiral

I also heard of someone seeing a peacock and I saw a clouded yellow flying south over Ibsley water. There were also still lots of common darter and a fair few migrant hawker dragonflies on the wing.

I walked the paths around the Ivy Lake hides with the leaf blower in the morning and could not help but notice the number of fungi all over the place. The earth stars continue to come up, with another new one opening.

earth star

earth star

It was one of a line of them each at different stages.

a constelation of earth stars

a constellation of earth stars

Later on I walked the northern part of the reserve an don the way along the Dockens Water path I heard a firecrest calling, I then came across a group of four “crests” chasing around the hollies, I only ever managed to get a good look at one at any time and it was a firecrest each time, but I cannot say for sure if I was looking at the same bird each time or a different one, so I still don’t know if there was more than one!

Up at the Lapwing hide, I looked for and failed to find the black-necked grebe, but did see 2 ruddy duck and rather a lot of Egyptian goose. The geese were already checking out the osprey platform as a nest site again.

Egyptian geese on osprey

Egyptian geese on osprey

One of the problems that Egyptian geese pose for native specie sis that they will start breeding very early in the year, perhaps in January and so occupy sites long before native species, often these are large tree holes and by taking them over so early they can displace birds such as barn owl for these sought after nest locations.

During my wanderings I came across many more fungi, I cannot identify most of them and even the ones I put a name to may well be wrong, but here are some pictures anyway.

Bolete - spongecap

Bolete – spongecap

parasol mushroom

parasol mushroom

amethyst deceiver

amethyst deceiver

My most unexpected sighting of the day was of 2 sand martin over Ibsley Water, I think my latest ever sighting of this species. I also saw a goldeneye, at least 374 greylag geese, a few goosander and 5 snipe.

At dusk the gull roost was quite large but not spectacularly so, I estimated about 3000 lesser black-backed gull, 2000 black-headed gull and a single adult Mediterranean gull. Earlier the regular adult yellow-legged gull was on the raft on Ivy Lake, it is almost certainly the same one that has been there each winter fro several years and it has a metal ring on the left leg, unfortunately it is too far away to ever be read.

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