Thanks to all the volunteers who helped pollard willow yesterday, fourteen of us made for quick work and completed the task in just a couple of hours.
Adam, Ben and I spent a bit of time clearing bramble from the footpath on the western side of Ellingham Lake this week. Some of the bramble patches over there are enormous, so we are cutting it back in order to maintain the areas of grassland, which is quite species rich (for Blashford anyway).
The long-tailed duck remains on Ibsley Water I think for it’s fourth week now. Looking back at the history of long-tailed ducks at Blashford Lakes, of the 9 records on the reserve 7 of them were long stayers remaining between 3 and 6 months. It is interesting that what is normally a shellfish eating sea duck can manage to find enough food at an inland site. I have seen the shells of fresh water mussels around the lake edge so I assume that is what they feed on. The individual present at the moment only seems to frequent the southern end of Ibsley Water so I guess this area has a plentiful supply of mussels.
Also of interest is the presence of Cetti’s warblers on the reserve, with one in the reedbed at Ivy North Hide and another in the reed behind Lapwing Hide. This species was totally absent from the reserve all spring and summer for reasons unknown, so I hope they stay and breed next spring.
Sorry for the lack of wildlife pictures on this post, I have not had any chances to take any lately. If any one does fancy sending some pictures taken on the reserve to feature on the blog, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also a quick reminder that the reserve will be open every day over Christmas and the new year except Christmas day.
I think the long tailed duck has been there for quite a bit longer than a month. I saw it from the goosander hide in October (the day after the remnants of the US hurricane) and noted it in the book. It then moved close to the lapwing hide where it preened itself at close range. Two others in the hide agreed that it was a first winter male so sure it is the same one that is here now. I did tell one of the rangers. I assume it must have been stayed local and not been spotted.