Late yesterday afternoon (30th) the birding on Ibsley Water went into overdrive with the adult ring-billed gull turning up again, plus a supporting cast of Mediterranean gull, black-necked grebe, long-tailed duck, and great white egret. The gull roost had a few thousand lesser black-backed gulls, a few more thousand black-headed gulls and an unusual influx of about 110 common gulls. Normally common gulls number just around 0-5 in the roost. The highlight for me was the 400 hundred or so wigeon grazing on the grassland on both the western and eastern shores of the lake.
Sightings today have included Bittern and Green sandpiper on Ivy Lake, and a goshawk flying over the education centre this morning.
A lot of work has gone into making the habitat suitable for wigeon so it was great to see them there. First the grassland was weeded of ragwort by the Blashford Volunteers so it could be grazed by ponies during the summer. Next areas of rush and brambles were strimmed off by Simon King (warden of the lower Test marshes) and his gang of volunteers in September. Then all the cuttings were raked up, the western shore by the Blashford Volunteers and the eastern by volunteers from the Environment agency. Areas of the eastern shore by Lapwing Hide where particularly thick with bramble, so it was excellent to see about 100 wigeon and also 12 snipe feeding in front of the hide in what was previously totally unsuitable habitat. All the volunteers hard graft has really paid off and the wigeon are definitely appreciating their efforts.