Pintail morning

Yesterday we headed up to Kitt’s Grave Nature Reserve on the Hampshire and Wiltshire border to carry out more scrub clearance, the aim being to encourage more wild flower rich grassland for the sites impressive list of butterflies. A massive thank you goes out to the 12 hardy volunteers who helped cut some really spikey blackthorn, hawthorn, rose and bramble. At first it looked as if rain was going to make the task even more unpleasant but by 11am the sun was out and we had a nice bonfire going. It’ll be really interesting to see the results of our efforts in the summer.

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Dark sky over Kitt’s Grave

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Volunteers and bonfire

Back at Blashford this morning duck numbers on Ibsley Water were impressive with 555 wigeon and the winter’s highest count (so far) of pintail at 97. Pintail numbers always seem to rise on the reserve after heavy rain and the Avon flood plain gets topped up.

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Unfortunately the only pintail near enough to photograph were asleep

The highest count of goosanders into roost that I am aware of is 61 birds so far, so still away to go to catch up with last winter’s peak of 101 birds.

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4 goosander (foreground), wigeon, cormorants, coots and gadwall behind

Unfortunately the recent rain has topped up the flooded footpath at Lapwing to the extent that I couldn’t get through with welly boots this morning. This time last year it was waist deep, hopefully it won’t get that deep again. This area definitely needs a boardwalk, something we hope to do if we can get some funding.

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Flooded path at lapwing hide

Goldeneye numbers have also increased lately, with more birds coming to roost on Ibsley Water at dusk. I managed this photo of a drake earlier in the week in poor light, I like it cause you can just about see it’s bright orange feet. I have no idea why a bird that spends virtually it’s whole life on or in the water has orange feet or what purpose they serve!

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Drake goldeneye

Below is a photo of the Tern Hide sightings board, it’s definitely been a great start to the year for birds on the reserve, I hope it continues.

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Tern hide sightings board

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