The early birder catches the bird…

Thanks to Ian who rang in early this morning to report a drake garganey, an avocet and two whimbrel all seen on Ibsley Water this morning.

I’m not sure that the avocet or whimbrel were seen again, but the garganey moved from “Goosander Bay” to the small near spit adjacent to Tern Hide where it set up camp for the day, and very handsome he was too, albeit that he was somewhat uncooperatively hiding his head under his wing having a snooze when I saw him. Many thanks to David for the very speedy sending in of these two pictures, as well as one of a little ringed plover which he photographed and e-mailed in to blashfordlakes@hiwwt.org.uk earlier in the week (on a sunny day!):

Garganey by David Stanley Ward

Garganey by David Stanley Ward

A thirsty garganey by David Stanley Ward

A thirsty garganey by David Stanley Ward

Little ringed plover by David Stanley Ward

Little ringed plover by David Stanley Ward

Greenshank, at least 5 dunlin, a bar-tailed godwit, and an arctic tern have also all been seen, or are being seen over Ibsley Water this week as well.

A pair of little grebe have been building a nest in the brash supports that Ed and Adam put out beneath the sand martin wall at Goosander Hide in advance of the inevitable moment when the clumsier fledgling sand martins leave the nest and fall in to the water – should give them a fighting chance against both the water and the coot and mallards which experience shows will always have a go at the unluckier ones.

Given the quite considerable waves that can come in to the sand martin wall I hope that he little grebe nest survives. They are quite serious about it though as these two photographs taken yesterday morning by Barrie quite clearly shows!

150501Little grebe mating 1 by Barrie Taylor_resize

romantic dab chicks!

Romantic dab chicks! Thanks to Barrie Taylor for sharing the moment, so to speak!

Other news from today includes the ringing of the first of this years young by regular B.T.O. Blashford ringer Brenda – a great tit, which seems early, but then it has been a mild winter and despite the cooler temperature today, spring came early too.

On my rounds this morning I took a closer look at a fresh excavation Tracy and I had noted a couple of weeks ago – she had a look with the Wildlife Rangers last Sunday and found what she took to be fox tracks. I’m not saying that they weren’t (!) but today there were definitely badger tracks!

badger track

badger track

With a 2p for scale it is not the clearest picture, but you can see the broad pad readily enough. I obviously wasn’t the first person to observe the track, although funnily enough my eye was instantly drawn to the track and it was only then that I saw the coin sat next to it – not sure what that says about me, only good things I hope! Anyway, as the coin was there I used it for scale myself and then pocketed it and dropped it in the donations box when I got back to the centre – thank you to the mystery photographer who left it there!

I had cause to check the screen at the top of Ivy Lake this morning, following a report of bee’s nesting behind the old notice board in there (sure enough there are bumble bee’s (sp?) in the bottom left hand corner of the board on the right hand side of the screen – given that bumble bee’s are not known for their aggressive nature I have let them be for now, but please be aware that they are there. I have put a caution sign up in the screen). On my way back I was reminded that another visitor had mentioned what he thought may have been a giant puff ball within the reserve and thought I’d take a look. I didn’t find it, but did find a handful of St. Georges mushrooms instead:

St Georges mushroom

St Georges mushroom

Both giant puff balls and St Georges mushrooms frequently “fruit” on the nature reserve, but never in any number so they are always nice to see. And please note that I stress the word see – like most of the edible fungi that comes up at Blashford Lakes, although these species are both edible they are uncommon here and therefore should not be collected for the pot please!

 

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2 thoughts on “The early birder catches the bird…

  1. I looked at this and thought ‘wow what are the chances of someone else using a 2p coin for scale for badger tracks just like I did!’ …and then realised it was clearly me who left that coin. Whooops! Sorry about leaving objects in the natural environment like that. I promise not to again! *embarrassed*

    Thanks for confirming they are indeed badger tracks though! It was the first time I had ever seen any because every other badger excavation I’ve ever seen has been on soil too crumbly to show them. But this sand was perfect! I actually viewed and photographed them on the 1st, and it rained quite hard afterwards, so possibly the ones you saw were new tracks, left overnight? Though maybe the excavation is sheltered in some way, I can’t remember.

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