I did an early start today arriving on site for 7.30 am to meet Bob for a few tasks including a breeding bird survey and to look at some wooded islands on Spinnaker lake to make plans for our winter works programme. On the way out to the wooded islands in the boat we passed close to another island with a large colony of black-headed gulls and a single pair of Mediterranean gulls.
The wooded islands were fantastic, with a rich understory of broom, elm, aspen, rowan, hawthorn, hazel, gorse, oak and honeysuckle, unlike anywhere else at Blashford as they are not grazed by the reserves large population of non-native fallow deer. We also recorded the location of single laurel and rhododendrons bushes, some bamboo and some non-native poplar and Turkey oak trees so we can come back and remove them in the winter. Thankfully there was no Himalayan balsam on the islands as there is on some of the other lakes nearby. We also recorded any breeding birds we saw.
On the way back from Spinnaker lake we strimmed back and raked up the nettles on the footpath between Ivy and Rockford lakes, known locally as the Rockford track.
After this I met Brenda, who does bird ringing on the reserve, to help her ring a brood of jackdaws nesting in an oak tree. We ringed four chicks, so if you see any jackdaws with rings on later in the year see if you can read the ring number.
For comparison here is an adult jackdaw that was outside the education centre while I had my lunch.
Another bird nesting on the reserve at the moment is the reed warbler, with nearly 30 pairs present, this individual was near Ivy South hide.