Turnstone yesterday, phalarope today…

I’ve spent the majority of the past 2 days strimming Blashford’s many footpaths with volunteer Tom, but I’ve been lucky enough to see some great birds. Yesterday got off to a good start with a turnstone on the shore of Ibsley Water quite close to Tern hide. Unfortunately extremely heavy rain meant I couldn’t get my camera to focus properly so I only got a blur record shot of this smart little wader. This was the first turnstone I’ve seen at Blashford lakes, normally a bird you’d see on the Solent coast in winter but much smart in summer plumage and far rarer inland.

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Terrible photo of a turnstone in the rain

While we were out trimming paths Tom found this light emerald moth resting on a birch tree.


Light emerald moth

We also found a plant which I think is hairy birds foot trefoil, quite a scarce flower.


Hairy birdsfoot trefoil

At the end of the day when I locked the woodland hide there was a really smart male bullfinch coming to the feeders, it’s quite unusual to see this normally shy species on the bird feeders.

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Male bullfinch at Woodland hide


Male bullfinch at bird feeder

When I went to lock Tern hide there there was 2 linnets by the lake shore, as well as (the now quite large) lapwing chick. Linnets are quite scarce at on the reserve with just a few records every year. At about 5.15 the lapwings, oystercatchers and gulls suddenly panicked and took to the air, the reason was a peregrine circling over the lake. It looked large so was probably a female and had a distinctive notch in it’s primary feathers on the left wing.


Possibly the most photographed lapwing chick in the world…

Today I received a phone call saying there was 2 red-necked phalaropes on Ibsley Water at lunch time, so we headed over to the hide for lunch but despite much scanning we couldn’t find any phalaropes. However compensation came in the form of 2 dunlin, 5 little ringed plover, a redshank, 2 (late) wigeon and 3 lapwing chicks. We went back to trimming paths but after an hour I got another call saying the phalaropes had turned up again, as we were close to the hide we went for another look and this time got lucky. They were way out sat on the surface of lake amongst the waves, I didn’t get any photos as I didn’t have my camera and the birds were too distant anyway but it was still great to see them. Red-necked phalaropes breed mainly in the Arctic with a few pairs in Shetland each Summer, the 2 birds here will have been on their way north and been forced to land by today’s wind and rain.

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