I arrived at Blashford to open up the Tern hide this morning and was greeted by the sight of an avocet flying across the lake and then swimming around. Not an unprecedented sight, but still quite a rare one inland in Hampshire.
As It was Tuesday it was a volunteer day, our Tuesday group is much smaller than the Thursday and so we tackle tasks that work best with a small group, we also work for longer, typically about five hours. Today’s task was to cut the vegetation on the shore to the west of the Tern hide, this is a favourite are with nesting lapwing, but it is constantly being colonised by brambles, willows and birches, so we cut it each year to keep it open. Below is what it looked like before we started. And now afterwards.
Disappointingly it does not look that different, but I can assure you that the vegetation that was some 25cm high is now mown right down, ideal for lapwing nest spring. You can see more of the lake over the top of the shore where the rushes have been cut along the lake edge, so there is a difference.
Around lunchtime a curlew flew over calling, another rather scarce wader at Blashford, although they can be fairly regular in the spring. Of course avocet are well know for having an up-curved bill, one of rather few species that do. Curlew have very decurved bills, in fact both curlew and avocet are probably best known for the curvature of their bills. I am almost tempted to say we got the set when it comes to bill curvature, but that would be to forget the wrybill, whose bill turns to the side, the only species to do so. Unfortunately this is a New Zealand species and so probably unlikely to occur at Blashford (okay it will never turn up here).
In keeping with the long tradition of top quality wildlife photography, for which this blog is so well known, I now present my picture of the avocet, taken at the end of the day when it was swimming with the roosting gulls.
Other birds today included the great white egret again on Rockford Lake and perched in a tree on Ivy Lake and at dusk an adult Mediterranean gull in the roost on Ibsley Water.