Mild weather sightings

I spent most of today collecting alder, ash and sycamore logs with the quad bike and trailer to sell for firewood. The current mild weather seems to be confusing wildlife as I heard chiffchaff and song thrush singing, and saw a white-tailed bumblebee. I also noticed quite a few spring flowers out like primroses, campions and lesser celandines. Crazy for December.

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Tatty primrose trying to flower

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A pale red campion in flower (or maybe a red campion and white campion hybrid). 

During the morning several visitors reported the bittern on Ivy lake (and unfortunately a very heated argument between a few visitors over the window seats), so I went to have my lunch at Ivy North hide.  My luck was in as the bittern was showing well to left of the hide and everyone was very considerate sharing the best seats allowing all to get great views and pictures.

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Bittern at Ivy North hide

Later on I passed the woodland hide and found it busy with visitors and lots of birds. Finch numbers seem to be steadily rising with noticeably more chaffinch, siskin and redpoll. Over the weekend four brambling were reported but I only saw one in my brief visit. I think if we ever get some cold weather we could get quite large numbers of finches visiting the feeding station.

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Brambling at the woodland hide in the late afternoon gloom

Over on Ibsley Water, the ring-billed gull,  slavonian grebe and black-necked grebe were all reported again.

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5 thoughts on “Mild weather sightings

  1. Perhaps there should be a Naughty Step at Blashford for those very childish visitors. Otherwise I’m keen on the old stocks, perhaps Geoff could carve a set.

  2. It was a shame to have been there during the heated exchange as we took our young grand children,it didn’t set a very good example for them.

    • Yes, I am sorry they, or anybody, had to experience this. We do try to encourage considerate use of the hides by all their various users. A reserve like Blashford attracts a wide range of visitors, that is one of our strengths, but it also means that different visitors may have very different objectives and this calls for understanding. Generally this works pretty well, but occasionally there are disagreements. The last thing we want is to narrow the reserve’s appeal to a select few, conservation needs to have broad support to have any chance of success, Blashford Lakes aims to widen access to wildlife and build support for the environment, hopefully common ground for all our visitors.

  3. Whilst I don’t condone bad behaviour, I can understand the frustration in that particular hide. Viewing is impossible other than the two side windows, and these are invariably taken over by large lens that obscure anyone from getting the chance to see. It may very well be that the hides are free in the week but a lot of people can only come to Blashford at the weekend and as it is the one place to be able to see Bittern in Hampshire, it is a shame that the hide is constructed in the way it is.

    • The one way glass can be useful, especially in the early days when there could be 20 or 25 people in there at a time to see the bitterns, they allowed more people to see the birds and the birds did not get disturbed by people and lenses hanging out of the windows even when they were just below the hide. Nowadays bitterns are more frequent and demand to see them is less, but desire to photograph them has not diminished. So perhaps a regular hide would be okay, I doubt you would get the views of behaviour but it would be easier for more people to get average pictures. Something to consider when it comes time to replace the hide, if replacement can be afforded of course! I have certainly seen my best views of bitterns and behaviour through the one way glass.

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