Yet another busy week that started with hedge laying with six volunteers on Sunday.
On Sunday evening in the failing light I took this truely stunning photograph of a sleeping black-necked grebe and a slavonian grebe next to each other from the Tern Hide. You can just about tell which species is which, not bad considering I took it with a phone camera through my telescope in poor light,the birds were probably about three-hundred metres away and it was raining.
Thanks to modern computer wizardary I can bring you the same picture with a helpful diagram.
The feeders at the woodland hide have been really busy, we’re certainly going through a lot of bird seed. I did a guided walk on Monday, and we saw four brambling, six redpoll, around seventy chaffinches and at least a hundred siskin on the feeders and in the surrounding area. The weather was dreadful and the birds on the lakes were very distant but we did see the Slavonian grebe and got really close views of eight bullfinches. The bullfinches were feeding on old shrivelled up blackberries on brambles, they appeared to be biting away the old berry and eating the seeds inside.
Tuesday was spent coppicing, with the aim of creating a really dense coppice of willow, birch and bramble habitat for garden warblers. All trees coppiced at Blashford have to be protected from the reserve’s large fallow deer population so all the cut material is stacked as a dead hedge to protect the regrowth.
Amongst other jobs today I did a quick site visit to Linwood Nature Reserve to look at some future jobs there. I also checked an area we deer fenced in 2014, and was pleased to see a dense understory of hazel, bramble and various other woodland plants. Linwood is fenced off from ponies and cattle so the only grazing inside the reserve is from fallow and roe deer. The photograph below shows the massive effect a large deer population can have on woodland understory. A great many woodland plants, insects and birds have declined due to deer eating the understory of New Forest woodlands so it was good to see the fenced area had kept the deer out. Fallow deer were introduced to Britain during Norman times and before that were brought to Europe by the Romans from the Causcaus and Middle East. Now their populations are higher than ever with reduced culling and no predators, so they are really changing woodlands, with birds like nightingales and willow tits, amongst others, declining rapidly.
On a different note all the seasoned logs I blogged about last week have now been sold.