Sightings, Comings and Goings

The last week has seen good numbers of birds at the Woodland hide, all the regular species in good numbers and including at  least 14 brambling, with some males now looking very fine indeed, c20 reed bunting and loads of siskin.

The bittern was still present early in the week at the Ivy North hide. On Ibsley Water the Slavonian grebe and 2 black-necked grebe were seen on most days.

The big news has remained the gulls, the evening roost on Ibsley Water is huge, probably at least 10,000 black-headed gull, 200 or so common gull and probably at 3 adult ring-billed gull. Ring-billed gull is a North American native and the only one regularly seen in England this winter was the bird that roosted on Ibsley Water each evening, so when a second turned up this was remarkable. Subsequently a probably hybrid one has appeared and now what seems to be yet another pure bird. Although all adults they vary subtly in wing-tip pattern, degree of moult into breeding plumage and exact shade of the mantle. With so many gulls present careful searching may yet turn up more are visitors. In addition there are a lot of gulls migrating at present and in total many tens of thousands may pass through Blashford Lakes during the course of the spring.

Numbers of larger gulls have dropped right away though as have ducks, with the exception of shoveler which remain in large numbers. But the arrival of something like real spring weather which causes the wildfowl to go also heralds the certain coming of our summer birds, there should be chiffchaff, sand martin and maybe wheatear and garganey over the next few days. All you need to do is get out there and get looking!

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