It has been a very hectic week and one way or another I have not managed to get any posts done, so this will have to serve as a round-up of the last few days.
The big news of the week was of a black kite, seen and photographed well on Saturday afternoon, pictures can be seen on the HOS go-birding website, just click on “photos” at the top and you will see them. Blashford seems to be a bit of a local hot spot for black kite with several records in recent years, although all of them have avoided me! Unlike red kite , which are becoming ever more frequent as a resident, the black kite migrates to Africa for the winter. They breed commonly across southern Europe and regularly into central France, although they are pushing slowly northward they remain rare in Britain, being just an occasional over-shoot migrant.
Other bird news included a pied flycatcher seen by the Goosander hide on the 25th, up to 3 yellow wagtail, a male white wagtail and an arrival of garden warbler, sedge warbler and swift, the last reaching at least 200 over Ibsley Water today. A few waders have passed through too, with up to 6 dunlin, 5 common sandpiper and a greenshank.
The main task that has been occupying the volunteers has been the construction and deployment of tern rafts and just in time too as the common tern numbers have crept up to at least 18. On Thursday we put the first one out on Ivy Lake and it was immediately investigated by a pair of terns and today we put one out on Ellingham Pound, in both cases using the shelters built by the Young Naturalists last Sunday. The next ones to go out will be the first of the new ones built with a grant from HOS (Hampshire Ornithological Society), they are much easier to move about than the old ones and should last longer too.
I will do a full post on the rafts soon, including a “How to make one at home” easy guide to making one.
On the way over to the main car park this afternoon I was passing the lichen heath when I noticed the masses of early forget-me-not flowering by the tarmac roadway.
They are really tiny flowers, just a millimetre or two across, but there are hundreds of them, almost like a cloud of stars when viewed from a distance.
I am hoping the promised warmer weather will bring a pick-up in insect numbers next week and perhaps even a few more butterflies and moths to report, so watch this space for more news.