I have been rather lax about posting recently, for which I apologise. We are now firmly into spring, chiffchaff are singing around the reserve and, rather later than usual, I have seen my first sand martin flock. The wild daffodil are dying off and the bluebell are now well up, although not in flower yet. Other spring flowers like lesser celandine and moschatel are out as are primrose and cowslip. One of the spring fungi that we sometimes miss, but I guess is always about at this time of year on the reserve if we can find it, is the false morel a couple of which have come up near Ivy North hide.
There are still a fair few scarlet elf-cup about but they will not last much longer.
We have been running the moth trap intermittently and most of the regular spring species have been recorded including Hebrew character, small Quaker, common Quaker, twin-spot Quaker, clouded drab, engrailed, oak beauty and shoulder stripe. The last is a common enough species generally but not one we see every year at Blashford.
A good few birds have started nesting, great crested grebe are displaying, blue tit building in the boxes and lapwing displaying. Some species start much earlier and the local raven pair have young to feed now and the adults have been visiting a deer carcass on the eastern shore of Ibsley Water regularly and heading back with crops full of food.
On the sunny days there are lots of insects about including lots of butterflies, we have had records of brimstone, red admiral, peacock, small tortoiseshell, comma and speckled wood. Lots of solitary bees have been gathering at the sand banks we cleared for them during the winter, it is always gratifying when work we do works out as we planned it. But the weather is unpredictable, although sometimes this brings its own attractions.
Crumbs! How long we wait for the signs of Spring to arrive and then they speed along!! I wonder why Winter seems to go so slowly 🙂
I would like to thank whoever it was that found my camera battery and handed it in to the office on Tuesday. 🙂
I’m one of the volunteers, but I relocated to Portugal a couple of years ago. I still read all the info about the reserve on the blog and would like to remain a volunteer. I might be back!
Just thought you might like to know apropos your comment below that the chiffchaffs in central Portugal are also very late this year, and even now are singing very reticently. The blackcaps were the first to show their hand, singing as early as the end of Feb.
We have many of the usual ´British’ suspects here, bird-wise, but also zitting cisticola, serin, long toed eagle, eagle owl, corn bunting, Sardinian warbler, St Helena waxbill.
I live in a tiny village called Bezerra in the Serra de Aire e Candeeiros, basically a lump of limestone in the centre of Portugal. It’s a natural park (not national, although they do exist; different status) and there are volunteers all year round, mainly young and foreign. Portugal is a bit behind the UK in terms of conservation (about 300 years) but the seeds are there, and I spread the word whenever I get the chance.
I didn’t put in too many stints on the reserve due to work commitments, but do say hello to everyone please, and keep the photos coming.