Lapwing Chick

There was a lapwing chick outside the Tern Hide this morning. Thanks to Garry Prescott for sending in these photographs.

Lapwing chick by Garry Prescott

Lapwing chick by Garry Prescott

Lapwing chick and mum by Garry Prescott

Lapwing chick and mum by Garry Prescott

Today was Wildlife Tots, we went fishing from the boat…

Fishing!

Fishing!

and in the pond…

Pond Dipping

Pond Dipping

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Our most impressive catch was 5 monstrous great diving beetles! This one was trying to escape!

Great diving beetle

Great diving beetle

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A Scruffy Ruff

First thing this morning a ruff was seen from the Tern Hide on the near island on Ibsley Water.

Ruff by David Cuddon

Ruff by David Cuddon

Ruff by Garry Prescott

Ruff by Garry Prescott

A lapwing chick was also out infront of the hide.

Lapwing chick by David Cuddon

Lapwing chick by David Cuddon

The ruff disappeared in the afternoon but was replaced by this whimbrel to the right of the hide.

Whimbrel by Garry Prescott

Whimbrel by Garry Prescott

On Saturday a little tern was seen standing on the same small island close by a group of common terns. These photographs show the size difference well.

Little tern to the left and common terns to the right. Photo by Garry Prescott.

Little tern to the left and common terns to the right. Photo by Garry Prescott.

Little tern and common terns by Garry Prescott

Little tern and common terns by Garry Prescott

Thanks to David Cuddon and Garry Prescott for sending in these photographs for us to share.

Greenshank

This rather fine greenshank was parading about infront of the Tern Hide for a large proportion of the day much to the delight of our visitors. Thanks to Russ Tofts for sending in this photograph to us.

Greenshank by Russ Tofts

Greenshank by Russ Tofts

This individual has come to us from West Africa and is just stopping off for a break during its long journey. It will soon be heading north to its breeding grounds in Scandinavia or possibly to the highlands of Scotland where a few hundred pairs also breed. Greenshank are known to be very precise in the route of their migration and so it is likely that we may be seeing the same individuals passing through each year. Greenshank are quite long lived birds, the record holder is a Dutch ringed bird at 24 years and 5 months.

Today there was also a noticeable influx of hirundines on the nature reserve with 100 sand martins over Ibsley Water and a large number of house martins, swallows and swifts feeding in the sky above the Education Centre at lunch time.

Blashford Lakes Star Visitor of the Day!

If we had such a thing as the ‘Blashford Lakes Star Visitor of the Day Award’ it would definitely go to Judith Atkinson today! At lunchtime she came in to the Education Centre to present me with a bag of rubbish that she had collected on her walk from the bus stop to Moyles Court.

Litter picked by Judith Atkinson

Litter picked by Judith Atkinson

It is likely that most of this rubbish has been thrown by people from passing cars, but we do often find ourselves collecting litter from in and around the hides too. I was quite shocked by how much she had found so wanted to share it with you as a visual reminder of the importance of taking litter home with you! A big thank you to Judith for her amazing efforts today!

This afternoon I headed out for a stroll to the further flung hides of the nature reserve however I couldn’t resist a quick photo of the stunning primroses in the carpark before I left.

Primroses

Primroses

Along the Dockens Water path the bluebells are at the brink of blooming.

Bluebells along the Dockens Water

Bluebells along the Dockens Water

Amongst them is a carpet of lesser celandine which had unfortunately closed up as the sun had disappeared behind the clouds. The Town Hall Clock is still flowering, this is one of my favourite spring flowers but you have to look closely to appreciate why it is so special. Each flower head is made up of 5 flowers displayed like the faces of clocks on a clock tower, hence the name. It is also known as Moschatel.

Town Hall Clock or Moschatel

Town Hall Clock or Moschatel

The Lords and Ladies are also beginning to flower. Their flower spike attracts flies for pollination by releasing a urine-like odour!

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Lords and Ladies

Over the last week the trees seem to have sprung to life with their leaves breaking bud and their brilliant green is now filling the woodlands, in particular the beech trees by the Dockens Water are quite spectacular.

Beech trees

Beech trees

And the willow seed pods are all set to burst…

Willow seed pods

Willow seed pods

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Willow seeds

The path up to Lapwing Hide has finally dried up and is once again usable.

Path by Lapwing Hide

Path by Lapwing Hide

There is an incredible display of daisies out in front of Lapwing Hide and out along the spit, it looks like we have had a dusting of snow! The photo is a bit blurry as it was taken through my binoculars but there are Egyptian geese and greylag geese feeding on the spit and a coot, wigeon and Egyptian goose swimming in the foreground.

Daisies and geese

Daisies and geese

Thank you to David Cuddon for sending in these photographs taken on the 25th April, evidence that some sand martins have been checking out our sand martin wall!

Sand Martin by David Cuddon

Sand Martins by David Cuddon

Reed Warbler by David Cuddon

Reed Warbler by David Cuddon

Grey Wagtail by David Cuddon

Grey Wagtail by David Cuddon

Blashford Craft Fair

We had a beautiful warm sunny Spring day for our first ever craft fair which helped the day to be a great success! Over 180 visitors, some visiting for the first time, came to view the craftsmen at work and peruse the items on sale before enjoying a stroll around the nature reserve. Many were treated to views of the bittern who was performing outside Ivy North Hide throughout the day.

Craftsmen included our very own volunteer Geoff Knott on the lathe.

Geoff Knott

Geoff Knott

And Claire Beale on the pole lathe turning cherry into baby rattles.

Claire Beale from Treemendous Crafts carving rattles.

Claire Beale from Treemendous Crafts carving rattles.

Over in the compound Richard Austin used a chainsaw to carve many owls during the day, scorching them with a blow torch to finish them off.

Richard Austin finishing his owl chainsaw sculpture.

Richard Austin finishing his owl chainsaw sculpture.

The finished owls!

Owls carved by Richard Austin

Owls carved by Richard Austin

Many inspired visitors then had the opportunity to have a go themselves at making willow baskets and stars.

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Jim still hasn’t seen an otter BUT

He has seen scarlet elf cup! It has just started to pop up in its usual place along the path to the woodland hide.

Scarlet Elf Cup

Scarlet Elf Cup

The first of the snow drops have also started to flower on the edge of the Centre car park.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

And a very lucky visitor sitting in Goosander Hide at lunchtime today noticed something dive under the water which at first glance could have been mistaken for a duck…..

Photo by John Scamell

Photo by John Scamell

But when it came back up a little while later there was no mistaking that it was in fact an otter!

Otter by John Scamell

Otter by John Scamell

Thank you to John Scamell for letting us know about your exciting sighting today and for sending in these photographs for the blog!

Otter by John Scamell

Otter by John Scamell

Christmas Opening Times

Blashford Lakes will be open every day except Christmas day! So we will be here for you when you start getting cabin fever this festive season and need to get outdoors, blow out the cobwebs and burn off the Christmas turkey!

We will be open Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day like normal 9am-4.30pm.

We will only be closed on Christmas Day.

We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from the Blashford Team!

If you are visiting this festive season then why not pick up one of our Winter Wonderland scavenger hunts from the Education Centre for added fun! Or you can download one here.

Look out for signs of Santa’s reindeer……

Footprints……

Deer footprint

Deer footprint

And Stag horns….

Candle snuff fungus

Candle snuff fungus

Christmas tree baubles…

Alder cones

Alder cones

Burdock seeds

Burdock seeds

And Santa’s beard……

Lichen

Lichen

Not forgetting the Christmas robin….

Can you spot the Christmas robin?!

Can you spot the Christmas robin?!

Lastly, I will leave you with some fun Christmas trivia! Have you ever wondered why the robin is traditionally linked with Christmas given that robins are with us all year round not just Christmas?

Well the robin started popping up on Christmas cards in the Victorian times and it is thought that this is because the postmen who delivered the cards wore red tunics and were nick named Robin Redbreasts. Since it is postmen who deliver all the cards and presents at Christmas they soon earned themselves a place on the Christmas cards. The bird on the Christmas card is representing the postman who delivered it. That is why the robin is often sitting on a postbox or delivering a letter!

Wildlife Photography Competition

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are proud to launch this year’s local wildlife photography competition – Wildlife on Your Doorstep.

Starlings at Blashford in 2013 by Martin King

Starlings at Blashford in 2013 by Martin King

Photography is a great way for people to get out and explore the fantastic range of wildlife and beautiful landscapes Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has to offer. So next time you are out and about, why not take your camera and see where the inspiration takes you!

This competition is all about what inspires you about your natural world. Do you have a favourite view or landscape that you see on a local walk? Are you a real fan of flowers, bugs or our native reptiles? What about the animals and birds that visit your garden?

We want to see pictures that tell the story of why you love local wildlife. From landscape shots, macro or close up shots, to an artistic or unusual look at a well known species, if you have a favourite picture of wildlife or the natural world taken in Hampshire or the Isle of Wight, why not enter it into our competition?

For more information and to enter an image in to the competition please visit our website. Please note images must be landscape orientation and have been taken in Hampshire or on the Isle of Wight. The closing date for entries is 30th June 2015.

Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve is a very popular spot for wildlife photographers and we are lucky enough to frequently be able to share some of the photographs people have taken and sent in to us. So here are a few to get you inspired!

Some atmospheric landscape photographs by Corinne Yarwood.

Misty Morning LAke by Corinne Yarwood

Misty Morning Lake by Corinne Yarwood

Misty morning in the woods by Corinne Yarwood

Misty morning in the woods by Corinne Yarwood

A stunning kingfisher by Robin Smith.

Kingfisher by Robin Smith

Kingfisher by Robin Smith

And this cheeky great spotted woodpecker by David Cuddon.

Great Spotted Woodpecker by David Cuddon

Great Spotted Woodpecker by David Cuddon

Happy snapping everyone!!

Festive Fun

The first day of December has arrived and so has the glitter! Our Wildlife Tots were in today for some festive fun creating christmas tree decorations. We collected up some natural treastures and then blinged them up to make some spectular creations which included this rather fine species of robin, a first for the reserve!

Tracy's Robin

Tracy’s Robin

This unusual robin was not the only colourful bird seen today. One of our regular visitors David Cuddon sent in some lovely photographs from his visit to the reserve today including this collection of finches seen from the Woodland Hide.

Goldfinch by David Cuddon

Goldfinch by David Cuddon

Greenfinch

Greenfinch by David Cuddon

Chaffinch by David Cuddon

Chaffinch by David Cuddon

and a rather festive green woodpecker!

Green Woodpecker

Green Woodpecker by David Cuddon

He also got this photo of the long-tailed duck on Ibsley Water!

Long tailed duck by David Cuddon

Long-tailed duck by David Cuddon

An Exciting Icelandic Visitor On A Soggy Autumn Day

It was a Wildlife Tots day today and so we headed out in the pouring rain to explore autumn on the nature reserve. There were lots of puddles to jump in!

Puddle splashing!

The rain cleared at lunchtime and so we were lucky enough to enjoy an afternoon of beautiful sunshine. We played leaf snap, matched the colours of rainbow chips, made smelly potions, helped find food for our forest friends and made them cosy houses to snuggle in to for winter.

Caterpillar green!

Caterpillar green!

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Adding green woodpecker poo to a smelly potion!

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Making smelly potions!

In wildlife news a great northern diver was seen on Ibsley Water to the left of the Tern Hide this afternoon. Thank you to David Ward for letting us know and for sending in these photographs. The great northern diver is a winter visitor to our shores and is only occasionally seen on inland waters. It will have spent the summer at its breeding grounds in Iceland.

Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Diver by David Ward

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Great Northern Diver by David Ward