Where’s Wally?

A “proper” January wintery day today. Cold, clear and sunny and with it lots of visitors to the nature reserve and a classic mix of Blashford visitors it was too – a few families and grandparents with grandchildren out for a nice walk and a steady stream of year listers with bittern at, or near the top of the list of their target species for the day. Sadly for them as I write this post at 2.45pm it has steadfastly laid low so far today, despite some good appearances on a pretty much daily basis recently. No doubt many of those hopeful watchers will at some point have seen at least one clump of reed or reedmace doing a remarkably good job of looking like a bittern ūüėČ

Elsewhere in the Valley a single Bewick swan could be seen amongst 100 plus mute swans in the Avon Water meadows north of Harbridge. I say could be seen Рseveral visitors reported seeing it, but several more also reported seeing an awful lot of swans but unable to pick out the Bewick from amongst them!

Where’s Wally indeed.

Thanks to David Green who did see it (on the 3rd January) and took the trouble to email in this lovely picture:

Bewick swan by David Green

So, for everyone that came and didn’t see, and all those who are planning on coming and hope to see, a little taste of what can and might be possible on the bittern front – thanks to Lyn Miller for sending these pictures in to blashfordlakes@hiwwt.org.uk with permission for us to share them:

bittern by lyn miller1bittern by lyn miller2bittern by lyn miller3bittern by lyn miller4

And if you are planning a visit here this Sunday, for bittern, Bewicks¬†or otherwise,¬†do remember that the Pop Up Caf√© will be open in the centre selling hot drinks and delicious homebaked treats from the classroom, 10.30am-3.30pm (or until they sell out – don’t leave it too late!).

Thank you!

I’ve had my leg pulled by various staff, volunteers and visitors after my “rant” about roadside parking out side the gates to Goosander and Lapwing Hide, but, I have to say, parking there has decreased dramatically this week, even on a busy day like¬†today, with just one car parked there when I had a look this afternoon (and that was leaving).

So, thank you to everyone who has taken heed! It is appreciated (and not just by me!).

The “bird of the day” I guess must be the Bewick swan that was reported flying onto Ibsley Water today – they are very thin on the ground in the valley again this winter (I am aware of one before Christmas). This one didn’t stick around either, having¬†taken off flying¬†south by mid-afternoon. Also still showing on Ibsley Water were the long-tailed duck, black-necked grebe and¬†¬†ring-billed gull.

Having said that for a little while I thought there could have been something else new to report following the description of a number of mysterious very dark, black tailed duck like birds on Ellingham Pound by someone who shall remain nameless to preserve their dignity… It seems that they were actually just gadwall caught in silhouette against the glare of the water… Got me out of the office for a nice walk in the sunshine though!

Gadwall are still the most numerous duck on Ivy Lake, though compared to last weekend they have been joined by significantly more of other species. Woodland Hide was¬†it’s usual treat this afternoon in the sunshine, with a constant flurry of feathered activity; nothing unusual, but a nice variety in reasonable numbers¬†– far more than my photo implies!

Ivy Lake

Ivy Lake

View from the Woodland Hide

View from the Woodland Hide