Christmas and Beyond…

The reserve will be closed to cars on Christmas Day, although the paths and pedestrian gates will remain open so it will be possible to walk off your turkey or Christmas breakfast. Thereafter opening will be as usual 09.00 – 16.30, we are still using only the car park on the Education Centre side of the reserve. The paths are laid out as one-way wherever possible with passing places, we would ask you to obey the directions on site to help us maintain social distancing and hopefully keep the reserve open. Other facilities such as the portaloos and Welcome Hut remain available, the latter only when there are people available. Whilst we are still in Tier 3 we do ask that visitors from the rest of Hampshire of any other Tier 4 areas do not visit until the guidelines change.

The Christmas wreath making proved very popular and will shortly be replaced with a new activity of Tracy’s making, so look out for details at the Welcome Hut.

Hopefully we will be able to keep the reserve open and safe for all and continue enough of the site management as possible under the limiting conditions. Although there is no on site education at present we will continue to try and provide activities that you can try for yourselves as you go round and of course there is still all the usual wildlife to see, including some very tame robins on the path towards Ivy South Hide on the Wild Walk route.

Robin

Festive Opening

Just a reminder, Christmas Day is the one day of the year we do not open, so the car parks, Education Centre and bird hides will remain closed tomorrow. The reserve will be back open as usual on Boxing Day and in addition New Years Day will once again see the return of the Pop-up Café, so you will be able to fuel up with a hot drink and homemade cakes and savouries in the Education Centre as you begin a new bird list for 2020.

The Pop-up Café will also be in the Centre on Sundays 5th and 19th January from 10am until 3.30pm.

Merry Christmas!

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Blashford Robin

Festive Opening

Just a reminder, Christmas Day is the one day of the year we do not open, so the car parks, Education Centre and bird hides will remain closed tomorrow. Normal service however will resume on Boxing Day and in addition on New Years Day the Pop-up Café will again be back in the Education Centre, so you will be able to fuel up with a hot drink and homemade cakes and savouries as you begin a new bird list for 2019.

We have had no further reports of the white-tailed eagle but the bittern is still showing very nicely at times in the reed bed in front of Ivy North Hide, thanks to Lyn Miller for sending in this photo:

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Bittern by Lyn Miller

Marsh harrier, Water pipit and Caspian gull have also all been reported on Ibsley Water today, seen from Tern Hide.

I have been enjoying the flock of linnets that have been feeding in front of Tern Hide and resting in the nearby willows, I reached a count of 73 this morning before one flew and the others followed. They’re a very lovely sight to see when opening up the reserve!

Merry Christmas!

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Linnets by Tern Hide

 

A Fishlake Wander, Recent sightings and Festive Opening

Work at the new Trust reserve at Fishlake Meadows is picking up, with the fencelines being cut out and plans being made for the start of willow coppicing, both to maintain some of the low scrub and to open up some new views across the reserve. As part of this planning process we were out on site at the start of the week, luckily we picked a good day.

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View across part of Fishlake Meadows

On our wandering in some of the damp fields we encountered a large number of Cetti’s warbler, the reserve has large areas of almost perfect habitat for them. We also flushed a fair few snipe including one jack snipe. Perhaps our most surprising sighting was of 2 hawfinch perched in a small tree near a flock of fieldfare. There has been a once in a lifetime invasion of hawfinches this winter with many thousands arriving from the continent. These two were probably some of these immigrants rather than local birds, but with the New Forest being the UK hotspot for the species they could have been more local.

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a view across the lower lake

 

mistletoe at Fishlake

Mistletoe on poplar at Fishlake

Around the drier margins and especially along the canal path there are still many live poplars and quiet a few of them have a festive bunch or two of mistletoe high in their branches.

Meanwhile at Blashford Lakes latest reports are that the ring-billed gull is now being seen regularly in the gull roost on Ibsley Water as is the first winter Caspian gull, with a 2nd winter bird also reported recently, the roost also includes 2 Mediterranean gull. The starlings have been putting on quite show, with some estimates of up to 50000 birds coming into roost, usually just to the west of Ibsley water so seen from the hill at the back of the main car park. On Ibsley Water itself there have been up to 104 goosander roosting, 14 goldeneye and a single black-necked grebe. At least one of the pink-footed geese can be seen on and off with the greylag. There continue to be something like 90 pochard and 25-30 pintail as well.

On Ivy Lake “Walter” the great white egret is being seen fairly regularly and was joined by a second bird the other day. From Ivy North hide water rail and Cetti’s warbler are regular, although we have yet to get a report of a bittern this winter. The Woodland hide has one or two brambling and lesser redpoll as well as the occasional and less desirable report of brown rat.

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Robin

CHRISTMAS OPENING: We will be open as usual over Christmas apart from Christmas Day itself when we will be closed. In addition on New Years Day we will have the Pop-up Café again in the Centre, so you can start your birdlist for the year and get a hot cup of something and some excellent homemade cakes.