Pochards in the Mist

Okay, so they do not quite have the “wow factor” of gorillas, but they were all that I could see when I arrived to do the monthly waterfowl count this morning.

pochard in the mist

Pochard in the mist

It had been pretty cold overnight and there was quite a frost on the vegetation and even some ice on the puddles.

frosty thistle

frosty creeping thistle

Waiting for the mist to rise I went through the reedbed to Lapwing hide, seeing a couple of chiffchaff on the way.

dawn over the reeds

Early morning reedbed

Eventually the sun did start to burn off the murk.

sun clearing the mist

The sun breaking through

Finally I could start counting in earnest.

misty Ibsley Water

Mist finally clearing from Ibsley Water

On the whole the counts were not high, but I did see the largest number of goosander I have seen so far this autumn, exactly how many I am not quiet sure, 39 flew out at dawn, but then 5 flew in, then 9 flew over followed by another 2, so anything from 39 to 55!

Despite visiting all the lakes I failed to find the lesser scaup or the ferruginous duck, I suspect that both may not have taken kindly to the weekend’s fireworks, perhaps they will return in a few days. I did see out great white egret and either three pairs of raven or perhaps one pair three times. The pink-footed goose was again with the greylag flock on Ibsley Water. For its size Ivy Lake had the most birds, including 118 gadwall, our only internationally important species at Blashford. This importance is based on the fact that we regularly have more than 1% of the north-west European wintering population.






little grebe

little grebe – fewer than usual are on Ibsley Water this year

Today we did the monthly waterfowl count of all the lakes in the Blashford complex, this allows us to know how many birds there are across all the lakes as a whole and what proportion are using each individual lake. Perhaps surprisingly the lakes that hold the greatest numbers of birds are not the same each year. The number of birds are determined by the amount of food, in the main weed and this varies widely from year to year and between one lake and another. Unfortunately this winter looks as though it is not going to be one of high numbers as weed growth seems to be relatively poor over many of the lakes. I will leave Ed to post something on the totals we counted tomorrow and who knows perhaps numbers will build later in the winter.


lapwings – a flock of over a hundred were by Ibsley Water today

Yesterday’s slime mould had mostly turned to slime today, but the splitgill fungus is still growing slowly. Nearby I found this small group of candlesnuff fungus.

candlesnuff fungus

candlesnuff fungus

It was quite warm so we ate lunch outside where we were joined by a tiny fellow diner, a small true bug which was actually eating some of the bread crumbs from Ed’s sandwich.

bread-eating bug

bread-eating bug

Apart from thinking it is some sort of plant bug I have got no further with identifying it as yet.

During the course of the day quite a range of birds were recorded on the reserve. Both the bittern and great white egret were seen on Ivy Lake. At the Woodland hide and brambling and lesser redpoll were at the feeders. I came across three chiffchaff at various places around the lakes, perhaps they will be around for the winter now. Usually I see very few in November, the autumn passage birds mostly leave in late October and the wintering birds don’t usually arrive until the start of December. At dusk the gull roost once again played host to the adult ring-billed gull.