Snow, Smew and More Lashes

Bird News: Ibsley Watersmew 1, black-tailed godwit 14. Ivy Lakebittern.

Quite the most wintery morning of the season so far, with sleety snow falling and a cool easterly wind. Opening the Tern hide I was pleased to see the duck smew once again to the east of the hide, later in the day it was seen from the Goosander hide. We were back in the Tern hide later as there were two groups going round today and I was to meet them both to set them on their way. This did allow one further notable observation, 14 black-tailed godwit, the most there have been this winter, we will need some real rain before we get a good flock though.

One group were photographers, who will have struggled in the conditions. The other were walkers and we did a short walk on the reserve before they headed off towards the New Forest and a pub lunch. I don’t often get into the hides in the middle of the day and it was good to see the numbers of finches now around the Woodland hide, although there were still no brambling that we could see. Unfortunately we evidently walked passed a bittern stood up in the reeds beside the Ivy Silt Pond. It had been watched flying in from Ivy lake, probably as a result of being chased off by another bittern, I should have been more observant.

It was not really a day for pictures, but I promised I would try for a better one of the eyelash fungus, it could be better still, but in case I don’t get the chance again, here it is.

eyelash fungus close-up

The next two days are dominated by the Reserve’s Officers favourite activity, meetings, so reports may be a little sparse.


Rusty, Bittern and the Lash

Bird News: Ibsley Waterwater pipit 1, black-necked grebe 1 (reported). Ivy Lakebittern 1, ferruginous duck 1, Cetti’s warbler 1, water rail 1+.

We were busy with a Wildlife Trust Members Day today and I think the relatively small number of people who attended enjoyed themselves. The weather was good and everyone saw the ferruginous duck and some even saw bittern as well, which cannot be a bad day in anyone’s language. The ferruginous duck is back to old ways, appearing sometime in mid morning on Ivy Lake from who knows where, it was not there first thing and there were only about ten pochard, by late morning there were 50 or more pochard and there was Rusty as well. Even without the addition of the duck Ivy Lake was looking good today, I took this picture first thing as I opened up.

Ivy Lake from South hide

The Woodland hide is beginning to pick up more birds now, especially siskin and lesser redpoll, an impression confirmed by the number caught by the ringers this morning. I think it could be a bumper late winter and spring for them this year. It was not all bird though, on the log piles beside the path near the Woodland hide the scarlet elf cup fungi are starting to show, in looking at them we noticed an even smaller cup fungus, I got a rather poor picture in the shade, I will try for better later. It was eyelash fungus, so-called because the rim of the cup is fringed with eyelash-like hairs. Although it is apparently common I had never noticed it before. When I looked it up I also saw that the season given for it was “Late spring to autumn”, so seeing it at the end of January is at least a bit odd.

eyelash fungus cluster