Goosander Hide Highlights

The Goosander hide has been attracting people from far and wide recently, especially photographers in search of that illusive kingfisher shot. However, as is often the way, the kingfisher does not always play along, luckily it is not only a place to get kingfisher shots and we have been send a selection of great images taken from there recently by Mark Wright, here are a few of them.

There have been lots of herons around recently and they do not always get on well.


Grey herons having a disagreement by Mark Wright

Of course not all herons are grey.


“Walter” the great white egret by Mark Wright


Little and Large, “Walter” with a smaller companion by Mark Wright

Since my observation of Walter taking a fish from in front of a cormorant he seems to have developed a limp, it could be the cormorant had a go at him as they can be quite aggressive. Hopefully he will recover  soon and continue on.

Not all the birds are large, there have been a number of grey wagtail close to the hide recently.


Juvenile grey wagtail by Mark Wright

And not all the wildlife there is birds.


Fallow deer doe by Mark Wright


young fox by Mark Wright

Then of course there are always the occasional opportunities to get shots of kingfisher as well.


Kingfisher by Mark Wright

Many thanks to Mark for sending us such a great series of shots.


Oh Deer!

Recently we have been donated some fallen apples and I have been putting them out at the Woodland hide, where they often disappear within a couple of days. It is obvious that they are not being eaten by birds, but what is eating them? There is a badger sett nearby, so perhaps they like apples, the way to answer this was to deploy a trailcam, so I did. Here are some of the results:

fallow eating apple

Fallow deer eating apples

But it was not just fallow deer,

roe and fawn by day

Roe deer with fawn

It also turned out they were coming at all hours.

roe and fawn at night 2

Roe deer, doe and fawn visiting after dark.

At least one of the fallow had a fawn accompanying it, so the love of apples is getting passed on down the generations. Fallow deer have a single fawn, but roe almost invariably have twins, the doe visiting the apples had only one, so I suspect something had happened to the other twin. Both deer species will rut in the autumn and have their fawns in the spring so you might think that both species have a similar gestation period. In fact roe deer, being much smaller have a shorter gestation, but rather than having their fawns in the winter egg implantation is delayed to make sure they are born in the better spring conditions.

30 Days Wild – Day 26: In the Woods

A day of meetings for me today, but at least one of them was in a woodland on a small reserve where we are looking at some works to rejuvenate a mire that is getting shaded out by willow, birch and pine. The area has a lot of fallow deer and although we saw only a couple of adults we found two fawns lying up in the bracken.


fallow fawn

There were a few butterflies out including meadow brown and ringlet, but it was reptiles that stole the day. We saw a very large female grass snake and as we were leaving a fine male adder.



I had to wait until I got home to see my other highlight of the day, when I checked the moth trap it contained a small elephant hawk-moth, one of my favourite species.


small elephant hawk-moth


Wellies recommended for gull watching…

The Franklin’s gull continues to roost on Ibsley Water and continues to attract a steady stream of visitors keen to spot it amongst the thousands of other gulls – no mean feat in the gloomy evening light of the last few days. As I write this blog entry more hardy (optimistic?) enthusiasts are braving the weather for their own glimpse of this rare North American vagrant – many are no doubt also hoping for a view of the grey phalarope that turned up unexpectedly and gave good views for much of the day yesterday, but, as far as I am aware it has not been reported today and the driving rain of this afternoon and lumpy, choppy waters of this morning will not have made sighting such a small bird easy even if it was still present!

The heavy rain of this afternoon, on top of the wet weather earlier in the week, has unfortunately overcome the soak-aways in the main reserve car park and therefore if you are planning a visit tomorrow be aware that wellington boots maybe required if the levels do not subside over-night:

Wellies required!

Wellies required!

Having said that I think the level had already dropped when I took this photograph compared to the reports from visitors earlier in the day which had led me to investigate conditions in the first place. It was nice to see that the regular winter roost of greenfinch is back in the poplar and cherry laurels opposite the entrance to the car park:

Greenfinch roost

Greenfinch roost

In other bird news, the great white egret, still occasionally seen on Ibsley Water, seems to have decamped onto Mockbeggar Lake, water rail and at least one bittern are still being seen at Ivy North Hide and kingfisher are still attracting plenty of attention across the site!

I’ll finish with a selection of fine photographs e-mailed in to us ( over the last few days. As you might expect, the selection includes more kingfishers! Some submitters were even embarrassed to be sending “yet more” kingfisher images in, but let’s face it, they are a lovely bird and not always so easy to see or photograph!

Kingfisher by Andy Copleston

Kingfisher by Andy Copleston

Great crested grebe by David Cuddon

Great crested grebe by David Cuddon

Kingfisher by Andy Britland

Kingfisher by Andy Britland

Kingfisher by Andy Copleston

Kingfisher by Andy Copleston

Kingfisher by Russ Tofts

Kingfisher by Russ Tofts

Fallow-Deer by David Cuddon

Fallow deer by David Cuddon

Water Rail by Andy Britland

Water rail by Andy Britland


A Ton of Goosander (almost)

Bird News: Ibsley WaterBewick’s swan 5, pintail 17+, black-tailed godwit 1, shelduck 1, yellow-legged gull c10, ruddy duck 1, goosander 98. Ivy LakeCetti’s warbler 1, bittern 1. Woodlandbrambling 1.

I arrived just early enough to see the Bewick’s swans before they left their roost on Ibsley Water, they must be the same as I saw ten days or so ago despite some “differences”. When I first saw them it was coming into roost and I thought they were four adults and one juvenile, however today it was obvious that there were two juveniles. My error had been pointed out by John Levell who had seen them in the Avon Valley, to make my excuse it had been pretty close to being dark when I saw them. Perhaps as significant was that the two juveniles are of quiet different shades, one much paler than the other. That fact and the behaviour of the group suggests to me that the group are a pair with one juvenile and a single parent with the other. Later in the day I was briefly at Harbridge and I could see them up the valley, north of the “usual” field, but still visible form the bridge. Also on Ibsley water first thing was a single black-tailed godwit, at least 17 pintail, a drake shelduck (sheldrake), an adult yellow-legged gull and the now regular drake ruddy duck.

At the Woodland hide I heard, but could not see, a brambling in the tree tops. Later I paid a quick visit in daylight, a rare treat, and there were several siskin and lesser redpoll. At the Ivy North I had a good view of the Cetti’s warbler and heard reports of the bittern having been seen flying over to the right of the hide. For whatever reason there have been a lot of sightings of bittern flying this year, I hardly remember more than a handful over the last few years.

lesser redpoll on feeder

Towards the end of the day I decided to make the most of the conditions and get a count of the goosander roost and perhaps get a few gull ring numbers into the bargain. The gulls did not play ball and apart from about 10 yellow-legged gulls of various ages and 3 common gull there was not much to report. The goosander did not disappoint though, by the time it got too dark to see I had counted at least 98 into the roost, I am pretty sure there were actually 100, but there was quite a bit of movement at the time and I could not be sure how many had flown in. Still a good count as it is still quite early in the season and we are still to have any proper cold weather.

The view from the Goosander hide was not only of roosting birds however, north of the hide along the bank, as dusk fell, the fallow deer emerged. There were two bucks, neither yet in their prime, a normally coloured one and the white one. There was also a very pale sandy coloured pricket and three or more does.

I see the new blog has now passed fifty followers, many thanks to all those who came over from the old one and a warm welcome to any of you who are newcomers.