On returning to Blashford after some time off there is a definite feel autumn is in the air. There is still warmth when the sun is shining, encouraging butterflies (primarily speckled woods) dragonflies and other insects to venture out on the wing, with regular visitor David being lucky enough to photograph a pair of migrant hawkers in the mating wheel position by the Education Centre pond:
Mating migrant hawkers by David Cuddon
Numbers in the moth trap have however dwindled, yesterday it revealed only a handful of moths whilst this morning there was just one, not surprising given there was frost in places last night. Working out of the Welcome Hut is also a colder affair, and a shock to the system, but I have now found some warmer layers and turned the heater on!
Yesterday afternoon I managed a quick wander on the northern side of the reserve, and the reedbed up towards Lapwing Hide was looking glorious in the sunshine:
My real reason for heading out was to see what fungi I could spot and then label for visitors with our temporary signs, but although I could find some, mainly closer to the Centre, the ground is I think still too dry. Wetter weather is on the cards, so I will look again next week.
Turkey tail near the boardwalk past Ivy South Hide
Sulphur tuft along the footpath to Ivy South Hide
The spindle is also beginning to come into its own, displaying its pretty pink fruits. Soon the leaves will turn more of a russet colour and the pink fruits will ripen to reveal the orange seeds inside. It is just behind the badger sculpture along the path to Ivy South Hide.
Pink fruits of the Spindle
I didn’t get a chance to look at Ibsley Water yesterday as my wander was a little late in the day, so headed over to Tern Hide this morning where I was greeting by hundreds of hirundines (swallows and martins) flying over the car park, hide and water. You definitely didn’t need to be in the hide to watch and appreciate them swooping overhead. After watching them from the car park I realised they were flocking over a silver birch tree on the other side of the overflow car park, with some birds (mainly the house martins) pausing briefly on the branches before flying up again:
They were fantastic to watch. The photos above definitely don’t give an idea of the numbers present! Preparing to migrate, most hirundines will leave during September but some may stay into October before heading off to a warmer African winter.
Finally, I will finish with a few more photographs David kindly sent in. The goldfinch, blue tit and grey wagtail were from a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t get round to sharing them before having some time off, and the greenfinch photo was taken yesterday:
Goldfinch by David Cuddon
Blue tit by David Cuddon
Green finch by David Cuddon
Grey Wagtail by David Cuddon
Grey Wagtail by David Cuddon
Grey wagtail by David Cuddon
Thank you very much David, the grey wagtail reflection photos are lovely!