Tuesday at Blashford Lakes is volunteer day, well one of them anyway. Today an elite team of five joined me in the morning to clear the immense piles of leaves that had washed into the main car park when it flooded at the weekend.
Part of the way through the job
I discovered another reason to remove some of the sycamore on site as a high proportion of the leaves were from this tree, they are large and when wet difficult to move with the leaf blower, meaning brushes and rakes are the only way.
Then it was on to clearing a fallen pine and on to coppice some willows near the Ivy South hide to improve the view from there to the north. Our break for lunch was interrupted by news of an eider on Ibsley Water, an amazing record, we don’t get a lot of eider in Hampshire and they are not ducks that leave the coast! A couple of us went over to try and see it, without success, although we did later see a photograph of it and there was no doubt. However our trip was not in vain as we saw what was possibly and equally unlikely sight, 4 brent geese, but not the dark-bellied brent that are common on the coast locally, these were pale-bellied brent!
pale-bellied brent geese
I know it is a terrible picture but it does show what they are. These are almost certainly Canadian birds and they usually winter in Ireland and on the NW coast of France. My guess is these were en route between these two places when they got caught up in storm Angus and somehow wound up at Blashford. Both of these birds are ones that I would never have expected at Blashford, or at least they would have been on my very, very long list. I suspect both may not be repeated, or at least not for many decades. It turned out later that the eider was on Ibsley Water when we were clearing the car park, just behind the hide, so we came close to seeing it, if only we had known it was there!
Remaining sightings were few, although we did see the, or at least a, great white egret flying over as we worked near Ivy South hide in the afternoon.