After almost a week with no reported sightings a bittern was finally seen (for just a few minutes typically!) to the left of Ivy North Hide by a couple of visitors this afternoon. They didn’t get a picture…
Firecrests are also still showing themselves off to our visitors – I spoke to one gentleman this afternoon who was delighted by his view of one between Ivy South and Woodland Hide. It wouldn’t hang around long enough to have a picture taken either, but we did receive this picture of a goldcrest taken earlier in the week by Corinne, as well as this nice shot of the Cetti’s warbler outside Ivy North Hide:
Snipe are another more secretive bird that are being encountered on a regular basis around the margins of all of the lakes currently -Sally Grant e-mailed this one, again taken from Ivy North Hide:
Most of our school visits take place in the summer months, but the diversity of habitats and the facilities at Blashford Lakes means that schools can, and do, visit all year round. Indeed although classic habitat study activities (“minibeasting”, pond dipping etc.) are always going to be best done in the summer when more insects are on the wing, some areas of study are actually best undertaken in the autumn and winter months.
Having said that, even I wasn’t sure how well our first school group visit of the year would go yesterday! However the hardy 4 and 5 year olds from Verwood First School did just fine and had a brilliant day learning about birds and then using their experiences to create artistic representations of them from the clay, leaves, sticks and other natural woodland resources.
With 58 children altogether we were exploring the reserve and visiting Ivy North Hide and the Woodland Hide in relatively large groups of about 20 children, accompanied by the teaching staff and parent helpers. Recognising that the winter is a busy time of year for visiting bird watchers we posted up signs outside the two affected hides at the start of the day to warn everyone that we would be on our way and using said hides for short periods.
Thank you to everyone that made space in the hides for us!
Sadly the whole day was marred somewhat for one of our dedicated volunteers by an encounter with a visitor who it seems was not happy to be sharing the nature reserve with a school group and who rather forcefully suggested that it was ridiculous that they were there as they were far too young to get anything out of it… although entitled to his opinion, needless to say I disagree entirely with him!
In fact the children did learn a lot about their local area and local wildlife – and had a very enjoyable day to boot.
Blashford Lakes is a great nature reserve for birds (and other wildlife) and we do what we can to help people, all people, access and enjoy it.
Sometimes that means children.
It’s a bit cheesy, but true so I’m going to say it anyway; children are the future! If we are going to keep what precious little wildlife and wild places we have left, children have to be given the chance to play and learn in outdoor wild places so they can discover for themselves how special and how amazing it is. We facilitate that at Blashford Lakes.
In light of this I make no apologies at all to the gentleman concerned, but of course I do hope that he was able to enjoy the remainder of his visit around the rest of the nature reserve.