Tuesday was a busy day on the reserve, with volunteers working on tern rafts and a contractor improving the habitat at the base of the gravel spit on Ibsley Water. Along the way I saw the common tern reported over the last couple of days. It is a rather odd bird with an all dark bill and rather grey under-parts and contrasting white cheeks, some of the characteristics of the eastern race of this species, but much better views will be needed to clear up if it really is one of these.
Other reports were quiet exciting, an osprey was seen heading north up the valley, a duck garganey was on Ibsley Water and a sedge warbler was singing near the Lapwing hide, all new for 2016.
My own sightings were rather less interesting, but I did see my first violet in flower near the Centre.
The moth trap contained common Quaker, small Quaker, twin-spot Quaker, Hebrew character, clouded drab and yellow horned.
Heard my first blackcap of the year today. It was just ‘tuning-up’ its song, so a bit scratchy, whilst flitting through the trees near the Ivy North Hide and fortunately as there is very little leaf cover at the moment, I managed to see it quite well. Not the only warbler around, there are now plenty of chiffchaff singing all around, with lots of other song from, among others, great tit, dunnock, chaffinch, blackbird and song thrush.
A colourful sighting was a group of teal, loafing on the island to the left of the Ivy North Hide. they seemed to be taking advantage of the early sun to warm them up. I believe there is a colour referred to in the rag trade called ‘teal green’. I’ve never been clear whether this refers to the green on the head plumage or the green patch, speculum, in the wings. In the case of theses particular birds the normal green on the head was replaced with a purple-blue colour
Teal with the ‘blues’
It’s a phenomenon caused by the interference of light that produces the normal green colour. Probably, many people may have seen on mallard, where the usual green colour appears to turn blue, but I’d never noticed it quite as strikingly on teal before.
Its the time of year when we should be expecting some more colour in our hedgerows, so I was delighted to see some violets in flower alongside the path to Ivy South Hide.