A quick update on the last couple of days. Yesterday I was working with the volunteers near the Lapwing hide, on the way there I flushed two water pipit from the shore and later one was showing really well at Goosander hide. These birds like the exposed stony shore and the piles of washed up weed, so they should be very happy with things at present with the lake so low. They winter in small numbers in the UK, but breed in the Alps, a rather odd migration strategy on the face of it.
Colder weather has heralded the arrival of more winter wildfowl, in particular goldeneye, which first turned up last weekend and have risen in numbers daily since, today I saw 14 birds, including four adult drakes. Goosander numbers have increased markedly too, and I counted 51 at roost yesterday. There are at least two great white egret still on the reserve and two marsh harrier were seen yesterday, with at least one again today.
The colder nights have significantly reduced the catches in the moth trap, but despite this the last two nights have produced “November” moths Epirrita spp. , grey shoulder-knot,yellow-line Quaker, brick, satellite and black rustic.
Not to the weather, but certainly to the birds, but more of that later. The day was pleasantly warm for the time of the year and I was busy with the volunteers and apprentices working on the eastern shore of Ibsley Water. We cut back the rushes on the shoreline to open up access for grazing wildfowl from the water and carried on with coppicing and pollarding in the reedbed. The brash is used to create a dead hedge as a habitat corridor.
The willow we pollarded will come back with a dense growth of fresh shoots next year, they can grow as much as 2 or 3 metres in a season.
The wintery feel came in the form of brambling at the feeder on the car park near the centre, at least 5 goldeneye on Ibsley Water and at dusk 7000 or so gulls coming in to roost with 3000-5000 starling wheeling about behind them, hopefully the start of a significant roost for later in the winter.
The moth trap yielded rather little today with just red-line Quaker, yellow-line Quaker, chestnut, “November” moth and silver Y.