Monday, 13 July 2009

Terns, gulls, and Hare's feet

The Common Tern chicks from Ivy Lake are getting more adventurous, several are now to be seen perched on the posts outside the Tern hide. With their brown mottled backs they are very different from the adults in plumage. With luck these will return in two years to breed and do so for many years after. I think we may need to provide more rafts if the recent level of success is maintained.
The terns are not the only youngsters about, there are lots of juvenile Black-headed Gulls, in plumage they are very similarly patterned to the juvenile Common Terns.The day was not all about birds on Ibsley Water, a branch had partly torn away from a willow near the Ivy North hide and blocked the path. I knew it had been quite windy but I had not realised just how strong it had been. As well as the branch another casualty was the Great Crested Grebe nest near the Ivy South hide, all three eggs could still be seen on the swamped nest platform, but they were partly in the water and obviously abandoned.

The gloom lifted and the sun came out, luckily just as I finished cutting up the fallen branch. With the sun out came the insects, on the edge of the lichen heath several Six-spot Burnet Moths were flying about, along with Meadow Brown and Small Skipper butterflies.
A few hoverflies such as this Episyrphus balteatus, also known as the Marmalade Hoverfly were about. This species is mostly a migrant arriving from early spring, sometimes in huge swarms.
The lichen heath being dry and sandy has some similarity to the coast and several of the plants found there are more typical of areas like sand dunes. The Hare's-foot Clover is one of these, named for the downy flower heads it is just one of a whole host of plants in the pea family that thrive on the poor dry soils at Blashford.
The only other event of note has been the arrival of ponies on the reserve, somewhat later than usual and so far only three. I will try and move them to the eastern shore of Ibsley Water before too long so they can graze some of the longer grass in front of the Lapwing hide.

1 comment:

  1. I just discovered your blog - very interesting and excellent photos.
    Regarding the Ragwort situation you mentioned a few posts back, I saw people pulling it by hand in pony paddocks around Adgestone on the IoW a few weeks ago, whereas last year on Culver Down (grazed by cattle; National Trust) it was treated with a chemical by tractor and this year, in my opinion, other plants and wildlife have suffered as a consequence.