Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The day started so foggy that I could hardly even see Ibsley Water when I opened up the Tern hide. Mind you a look later in the day, in bright sunshine, showed that I had not missed much, all the regular birds were there but no sign of anything new, typical of a fine sunny day really, nothing to bring any passing birds down.

The task for the day was to get in the tern rafts from Ivy Lake for the winter, to this end we had an extra volunteer day and so there were six of us, just right for the task. I like to get the rafts in for the winter as it allows the shells to be removed and get washed off by the weather and prevents the Cormorants from roosting on them and leaving the results of their fishing trips.

All four rafts were brought in, some had quite a growth of vegetation considering what would seem a poor growing medium. One also had two dead terns, I expected them to be unfledged chicks, but they were an adult and a fully winged juvenile. It was not clear what they had died of, both had been partially eaten, but that could have been after death. I would not expect adults to be taken by many predators and to find two birds on the same raft seems especially odd.

Although I was out in the boat so missed it, the wildlife highlight of the morning was a large Adder found under a spare raft top on the bank. Adders occur quiet widely on the reserve but are only relatively easy to see in one or two places.
En route to our raft retrieval task we passed Rockford Lake, where there were 8 Egyptian Geese and a Green Sandpiper. It says something about the day that these were the birds of the day.

In the absence of birds I had to fall back on inverts, a large, long-legged spider in the toilets proved to be a male Pholcus phalangioides a species that lives almost exclusively in buildings and caves.Crossing the lichen heath there were several newly emerged Brown Argus butterflies, but they were very active in the sunshine and I could not get a picture, still they are smart little creatures and they have obviously produced a good late brood, so perhaps I will get a chance in the coming days.

The moth trap produced fourteen species including some velvety Black Rustics and some very bright Pink-barred Sallow.

Perhaps a change in the weather later in the week will produce something, who knows maybe the Sandhill Crane, now reported to be on the move from Orkney, will decide to fly down the Avon valley on the way south.

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