Friday, 16 October 2009

Bird counts and butterflies

Another clam cloudy day, at least at first, although the wind did pick up later. An early start as we were counting the lakes today. I started at the Lapwing hide, it was grey enough to be slightly drizzling but visibility was good enough. The 5 Dunlin were still out on the small islands in mid lake and I was able to confirm that there were actually 2 Goldeneye, both of them "redheads" and near the western shore. On last month's count there were over one thousand Coots on the lake, today barely 200. There are slowly increasing numbers of Pochard, although still only just over twenty but little change otherwise. The number of Little Grebe is still impressive with sixty four today.

When I got to count Rockford Lake I found where a lot of the Coot had gone, 721 on there today! also a Green Sandpiper and 148 Wigeon. Ivy Lake was also good with just under 200 Gadwall, 147 Coot, 58 Wigeon and a few diving ducks, not bad for quite a small lake. Whilst counting there I had the first Redpoll of the autumn flying over westwards. Otherwise the count was pretty uneventful apart from a Fallow buck on the foot path south of Snails Lane, nit a place I would have expected one, no doubt a young one driven off the Forest by the "Big Boys" now that the rut is started.

The moth trap was disappointing with fewer moths than I had expected, although a Green-brindled Crescent was new for the year. The sunshine later in the day did bring out a few Common Darter dragonflies and butterflies. We saw Comma, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell sunning themselves on the Centre roof at lunchtime. We also had a juvenile Hobby dive at something by the pond and go away low over the roof, a grandstand view and a very close pass. It or another was near the Lapwing hide earlier, where there was also a Red Admiral.

At the end of the day I did not need to get away quiet so quickly as usual so took the chance to look at the gathering gull roost. When I did leave at 17:55 there were already over three thousand Lesser Black-backed Gulls as well as a thousand or more Black-headed Gulls. Also present were 3 Common Gulls, which are actually far from common at Blashford and at least 4 Yellow-legged Gulls.

Not in again until Monday, the whole weekend off, luxury!

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