Thursday, 8 October 2009

The feel of Autumn with a touch of Summer

A much better day today, although autumn has definitely arrived, the morning was cool, even cold, but clear and fine, with a light northerly wind. Before I had even got to Tern hide to open up a saw a Peregrine stooping over the southern end of Ibsley Water, it missed and powered off westwards. Almost immediately it flew into and caught a Woodpigeon and carried off.

From the Tern hide I saw a Common Sandpiper and a juvenile Ringed Plover, probably the birds from the last few days, there was no sign of the Ruff though. Near the north shore a groups of about 100 hirundines turned out to be Swallows, a close look revealed at least one Sand Martin with them but no sign of any House Martins, although there were some feeding over the trees later. So despite feeling like autumn some of summer remains.

By the Ivy North hide several Chiffchaffs were with a mixed tit flock that also included several Goldcrests, the first real influx of the autumn. From the hide I saw perhaps the most surprising bird of the morning, a Reed Warbler, the last one I saw at Blashford was about a month ago. Later in the morning a juvenile Hobby was hunting over the store as we were putting the tools away after the volunteer task. Two more Hobbies were reported from near the Lapwing hide as well.

The task today was trimming back the paths and clearing around the Woodland hide, during what was a very sunny morning six species of butterflies were seen, these were: Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Small White.

At various times during the day small parties of Siskin were passing over, mostly only heard bu the few I saw were going west. I also heard Skylarks a couple of times, on one occasion I saw the birds and these were going east. Skylarks are only recorded flying over at Blashford, I am sure that they would have nested in the grassland by Ibsley Water in the past, but they seem scarce generally in the Avon Valley nowadays.

A brief visit to the Ivy South hide in the afternoon brought another surprise, one of the stick rafts outside the hide had a Green Sandpiper roosting on it. This gave an opportunity for a picture.

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