Tuesday, 13 October 2009

A Marvellous Blashford day

Another classic autumn morning, When I opened up Tern hide Ibsley Water was calm, the air was cold and a shallow mist hung over the water. I could not see that much, but through the murk there was one sight of note, a pair of Shelduck, although they flew off southwards shortly after.

The trees around the Centre and Ivy Lake hides were still well supplied with Goldcrests, but the number of Chiffchaff seems to have dropped. Despite this there were at least three or four with two of them singing. A flock of Blue Tits by the Ivy North hide were feeding in the sallow next to the hide, looking at them pecking at the undersides of the leaves I could see they were picking off aphids, small prey but obviously worth the effort.

Three volunteers came in during the morning and we cleared a fallen willow near the Ivy North hide, as a result quite a large area has opened up in the back of the reedbed, hopefully the reeds will spread into the space. Looking under a lump of wood in this area revealed a newt, the Smooth Newt is very common at Blashford outnumbering Palmate Newts by about ten to one, at least in the area near the Centre.
Although the night was quite cold there were seven species of moths in the trap including a Flounced Chestnut, the first of the autumn and a very fine Merveille du Jour, one of my favourite moths. The pattern and colours are quite spectacular and only shared by the not very closely related Scarce Merveille du Jour, which flies much earlier in the year.
My afternoon was spent in a meeting but at the end as I walked out of the building a Redwing flew low overhead, only the second of the autumn.

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