The last couple of days have seen increasing ice cover on the lakes, resulting there now being just small ice free patches on those lakes that still have any open water. The remaining patches are packed with wildfowl. The picture below shows the patch of water on Ivy Lake which seems to have almost all of the Gadwall from the whole reserve.
The ice free areas of other lakes each seem to be dominated by just one or two species, so Rockford has lots of Coot and Mute Swans, Blashford Lake has most of the Pochard and Ellingham Lake most of the Mallard.
There are two ice free areas on Ibsley Water, one around the islands running out from the western shore and one near the long gravel spit to the east of the Tern hide. At first light this morning the ten Bewick's Swans were still on the lake, as they were yesterday morning, they are three pairs, one with three juveniles and one with a single.
There have been few birds obviously brought in by the weather, although a rather lost looking Bittern flying around Ibsley Water yesterday was new. It is more or less impossible to count the ducks when they are so densely packed in, but it seems to me that we have the birds that have been here recently, just more closely packed.
Otherwise it was rather a "doggy day", we had a visitation by rabbit poachers on the north shore of Ibsley water in the afternoon, thankfully the birds are all well away from there so they were not disturbed. They and their mob of dogs left to the north before I caught up with them. The two stray dogs wandering around Ivy Lake were easier to catch and it turned out they had come from Snails Lane south of the reserve. I don't see a dog on the reserve for several weeks then eight or so turn up in one day!
We are promised snow overnight, if it comes to pass we may not be able to open up tomorrow, in fact I may not be able to get to the reserve, we will see what comes to pass.