Thursday, 14 January 2010

Volunteer task and bumper Common Gull count

Today was Thursday so it was volunteer day. Although the walk to the site uses up some of the time we had several jobs that needed doing around the Goosander hide area over beside Ibsley Water. We split the team up with some filling the new Sand Martin nesting pipes that will shortly go into the new section of wall, then cutting birch regrowth in the "Dozings" area just south fo the hide. Meanwhile the bulk of the team worked on laying over some tall willows beside the path to the Lapwing hide. These are a problem because they are prone to falling onto the path and they have grown so tall that their structure is no longer of great value to wildlife. The task involved cutting part the way through the stem and bending over the tree, when it works they stay growing and the fact that they are lain over one another keeps grazing deer away from the regrowth.
Above the work has just started, as well as laying over the smaller stems and thinning the standards to allow in more light. Below at the end of the session a low dense tangle that should go green with new growth in the spring diversifying the habitat in this area by introducing some low dense cover. It is also interesting to see just how much the remaining snow melted in the hour and a half between the pictures.
A quick look at some of the lakes today showed that ice cover is still considerable. On Ibsley Water about 50%, on Ivy Lake about 80% and similar on Rockford, slightly less on Blashford Lake at about 70%. The 6 Red-crested Pochard are still on Blashford Lake, bickering with the Coot over beakfuls of weed, there was also a single drake Ruddy Duck there.
At dusk on Ibsley Water the Tufted Duck count was a fair bit lower than last night at 204, however the Common Gull count was by far the highest I have ever recorded at 443.
Tomorrow we are doing a full count of all the lakes, so we will see what we find.

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