Sunday, 7 February 2010

Geese and Gardeners

Another busy Sunday at Blashford, two visiting groups, one a coach party and it was volunteer day as well. The volunteers spent the morning working in the area around the Education Centre, particularly the garden area near the new shelter. The aim is to establish a new area for wildlife gardening next to the shelter, hopefully one that will not need to be fenced against the rabbits, so we are going to have to pick the plants with care.

Birds today included the Smew still on Rockford Lake, a Red-crested Pochard of Snails Lake and all the usual Brambling, Lesser Redpoll etc around the Woodland areas. After lunch I went over to the Tern hide, as I approached I realised I could hear geese calling and that they were not the usual Greylags but the laughing calls of White-fronted Geese. Eventually I found three birds dropping down onto the lake. On getting into the hide I could see there were eleven with a group of Greylags. The picture shows the whole group, with a Greylag, they did not stay long and flew off west at 14:40, they were not all adults, the initial group of three I saw were two adults and a juvenile and I think there were two or three more juveniles in the flock, although all had at least some "white-fronts". Below is another in a long line of iffy pics of Blashford birds, but at least they can be identified as White-fronts!
There was also another goose on the lake, a Bar-headed Goose, presumably the return of the regular, although the first time I have seen it this year.

Towards dusk I joined John Clark and Tim Doran who were doing a WeBS count today to carry out a co-ordinated count of the Goosander and Goldeneye on Ibsley Water. We ended up with 98 Goosander and 34 Goldeneye, the latter especially high as they usually peak in March.

Also reported today was a male Hen Harrier west over Ibsley Water. With more cold weather on the way and several reports of Bean Geese about the country today we will wait to see what the coming week brings.

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