It might be snowing in the Midlands but at Blashford signs of spring continue to appear. Yesterday I found Common Frog spawn in the small pond outside the Ivy north hide, although when I mentioned it to Jim he told me he had first seen it the previous evening. There are more and more birds singing now, with Chaffinches now getting very noticeable.
This morning when I opened up the Tern hide there were noisily displaying Goldeneye, an Oystercatcher checking out potential nest sites, although this first turned up at the weekend, a couple of Lapwings also occupying potential nesting sites and several Black-headed Gulls on the island. The gulls visit the island and display often for six or eight weeks before they settle, although the ones that nest at Blashford usually settle to nest well before those nesting in Langstone Harbour, I have no idea why.
The numbers of Brambling continue to be impressive at the Woodland hide and there are also good numbers of other finches as well. The Mute Swans on Ivy Lake have finally driven off both of their youngsters from last year. There seem to be at least three pairs of Little Grebe on Ivy lake at present, with lots of calling.
The Blashford volunteers work all over the reserve and the results of their work is there for visitors to see, however sometimes they work in areas that are not so obvious. One such is a corner of Ivy Lake that has real potential to become shallow fen and reedbed. It was this once but the area was invaded by willows about thirty years ago. Work started last year to remove these and now the area is covered in shallow water giving some hint of the potential there. In time it should develop into a valuable area of habitat and who knows perhaps even a location for another hide.
Tomorrow I think the volunteers will be working out on the shore of Ibsley Water trying to maximise the nesting habitat for Lapwing and Little Ringed Plover. As noted the Lapwing are already looking about for nest sites and the plovers could be back within a fortnight.