Saturday, 6 March 2010

Snowdrops and Swans

I did not have time to update for yesterday so I will do it now. It was yet another fine day, that is almost a week of dry weather and what a difference it makes. Although signs of spring are really starting to stack up, hang overs from winter remain. The woods at Blashford have a scatter of clumps of Snowdrops, these are in full flower now, perhaps a month later than in some recent years. These are not native, but completely naturalised, they may have come from the "gardens" tended by off-duty airmen around the WWII airbase.
As I opened up the Ivy South hide the Ivy Lake Mute Swans were definitely feeling that spring was here. Later in the day the pen was nest building outside the Ivy North hide.
The amount of bird song is really increasing as well, by the Centre several Robins were singing away and there were also Treecreepers, Chaffinches, Great Tits and others getting in on the act with a time beaten by at least three drumming Great Spotted Woodpeckers.
The old Oaks along the Dockens Water have many cavities and provide nest sites for Tawny Owls, which should be well into their breeding season now. The remaining holes are now being investigated by Jackdaws and soon Stock Doves will also be prospecting. The Jackdaw in the picture was in the old Oak beside the centre.
The 4 Black-necked Grebes were still on Ibsley Water, but there was still no sign of any southern migrants. The gulls coming to roost include very few large ones now, but the number of Black-headed Gulls is increasing, there were about 4500 last evening. March is the main passage time for this species and so a good time to look for rarer small gulls caught up with them, unfortunately the species that might occur are all very rare, so the chance of success is slim.
During the day I had to fell some more dead and dying alders on the path to the Ivy South hide, they are currently dying off at quite an alarming rate. I try to only fell those that are in dangerous locations so that the standing deadwood can be retained, but this still leaves a lot that need to be removed.
Three lads ferreting for rabbits on Ibsley Water shore were removed, this seems to be getting to
be a real problem and could prove a significant problem for bird like Lapwing that try to nest around the shore. Unfortunately the lure of fish and rabbits will seem always to be too great for some people and certainly more than any concern for nesting birds.
Today was also the first day of the year that we have had lunch outside and whilst we were we saw both a queen Buff-tailed Bumble-bee and a Marmalade Hoverfly. The last used to be regarded as a migrant to Britain but now seem to over-winter, although the winter just, more or less, passed must have been more difficult than most in recent years.

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