The volunteers were in yesterday and as I always try to save the glamorous jobs for them they did a rubbish clearance along Ellingham Drove and Ivy Lane. The picture shows the haul of dumped tyres, an old television and an assorted mix of general detritus. The clearance was done as part of the New Forest "Spring Clean". Hopefully the area is a bit more spruced now, the Ringwood Natural History Society did the next section to the east around Moyles Court at the weekend.
I did the monthly waterbird count today, which took all morning as I was on my own this month. The decline in bird numbers by this time of year meant that it was not too difficult a task. the most notable count was of 251 Shoveler. When I was counting from the Tern hide a male Lapwing was displaying and nest scraping a few metres to the west of the hide, although the light was poor I did get a shot of him, he has especially spectacular head plumes, although hie still has a few feather to moult yet before he is in full breeding plumage.
The 4 Black-necked Grebes are still on Ibsley Water and I did get a very poor shot of one of them from the Lapwing hide. One is moulting into breeding plumage quite rapidly now, two are a bit behind and the last is still pretty much in winter garb. The bird pictured is one of the middle two.
There are quite a few Pied Wagtails around Ibsley at present, they are mostly males and I think they are migrants, probably from northern Britain. I have noticed the same spring increase in previous years and it is also typical that they are mostly males at this time and later there are more females.
When I was parking by Ibsley bridge to go and count the Mockbeggar/Ibsley North lakes I noticed that there is still one adult Bewick's Swan near the bridge, it is getting quite late for it to still be there. One of the other winter birds, the Smew that has been on Rockford Lake,
seems to have gone, or at least I could not find it today.
At the end of the day I checked through the gulls on Ibsley Water. Last night I got a fair estimate of the numbers coming to roost, the main species by far is Black-headed Gull now, with something like 6500. This evening I was checking for other species, along with about 100 Common Gulls there were at least 10 Mediterranean Gulls, 8 adults and 2 second summers, the first double figure count for the reserve. The Common Gulls and probably a good few of the Black-headed will be on passage now and it is a good time to look for rarer species mixed in with them. I got one picture with three of the Mediterranean Gulls (they are the one with white wing-tips).