Thursday, 15 April 2010

Several "Firsts" and a Fish Hawk

More spring-like again today with a number of "new for the year" sightings. The Wild Daffodils are almost over, but the Moschatel is in full flower and the Bluebells will not be long now. As indication of the lateness of the season the Blackthorn is only just at peak of flowering, it is sometimes well over by this time. The picture is of a bush on the car park near the Centre.
Although the season is late the recent good weather is allowing some things to catch up, today saw our first Orange Tip and several of the spring hoverflies are now flying in good numbers. The Willow pollards are all sprouting and most of the catkins are falling. The picture shows one of the newly cut pollards near the Centre and it has lots of new shoots that should make ideal wands for weaving when cut next winter.
The rapid drying out that has happened recently has seen the lichens on the heath dry to a crisp. This is a remarkable bit of habitat, with great complexity and structure, just at a very small scale. The view below has tall fruiting mosses and thickets of lichen, none of it more than about 5cm high.
The day's birds were several and of some interest. A White Wagtail near the Tern hide as I opened up was followed later by the return, I assume it is the same bird, of the drake Scaup seen about a week ago to Ibsley Water. A group of 8 Common Terns were seen there in late morning and at lunchtime a single Whimbrel, the first this year. Another first was a Swift reported from one of the lakes to the south, a good early date. Finally as I went to lock up the Tern hide an Osprey was flying slowly east along the northern edge of Ibsley Water being mobbed by assorted Rooks and Jackdaws. For a day when I was mostly fencing and generally not looking at or for birds, I did rather well.
Nest update: The Little Ringed Plover and Lapwing are still sitting on eggs near the Tern hide. The "Duck up a tree" is till sitting as are all three Coots and the Mute Swan around Ivy Lake and the Song Thrush nest now has three eggs. So far all the nests I have been keeping an eye on are doing fine, but there is still a long way to go.

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