Monday, 3 May 2010

A good start to the day...

...despite a very cold fresh wind and a distinct lack of the promised sunshine so far! Ibsley Water was looking cold, grey and not a little rough from Tern Hide this morning. The Little ringed plover were not in evidence at the time, but a nice pair of Redshank were patrolling the waters edge. More notable were the large numbers of Swifts that were literally screaming all over and around the lake. Yesterday evening about 80 were flying high above the car park while I locked up, but today significantly more have arrived and thanks to the weather were feeding uncharacteristically low, just above the surface of the water. I'm no expert at bird counts, particularly when they are swirling around as much as these swifts were but I guess that there must have been about 400 birds all told.

Greenfinch and Siskin were dominating the bird feeders at the Woodland Hide and Centre, the Coot that were sitting in the reed bed at Ivy North Hide have hatched 5 "cootlets" and the Great Crested Grebe were still busy building.

Meanwhile the old (grumpy!) Ivy Lake cob swan was up to his usual trick of seeing off "intruding" Greylag and Canada Geese from the far side of Ivy Lake about as far away as it is possible to be from the pen sitting in the reeds in Ivy Silt pond - surrounded by half-a-dozen Canada's! Many years, despite his aggressive nature, these swans fail to fledge young and it is no doubt because he is busy defending his "patch" and not the nest site!

A lovely Grey Wagtail was flitting between the branches of the felled alder over the water in front of Ivy South Hide, with a very large beak full of flies, presumably alder flies as they have been in evidence for the last few days, before flying south west into the Willow Carr where perhaps there is a nest?

The badgers continue to surprise us with the extent of their nocturnal excavations which seem to be spreading and increasing on a weekly, if not nightly basis. The cubs should be venturing above ground for the first time any time now. Badgers are well known for their fastidious attention to cleanliness - removing and replacing their bedding material and "pooing" in latrines (that also serve as territorial boundaries), but generally the Blashford badgers do not seem to pay such close attention to this toileting behaviour and their latrines are few and far between, so I was surprised to find one near the seasonal ponds adjacent to Ivy North Hide.

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